Written by Narayana Asogan, P.Eng.
In an earlier article we introduced what an Energy audit for commercial building is and discussed about ASHRAE Level 1 audit which involved the study of utility bills for one to two years and determining a Baseline Energy Consumption, Energy Utilization Intensity and “Walk Through Audit”.
Our thanks to those managers who took our advice and contacted us for a study.
In this session, we will discuss about higher levels of audit and what could be expected. Having done a Level 1 Audit and seen the reports and results on implementing the suggestions, it is time to move on to do further studies and get more savings and improvements to facility.
Level 1 Audit is more of a visual inspection and fact finding of how the building is operated and maintained and identifying Energy Management Opportunities.
Level 2 Audit – “Energy Survey and Engineering Analysis” involves review of electrical and mechanical system design, condition of installation, O & M practice in place findings from Level 1 Audit. Level 2 audit involves use of some instruments to gather data of various parameters, analyzing the measurements and reporting what further improvements are possible. Typically the building envelop, lighting, HVAC, Domestic Hot Water, plug loads, process loads, refrigeration and other mechanical / electrical systems are studied and analyzed under this audit.
Results would typically show what improvements could be expected, estimates of investments and ROI.
Level 3 Audit is a “Detailed Study of Capital Intensive Improvements”. This engineering analysis focuses on potential capital intensive projects identified from Level 1 and 2 audits. Requires collecting more detailed field data, rigorous engineering and economic analysis – may include modeling or simulation. A comprehensive study beyond the scope of Level 2 is done including Life Cycle Cost Analysis of the project to guide the decision makers.
Another type of Audit is “Targeted Audit”. This is of limited scope to study, typically of “one energy consuming system” like lighting, cooling tower, boiler etc. whereas Level 1, 2 and 3 audits are comprehensive study of all systems. Many times, vendors of a particular product would convince a Manager that if such and such equipment is replaced with their product energy savings (thus money) will be saved. No real studies of current situation are done. The process may look like a Targeted Study, however is a “Targeted Sale”.
What are the costs of Energy Audit?
The cost of Energy Audit is partly recoverable via Audit Financing programs by Utilities – typically 50% of eligible audits. The balance cost is usually recoverable on adopting the recommendations by way of energy savings. Capital equipment upgrades also have additional incentive programs.
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