What is an Energy Audit?

What is an Energy Audit?

An energy audit is a formal technical assessment of a building’s base systems, which involves improving and modifying mechanical systems, optimizing energy performance through energy efficiency technologies, quantifying energy costs and savings, and reporting the findings of the assessment to the client. It can identify ways to reduce energy consumption through a combination of energy conservation measures (ECMs). In addition to analyzing how energy is consumed by all systems in a building, an energy audit seeks to prioritize cost-effective energy saving opportunities. The costs and benefits vary by the level of the energy audit.

Energy Audit Levels (ASHRAE)

An ASHRAE Level 1 Audit is a simple walk-through assessment in which energy conservation measures (ECMs) are identified but no cost analysis is done. Level 1 Audits are the least-detailed of the 3 levels, and primarily look at low-cost to no-cost measures. ASHRAE Level 1 Audits typically include an energy audit of the building’s energy consuming equipment, a study of past utility bills, a utility audit to determine whether there are billing errors or whether there are more appropriate utility rates, an energy balance, and a determination of a list of ECMs (energy conservation measures), savings potential, and utility incentives.

An ASHRAE Level 2 Audit is a more detailed energy audit that looks not just at simple measures that offer quicker paybacks, but also at more capital intensive measures. In a Level 2 audit, all building base systems are examined for breakdown of energy consumption and some cost-saving measures are implemented. This particular type of energy audit provides a list of high-ROI ECMs as well as low-cost to no-cost ECMs. This type of assessment will enable a facility to become more energy efficient, determine the cost of each ECM, and offer economic analyses that help managers decide whether to take on a project or not. The most common economic measure it provides is the simple payback, which calculates how long it will take for the ECM to pay for itself. It will also provide an ROI analysis and annual cash flow analysis. An ASHRAE Level 2 Audit is required to attain LEED-EB status, which adds significant value to existing properties.

An ASHRAE Level 3 Audit is an investment-grade technical analysis that provides a granular analysis of energy inputs and outputs, using data logging equipment and computer simulation. The effect of ECMs on building conditions are also evaluated using hourly weather data for a full calendar year. Level 3 audits include a more detailed building survey and energy analysis than the other two levels. All appropriate ECMs will be identified and a financial analysis will be provided based on implementation costs, operating costs, and attainable savings. The end report provides realistic savings reports with regard to baseline operating costs. A Level 3 Audit will be required for Retro-Commissioning and for access to the over $100 million that is currently available in New York as grants, rebates, and incentives for energy efficiency programs.  

Our Process

Associated Renewable is a leading energy auditor with a team of certified energy auditors, energy managers and engineers.  The Energy Solutions team is trained to analyze a facility’s energy balance performance by assessing building envelope, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC), lighting functions, and facility managers and staff. Additionally, our energy audit teams consider all possible ECMs for cost reduction and also incorporate clean energy generating systems to enhance your facility’s performance and, most importantly, its value. After the assessment is completed, our engineers will generate a comprehensive report detailing all potential energy efficiency improvements, costs, payback periods, and engineering and financial analyses.