An energy audit is a systematic approach to problem solving and decision making. The primary goals of an energy audit are to qualify and quantify how the building energy systems are performing now, how that performance can be improved, and what will be the outcomes of those improvements for the Owner in financial and non-financial terms.
Energy audits vary in depth, depending on the configuration of the building energy systems, the project parameters set by the client, and the scope and capabilities offered by the energy auditor. Because it usually is not possible to know where the audit process will lead and what level of effort will be most cost effective, ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) has defined three progressive levels, or types, of audits.
ASHRAE Level 1 – Walk-Through Analysis/Preliminary Audit
ASHRAE Level 2 – Energy Survey and Analysis
ASHRAE Level 3 – Detailed Analysis of Capital Intensive Modifications
Before beginning an energy audit for a building or portfolio of buildings, we recommend a preliminary energy-use analysis to compare the Energy Usage Index (EUI) of each building with the national average and to identify both high and low energy performers. This usually is done using the Energy Star Portfolio Manager benchmarking tool. This analysis requires access to energy consumption and cost data for the last 12-36 months. Once this “benchmarking” analysis is completed a recommendation is made as to which buildings should be audited first and the type of audits to be carried out. Pranat Engineers provides Energy Star benchmarking, ASHRAE Level-1, -2, and -3 audits for buildings ranging from 3,000,000 square foot convention centers and professional sports stadiums to 10,000 square foot office buildings. These audits, and the upgrade that is completed as a result, usually will qualify for utility and tax incentives.