An energy audit or building efficiency assessment identifies potential energy efficient improvements by pinpointing where a building is losing energy. Energy audits also evaluate the energy and water efficiency of building systems such as heating, cooling, lighting, and water heating.
An energy audit also projects the payback period (time it will take to recover the amount spent on upgrades) for the identified upgrades as well as a savings and cost benefit analysis of the identified improvements.
The US Department of Energy designated three types of audits.
The simplest and quickest, this level of audit will prioritize energy-efficiency projects and determine the need for a more detailed audit. It consists of:
It expands on the preliminary audit by collecting more detailed information. This type of audit:
It focuses on building systems that are problematic, of interest, of high priority, or are otherwise designated by the site. It also involves gathering more detailed field data and a more precise engineering analysis. This level of audit provides detailed project cost and savings calculations. Depending on the level of audit provided, a professional energy auditor may use various types of equipment such as:
A Comprehensive Audit can reveal opportunities to:
Refer to the California Energy Commission Building Energy Efficiency Program for more cost savings opportunities and Title 24 requirements.
Most utility providers offer commercial energy audits and depending on the level and type of audit requested.
Utility providers may include guidance on time of use management and demand response options, and customers may also receive information on rebate and incentive programs that may offset a significant amount of the project costs according to PG&E. Keep in mind, in order to qualify for tax incentives your equipment must meet U.S. Environmental Agency Energy star requirements.