What Is An Energy Audit?

The term “energy audit” is commonly used to describe a broad range of energy studies ranging from a quick walk-through of a home, factory or other premises, to identify any major problem areas, to an in-depth comprehensive analysis of the implications of alternative energy efficiency measures perhaps sufficient to satisfy the financial criteria of investors or a local authority.

The preliminary audit alternatively called a simple audit, screening audit or walk-through audit energy risk management, is the simplest and quickest type of audit. For your own home, you can do this yourself, or perhaps with a friend or spouse, using a checklist. For a business,  it may involve some interviews with personnel, a brief review of facility utility bills and other operating data, and a walk-through of the facility to become familiar with the layout and any issues. It’s likely to find only glaring or obvious energy wastage. For the average sized home, this may be sufficient to save you money on your bills.

The next level up is a general audit alternatively called a mini-audit, site energy audit or complete site energy audit expands on the preliminary audit described above by collecting more detailed information about facility operation and performing a more detailed evaluation of energy conservation measures identified. It is suitable for small to middle-sized businesses, perhaps those with large storage facilities, or manufacturing capabilities. Utility bills are collected for a 12 to 36 month period to allow the auditor to evaluate the facility’s energy/demand rate structures, and energy usage profiles. Additional metering of specific energy-consuming systems is often performed to supplement utility data. In-depth interviews with facility operating personnel are conducted to provide a better understanding of major energy consuming systems as well as insight into variations in daily and annual energy consumption and demands.

The highest level of audit is the investment-grade audit, otherwise called a comprehensive audit, detailed audit, maxi audit, or technical analysis audit, expands on the general audit described above by providing a dynamic model of energy use characteristics of both the existing facility and all energy conservation measures identified. The building model is calibrated against actual utility data to provide a realistic baseline against which to compute operating savings for proposed measures. Extensive attention is given to understanding not only the operating characteristics of all energy consuming systems, but also situations that cause energy consumption variations on both an annual and daily basis. Existing utility data is supplemented with submetering of major energy consuming systems and monitoring of system operating characteristics. Selecting which of these three audits is appropriate is something you do not have to consider alone. There are plenty of companies that will set out their stall and show you what you will get for your money. You can then decide who represents the best value.

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