Energy Auditing

Most buildings consume too much energy. This energy costs money. 3D Energy offers solutions to assist building owners and building operators conserve energy, cutting operating expenses significantly. Through a thorough process, our staff works to provide solutions engineered specifically for your problems. This process is our commercial energy auditing procedure.

An energy audit is a process of educating building operators about their current energy use, how it compares relative to other buildings, and what they can do to resolve any inefficiencies in the buildings energy use while identifying the cost-benefit in doing so. The report that communicates much of this information identifies energy conservation measures that will offer long-term savings, reduce greenhouse gas reductions, and add resale value to their property .

The 3D Energy auditing process takes an involved approach by examining the building envelope, building systems, operations and maintenance procedures, building schedules, and appliances to ensure a complete understanding of the building and those who occupy it is achieved. This enables the auditor to provide the most accurate picture of energy conservation measures at a given facility. The level of depth of the audit report is guided by the level of audit report the customer deems appropriate for their site and client.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) defines three levels of audit reports. Each audit level builds on the previous level, and as the audit level increases, as does the complexity and thoroughness of the process. The increased effort involved in the highest level of audit can often provide higher energy savings, but depending on the building, is not always critical. The levels of audit are:

Energy-Use Analysis – There are instances when a building owner deems a full-level energy audit to be unnecessary. An energy-use analysis provides the building owner with information to begin tracking, and baselining the building energy-use. This analysis will illustrate heating and electricity usage over a given-period, educating the building-owner on the current energy usage in order to determine whether or not a higher-level audit is appropriate.

Targeted Assessment– These audits look at the very specific components of a building, usually to assess the feasibility of an energy conservation measure that the building owner already has in mind. Targeted assessments can focus on any element of the building including: feasibility of renewable energy/cogeneration, building envelope analysis, HVAC overview and analysis, and electrical equipment analysis.

Level 1: Walk-Through Analysis/Preliminary Audits– This is the basic starting point for building energy investigation. This stage begins with conducting an energy use analysis in order to review past utility bills and show how much energy the building uses, and how it compares to similar buildings in similar climates. After this is completed, a walk-through of the building is done, including brief interviews with site operating personnel. From this, we are able to identify proposed low/no cost energy conservation measures and a list of capital improvements that warrant a further level of analysis. Level 1 audits are most commonly selected when the goal is to identify that the potential for savings exists, or to help an owner with many buildings prioritize which should be assessed first.

Level 2: Energy Survey and Analysis- This stage includes the Level 1 walk-through and adds more detailed energy and financial analysis. The Level 2 audit includes an evaluation of building envelope, lighting, HVAC, domestic hot water, plug loads, and process energy uses. A list of practical energy conservation measures, including operating cost reduction and retrofit expense, is presented. This level may or may not include the use of energy modeling software, depending on the ECMs considered.

For most building owners, the Level 2 audit provides the best balance of audit expense and savings identified.

Level 3: Detailed Analysis of Capital Intensive Modifications- This stage of the audit is to provide investment-grade analysis. The ASHRAE level 3 audit includes everything from the level 2 audit and adds a whole-building computer simulation and the use of life-cycle cost analysis to assess financial feasibility. This level of audit is best suited to larger facilities that are considering major retrofits such as building envelope upgrades, significant mechanical changes, or advanced control systems.