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Types of Energy Audits Sacramento

Monday, January 7, 2013


The term energy audit is commonly used to describe a broad spectrum of energy studies ranging from a quick walk-through of a facility to identify major problem areas to a comprehensive analysis of the implications of alternative energy efficiency measures sufficient to satisfy the financial criteria of sophisticated investors.

Preliminary Audit

The preliminary audit alternatively called a simple audit, screening audit or walk-through audit, is the simplest and quickest type of audit. It involves minimal interviews with site operating personnel, a brief review of facility utility bills and other operating data, and a walk-through of the facility to become familiar with the building operation and identify glaring areas of energy waste or inefficiency. Typically, only major problem areas will be uncovered during this type of audit. Corrective measures are briefly described, and quick estimates of implementation cost, potential operating cost savings, and simple payback periods are provided. This level of detail, while not sufficient for reaching a final decision on implementing a proposed measures, is adequate to prioritize energy efficiency projects and determine the need for a more detailed audit.

General Audit

The 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. 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 demand. This type of audit will be able to identify all energy conservation measures appropriate for the facility given its operating parameters. A detailed financial analysis is performed for each measure based on detailed implementation cost estimates, site-specific operating cost savings, and the customer's investment criteria. Sufficient detail is provided to justify project implementation.

Investment-Grade Audit

In most corporate settings, upgrades to a facility's energy infrastructure must compete with non-energy related investments for capital funding. Both energy and non-energy investments are rated on a single set of financial criteria that generally stress the expected return on investment (ROI). The projected operating savings from the implementation of energy projects must be developed such that they provide a high level of confidence. In fact, investors often demand guaranteed savings. The investment-grader audit alternatively 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 load profile 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.