An energy audit or energy analysis is the first step to making your commercial facility more energy efficient. ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) defines best practices for energy survey and analysis for those providing energy services. ASHRAE has standards for four types of energy audits, which vary in depth.
Preliminary Energy Use Analysis: This is the most basic energy audit and involves an analysis of historic energy use and costs. Energy use is typically benchmarked or compared against similar buildings to determine if further engineering study and analysis are likely to produce significant energy savings.
ASHRAE Level 1 - Walk-Through Analysis: This energy audit involves interviews with select facility staff, a review of utility bills or other operating data and a walk through of the facility. Often a Preliminary Energy Use Analysis and Walk-Through Analysis are completed in tandem. The goal is to identify glaring areas of energy waste or inefficiency. The data is compiled and used to complete a preliminary report detailing low-cost/no-cost measures and potential capital improvements for further study in subsequent audits. This level of detail is adequate for prioritizing energy efficiency projects and to assess whether a more detailed audit is necessary.
ASHRAE Level 2 - Energy Survey and Analysis: This includes the ASHRAE Level 1 analysis, but adds detailed energy calculations and financial analysis of proposed energy efficiency measures. Energy usage is typically analyzed over a longer period of time during these audits. This level of detail is adequate to justify project implementation.
ASHRAE Level 3 - Detailed Analysis of Capital Intensive Modifications: This focuses on an engineering analysis of the potential capital-intensive projects identified in the ASHRAE Level 2 Analysis. There is more detailed field data gathering at this time and a more rigorous analysis. Existing utility data is supplemented with sub-metering of major energy consuming systems and monitoring of those system's operating characteristics. This provides a realistic baseline to compare energy and operating savings of the proposed measures pre- and post-energy project implementation. This level of detail provides the confidence required for major capital investments.