Building Energy Audit

10 Great Reasons To Perform a Building Energy Audit

        We talk about the 10 Great Reasons to Perform a Building Energy Audit

An energy audit is an identification, survey and analysis of the energy usage of a building that is carried out to optimize its efficiency. In other words, it helps maintain the same level of output while minimizing consumption. It also guarantees a reduction in terms of cost to the building owner and carbon footprint to the planet, respectively.

Energy audits are performed to maximize cost-effectiveness prioritizing health, safety & comfort. Experts (energy service companies- ESCOs, energy consultants, and engineering firms) complete a comprehensive diagnosis using cutting-edge technology to thoroughly evaluate & rectify the situation at hand. These are mandated to be performed by highly trained contractors as they own the necessary knowledge and skillset to precisely estimate potential savings.

Following are the reasons that make an energy audit a non-negotiable for the healthy functioning of a building:-

Benefits of Energy Audit

 

List of ECMs Energy Breakdown Measurement & Simulation ECMs Feasibility Detailed Engineering Others
Identification of all possible energy conservation measures.  Detailed information on the current energy consumption in terms of equipment and operations.  Extensive onsite measurements and calibrated building models  Identification of technical and economic metrics for the feasibility of ECMs Engineering analysis and design of the selected ECMs Guaranteed increase in ROI and budgetary funds, 

1. Legal Compliance

The most immediate and obvious reason is that you are required to get one as per the NYC Local Law if your building is within the six boroughs. But, even elsewhere the legislations are catching up.

New York City Local Law 87 mandates for buildings over 50,000 square feet to perform energy audits & retro-commissions periodically as part of the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan. The law intends for building owners to remain informed about their energy consumption patterns so as to ideally maximize energy efficiency and slash carbon emissions.

 

The basic requirements of the law are-

1. Determining how and when a building needs to comply

2. Conducting an energy audit & retro-commissioning of all the systems mandatorily will enable the owners to submit the Energy Efficiency Report. The report is to be compulsorily submitted to the City once every ten years.

2. An energy-efficient building protects residents/occupants from extreme weather

A building envelope is like a shell, barrier or seal of protection against the outside world. Anything that separates the internal building from the external environment makes for this envelope. This includes roofs, doors, walls, and floors. In the winter, it prevents heat transfer and helps the building remain cool during the summer months.

The barrier is pivotal to a building’s structural energy because a good envelope ensures an edge to better in-built HVAC systems & lighting, implying lesser money spent on equipment. The envelope accounts for at least 30% of the energy consumed. The older buildings were never constructed keeping an envelope in mind, which is why they are so energy inefficient and spend a lot on retro-commissioning them.

3. Lowers Utility Bills by Updating the HVAC

Heating, Ventilating and Air-conditioning (HVAC) are alone responsible for more than 40% of energy consumption along with being very dangerous. The labelled products help save up to 16% energy which translates to a weekly saving yearly saving of at least $100.

Air-conditioning does not contribute much to the bills, taking up around 6% of energy. ENERGY STAR central air-conditioning units provide 8% more efficiency. The air-conditioning systems are usually integrated with the heating systems implying that it’s ideal to purchase both at the same time to maximize efficiency.

4. Helps in Understanding the Building’s Energy Usage

Detailed information on the current energy consumption in terms of equipment and operations is given when an energy audit is performed. It is after all an assessment that scrutinizes the current energy consumption to understand how and when the energy is used to thereby make plausible changes towards energy efficiency.

5. Identification of all the Energy Conservation Measures

The ECMs are the energy-saving potential opportunities that remain exclusively untapped without a proper energy audit. These improvements help save energy and reduce utility bills. An audit may reveal the need to clean your air ducts, change settings on appliances, upgrade kitchen appliances to energy-rated models, or change your shower head to use less hot water.

These 6 steps comprise the conduction of an Energy Audit

1. Identify the area that needs to be audited
2. Identify the list of energy-using equipment
3. Determine the operating hours for equipment being used
4. If possible, record power measurements from installed meters, read lux levels, etc.
5. Calculate the energy consumption of the existing process/equipment
6. Identify opportunities for energy waste (from the checklist, etc.)

The main outcome of an energy audit is a list of EEMs or Energy Efficiency Measures, their associated energy savings potential, and an assessment of whether EEM installation costs are a good financial investment.

6. Reduce The Building’s Carbon Footprint

Commercial buildings in the US consume 39% of America’s energy and 68% of their electricity. They further emit 38% of the carbon dioxide. Studies also show that lightning, HVAC, and office equipment are responsible for most of the energy consumption in a typical building, which is good news for these are readily manageable.

7. Increased Resale Value

Increasing the building’s energy efficiency is one of the best improvements you can make to increase property values if you eventually sell the property or lease it. Energy-efficient buildings with additions such as solar panels, a solar hot water system, extra insulation, updated HVAC and energy-efficient temperature control are highly sought after by potential buyers. Even if you don’t plan on selling in the near future, these upgrades could eventually pay for themselves when you do sell your property.

8. Increased Comfort

Energy Audit improves energy efficiency and increases control over your building environment. you need extra insulation, an investment in an additional roof and wall insulation could make your building more soundproof and tranquil.

Upgrading and maintaining your heating and cooling system can improve air quality in the home. Your HVAC system will be able to heat or cool your home with greater efficiency, extending its service life, improving your personal comfort and lowering your energy bill.

9. Save Energy

A professional energy audit isn’t only about energy efficiency; it’s also about saving money on your power bills right away in the long run. Improper insulation and leaky windows are the two most common things that cause air leakage. Just by fixing these two things, you can reduce much of your energy needs. Although there might be other things on the list to save energy, these two things together are the most effective ways to save money and energy.

10. To Evaluate the Performance of Your Building Envelope

A building envelope is like a shell, barrier or seal of protection against the outside world. Anything that separates the internal building from the external environment makes for this envelope. This includes roofs, doors, walls, and floors. In the winter, it prevents heat transfer and helps the building remain cool during the summer months.

The barrier is pivotal to a building’s structural energy because a good envelope ensures an edge to better in-built HVAC systems & lighting, implying lesser money spent on equipment. The envelope accounts for at least 30% of the energy consumed. The older buildings were never constructed keeping an envelope in mind, which is why they are so energy inefficient and spend a lot on retro-commissioning them.

Recommended Services

Energy audits are to be only performed by certified energy auditors which can be hired by various energy/environmental/sustainable firms.

1. First of all, determine the level (1,2,3) of audit you would like conducted.

2. Define the auditor’s scope of work as per your convenience, whether or not the auditor will play a role in other phases of the project. For example, contractor procurement and developing performance specifications, etc.

3. Either sole-source them as it enables a quicker execution of the contract, or engage in competitive bidding which may result in a more competitive price.

4. Look for a firm that:-
a) offers proposals including references, work samples, and resumes of key staff
b) has auditor staff with professional certifications like LEED, BEAP, CEM, etc.
c) has auditors which are vendor-neutral to avoid bias and conflicts.

The Cotocon Group has an able team of experts with vast experience. We are qualified to take care of the above mentioned, from facilitating legal compliance to making your building the most competitive & efficient. We ensure that you get the best return on your investment. Contact Us today to know more!