Performing an energy audit, or a baseline energy evaluation, is a crucial step to assessing and improving energy efficiency. There are many types of energy audits that can be performed ranging from general walk-through audits to more comprehensive systematic process audits analyzing one or more end uses.
Altanova follows the ASHRAE standard energy audit levels as the basis of our methodology. We primarily offer four levels of commercial energy audits, three of them conform to ASHRAE’s standards, and one is a quick check-up for smaller businesses, or clients with a tight budget. The sections below detail the differences between the different types of energy audits we offer:
Overview audits are often referred to as “walk-through” audits, because they involve walking through a facility, identifying energy conservation opportunities, interviewing facility personnel, and quickly reviewing the facility’s utility bills. The overview audit is acceptable for organizations that want to know what they can do to reduce their energy usage and costs. Because of its brevity, and because expected energy savings are not converted into dollar amounts, it may not be considered sufficient for reaching conclusions about energy management. For example, if a client is going to invest $100,000 in an efficient boiler, it is important to know how much the savings will be, and to know how long it will take for the project to pay for itself. The Overview Audit will not give this information. One of the advantages of Overview Audits is that they usually identify no-cost or low-cost energy measures that can substantially reduce energy usage and costs with little effort.
ASHRAE Level 1 – Walk-through Analysis
ASHRAE Level 1 audits are more intensive than Overview Audits. The ASHRAE Level 1 audit focuses on low-cost/no-cost energy conservation measures, and provides a list of higher cost energy conservation measures. In addition to tasks performed in the Overview Audit, for the ASHRAE Level 1 audit we report how much in energy and energy costs can be saved from each energy conservation opportunity. We perform an energy analysis, which breaks out energy usage into different end uses. We also perform ASHRAE Level 1 audits for clients who are seeking LEED-EB: O&M certification. ASHRAE Level 1 audits are a prerequisite for seeking certification.
ASHRAE Level 2 – Energy Survey and Analysis
ASHRAE Level 2 audits include a more detailed building survey and energy analysis than ASRHAE Level 1 audits. Level 2 audits 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 amount of time it will take for the measure to pay for itself. In addition, Level 2 audits identify proposed changes to operations and maintenance procedures. This level of analysis will be adequate for most buildings and measures.
We often perform ASHRAE Level 2 audits for clients who are seeking LEED-EB status. Level 2 audits are worth 4 points (LEED-EB Credit 2.1 & 2.2) in LEED v3. “Detailed” audits expand upon ASHRAE Level 1 audits by providing more financial information regarding energy use based on a whole building energy model. Often, investors will require more rigorous financial projections than ASHRAE Level 1 audits provide. With ASHRAE Level 2 audits, we provide realistic savings projection with regard to baseline operating costs. These reports stress the expected return on investment and projected savings, presented in such a way that there is sufficient detail to make investment decisions.
Altanova’s expertise in on-site analysis and diagnostics includes the use of infrared thermography to identify problems, and the tracking of ventilation, air movement, and infiltration. We also help to ensure the correct installation and performance of new and upgraded building envelopes by testing the air tightness and thermal performance of building façades.
ASHRAE Level 3 – Investment Grade Assessment of New or Complex Technologies
ASHRAE Level 3 audits are required when a complex or new technology requires a higher level of scientific and technological analysis to manage the implementation risks, or to assess their financial potential, as an energy model is typically required. Altanova’s team is well suited for this type of engagement, providing to you the right level of confidence to help you achieve the highest level of sustainability performance and financial return.
Retro-commissioning & Ongoing Commissioning
Altanova assists owners to ensure the optimal operation of building MEP systems and equipment through our Retro-Commissioning and Ongoing Commissioning services for existing facilities. Whether you need commissioning services for local law compliance or LEED-EB certification, or are just interested in gaining the long-term benefits of lengthening the lifetime of your building systems or improving operational aspects of your building, Altanova can help you with your commissioning needs.
Commissioning is increasingly being sought by owners to enhance the performance of existing buildings. Some states and jurisdictions require commissioning for local law compliance. For existing buildings, retro-commissioning requires a relatively modest upfront investment. According to a study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), the average cost for retro-commissioning is $0.30 per square foot, and the median payback time is a little more than a year, with 16% median energy savings. Conversely, a building that is not commissioned will cost 8-20% more to operate over its lifetime.