How In-Depth Should My Energy Audit Be?
February 4, 2009 - Contact FacilitiesNet Editorial Staff »
Today’s tip is about identifying how extensive an energy audit should be
There are three levels of energy audit. The first is focusing on low- and no-cost ways to improve energy efficiency through optimization of existing equipment or through operational changes. Some facility executives regard this as a retrocommissioning, i.e. examining each piece of energy-using building equipment to determine if equipment has gone out of spec. A retrocommission means analyzing and optimizing building equipment to bring it back to as close as new as possible.
A level two energy audit focuses on particular pieces of equipment that may need to be replaced. This means a capital outlay and an ROI calculation. A level 2 audit can logically follow a level 1 audit. In other words, if you identify a piece of equipment that can’t be brought back into spec with a few tweaks, it’s time to make the argument to replace it. And the best way to do that is with an energy efficiency ROI justification.
A level three audit is all the bells and whistles – an investment-grade engineering study after all the low- and no-cost strategies have been exhausted. This is often the most costly and facility executives should have a preconceived set of specific goals for energy savings, and be ready to justify the cost of the study itself on savings it will produce. If you’re already running very efficiently, this may be tough – but it may be the last way to squeeze even more energy out of your monthly bill.