Energy auditing is one of the first steps towards efficient energy management of a building. The process comprises identifying, surveying and analyzing the energy usage of the building to facilitate optimization while reducing energy consumption, thereby increasing the savings of cost as well as energy. Energy auditing regards itself primarily with health and safety along with reducing energy consumption without hampering the operations. Energy audits ensure consistency, accuracy and quality as per ANSI/ASHREA/ACCA Standard 211-2018. It is dignified as the best practice for energy survey & analyses for purchases and providers of energy audits services.
The process of energy auditing vis-à-vis commercial buildings is demanded by the NYC Local Law 87 which requires for all buildings over 50,000 square feet to submit an ‘Energy Efficiency Report’ with the Department of Buildings containing the results of energy audits and retro-commissioning.
The Energy Audit Process
The process is compartmentalized into two steps – Walk-Through Analysis & Energy Survey and Analysis.
Walk-Through Analysis: Energy Auditor Inspection & Interview
It involves multiple tests being conducted by the auditor across the parameters of the building. Various measurements are recorded; building personnel (owners, tenants, occupants, and other community fellow) are interviewed. This also includes identifying different energy-saving opportunities.
Energy Saving and Analysis: Report and Implementation
Post the initial survey, the bottlenecks towards energy efficiency are described. The auditor duly provides a thorough analysis of the problematic energy areas. They are also responsible for recommending all the possible solutions and interventions regarding the energy systems partly based off occupant tendencies understood.
Purpose of Energy Audits
Purpose of Energy Audits reflects when the overall performance of the building is enhanced by saving energy and operational costs and by identifying and rectifying all problems related to building system operation, control & maintenance, increasing tenant/occupant satisfaction by looking into their complaints, reducing associated liability and improving indoor environmental comfort and quality, a rising concern in the pandemic phase. Moreover, also analyzing the Operations & Maintenance (O&M), personnel training needs along with providing the training, facilitating risk management and risk elimination, extending, equipment life-cycle, addressing the code issues. All in all, increasing the value fo the building.
Benefits of Energy Audits
1) More Comfort – Energy auditing, without fail promises greater comfort for energy efficient buildings inherently ensures better insulation, better cooling, optimum HVAC, amongst other things
2) Improved IAQ – Increased air efficiency guarantees better air quality as the ventilation and air conditioning experience a scrutinized focus throughout the process
3) Greater Building Durability– Energy auditing is performed with the vision of increasing the building’s longevity and durability, with close attention being paid to the leaks, moisture levels, ventilation, and sun-proofing to sustain the building’s health
4)Higher Resale Value – With increased health, longevity, and operation optimization, the building’s worth surpluses, which reflects with higher resale value as much as 20% if not more.
NYC Local Law 87 applies to buildings larger than 50,000 square feet and mandates for them to file an ‘Energy Efficiency Report’ with the Department of Buildings, which will contain details of the energy audit results & retro-commissioning measures- both, required by the law and deemed penal in cases of non-compliance. The law also applies to two or more buildings on the same tax lot number that together exceed 100,000 square feet and two or more buildings held in the condominium form of ownership that are covered by the same board of managers that together exceed 100,000 square feet.