BUILDING ENERGY AUDIT
Why Audit Your Building?
Now more than every, it is important to keep operating expenses to a minimum. One difference between businesses and companies that survive these difficult times, and those which do not, will be that the survivors will be those who have reduced their unnecessary expenditures before it is too late.
Unnecessary costs include a portion of your utility costs, which for many until now were just considered “a cost of doing business.” By running an inefficient building, you are overpaying for energy and increasing wear and tear on your equipment. It just doesn’t make any sense.
A good energy audit will point the way to reduce your energy costs by as much as 40%. For large buildings or facilities, this can be substantial, and could be the difference between survival and failure.
What is an Energy Audit?
An energy audit is a study of your building’s energy using equipment. An energy auditor comes out to your building and interviews facility managers, inspects lighting, air conditioning, heating and ventilation equipment, controls, air compressors, and anything else that is using energy. The auditor will develop a list of energy conservation measures (ECMs) that could reduce energy usage and costs in your building. Depending upon the level of energy audit, the auditor will then quantify how much savings potential there is for each of these measures, and the costs associated with implementing them. Some measures will take decades to pay for themselves, while others will start paying for themselves within months.
Once you have read over your energy audit, our energy auditor will meet with you over the phone to discuss the report, and what your next steps are to start reducing your energy costs.
We investigate and quantify energy savings potential in:
- Lighting systems
- HVAC Systems and Controls
- Electric Motors and Drives
- Heat Recovery
- Building Envelope Upgrades
- Utility Providers or Utility Rates
There are several levels of energy audits
The American Society of Heating Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Engineers (ASHRAE) have developed a standard for energy audit levels.
Among other services, we offer three levels of energy audits, two of them conform to ASHRAE standards, and the third is a “Quick Check” for smaller businesses, or clients that would like a “snap shot” of their performance to determine if further study is warranted. The paragraphs below detail the different types of energy audits we provide.
Quick Check Audits
Quick Check audits involve walking through a facility, identifying energy saving opportunities, interviewing facility personnel, reviewing HVAC drawings when available, and quickly reviewing the facility's utility bills. Our quick check audit can identify operating inefficiencies and energy saving measures that may warrant further study and evaluation. Although this study is brief, we will obtain enough information to determine possible energy savings and provide a menu of opportunities that are sufficient for reaching a decision to proceed to the next level. For example, if you are going to invest in a cooling plant upgrade or rooftop equipment replacement, it is important to know how much you are going to save, and to know how long it will take for the project to pay for itself. The Quick Check Audit will not give this information. One of the best things about Quick Check Audits is that they usually identify no-cost or low-cost energy measures that can substantially reduce energy usage and costs.
ASHRAE Level 1 – Walk Through Analysis
ASHRAE Level 1 audits are more in depth Quick Check Audits. The ASHRAE Level 1 audit focuses on low-cost or no-cost energy conservation measures, and provides a list of higher cost energy conservation measures. In addition to tasks performed in the Quick Check Audit, in the ASHRAE Level 1 audit, we report how much in energy and energy costs can be saved from each energy conservation opportunity.
We can perform ASHRAE Level 1 audits for clients who are seeking LEED-EB status. ASHRAE Level 1 audits are required as a prerequisite to attain LEED-EB Certification.
ASHRAE Level 2 – Energy Survey and Analysis
ASHRAE Level 2 audits, through our Computer Building Modeling, we will identify all appropriate energy conservation measures for a facility, and provide a financial analysis based on implementation costs, operating costs, and attainable savings. You will know for each energy conservation measure, the amount to be saved, the amount the measure will cost, and the Return on Investment (ROI). In addition, ASHRAE Level 2 audits will describe changes to operations and maintenance procedures, as appropriate. This level of analysis will be adequate for most buildings and measures.
We can perform ASHRAE Level 2 audits for clients who are seeking LEED-EB Certification. ASHRAE Level 2 audits are worth 2 points (LEED-EB Credit 2.1, Option B) and can sometimes be less expensive than Retro-Commissioning (LEED-EB Credit 2.1, Option A).
ASHRAE Level 2 audits include a more detailed building survey and energy analysis than ASHRAE Level 1 audits, and can be considered “investment grade” audits.
Detailed audits expand upon ASHRAE Level 1 audits by providing more detailed financial information regarding energy use. Often times, investors will require more rigorous financial projections than ASHRAE Level 1 audits provide. With ASHRAE Level 2 audits, we will provide realistic savings reports with regard to baseline operating costs. These reports will stress the expected return on investment, and projected savings will be presented in such a way that provides intensive detail, and instills confidence in the investor.
For a free initial consultation on the energy performance of your organization, contact us at 631-586-4800. We look forward to hearing from you!
How much money/energy can be saved by getting an energy audit?
Regarding the possible energy savings in a facility from energy consulting, it’s impossible to make an accurate estimation without knowing many of the factors at play in the facility.
Factors such as facility size, equipment, equipment usage, personnel, lighting, current utility usage, weather occupancy, and more can directly affect your energy savings.
We can say that we have seen savings upwards of 40% in some facilities, with the average savings being around 10-15%. If your facility has already had energy audits in the past, it’s possible that the facility is already efficient, and in that case, there wouldn’t be much we could do in the way of energy savings. If the facility has been in operation for many years without having had an energy audit, it’s very possible that we can find opportunities and save you significant money.
A great example of energy wasted is dirty or clogged coils. Proper air filter maintenance is a critical first stem in energy savings. Clogged coils can cause both diminished airflow and poor heat transfer resulting in occupant discomfort and high energy bills.
Since it’s extremely difficult to assess how much your facility can save without knowing more about your company, we will gladly provide you with a free consultation. By having this consultation, we can decide whether or not you need an energy audit at all, and if you do, what kind would best suit you and your facility.
How much time does it take to perform an energy audit?
Just as with determining how much money can be saved by performing an energy audit, it’s difficult to estimate how long an energy audit will take in your facility.
The building or facility size is the largest factor to consider when estimating how long an energy audit will take. Second to that is the use of the facility.
A simple Quick Check Audit will usually only take a half day to do a walkthrough, and about two weeks to calculate savings and prepare a report.
An ASHRAE Level 1 Audit on a facility with a size of around 100,000 sq ft will take approximately two days to complete a walkthrough, and less than month to calculate savings and prepare a report.
A more in-depth ASHRAE Level 2 Audit on a facility with a size around 100,000 sq ft will take approximately four to six days to complete a walkthrough, and more than month to calculate savings and prepare a report.
If you have a smaller or larger facility, an industrial facility, or if you have a facility with an unusually high number of energy-consuming devices, the time required to complete an audit can vary greatly. In order for us to provide you with an accurate time estimate, please feel free to contact us so we can get to know your facility a little bit better.
Why Use Advanced Control Solutions?
Many utilities offer free energy audits that involve just a telephone call, or you filling out a web form. Others will provide free energy audits conducted by their own employees who have not yet gained the energy knowledge that only comes with years of experience. ACS has decades of experience working in all facility types and sizes, and it has the application experience that can only be attained by a Design/Build Contractor.
ACS has access to project financing for projects that qualify. We have successfully performed projects where the entire project was leased and provided positive cash flow with zero out of pocket cost to the owner.
It all starts with a phone call or e-mail let us show you how to realize real and consistent savings!
At Advanced Control Solutions we utilize advanced system design tools and an energy simulation software to aid in our design of our automation systems.
Design modules use a system-based approach to HVAC & Lighting load estimating. This approach tailors control schemes and results to the specific type of system being considered. Central AHUs, packaged rooftop units, split systems, fan coils, water source heat pumps and PTACs can easily be modeled, as can CAV, VAV and multiple-zone systems. Calculation rigor and integrity are provided by the ASHRAE Transfer Function Method for calculating building heat flow.
The energy analysis module performs an hour-by-hour simulation of building loads and equipment operation for all 8,760 hours in a year. This approach provides superior accuracy versus the reduced hour-by-hour method used by other software programs on the market. This is because a full hour-by-hour calculation considers the unique weather and operating schedules for each day of the year, rather than looking only at average or typical days each month. Such accuracy is crucial when analyzing design alternatives, energy conservation methods and details of off-design and Energy Management Performance for equipment. The modeling software uses TMY weather and the ASHRAE Transfer Function to calculate dynamic heat flow. Many types of air handling systems, packaged equipment and central plant equipment can be simulated with various amounts of energy savings measures.