INSIGHTFUL SOLUTIONS

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After the Energy Audit

Posted by Steve DeBusk on Jan 13, 2015

You’ve completed an energy audit – congratulations! But now what? Commercial energy audits are a great way to get started with energy-efficiency efforts, but the steps that follow are just as crucial.

First, it’s important to understand the results of your energy audit once the data is collected. Are the findings based on regional averages, or do they use exact data from your local utility? Does the audit take building size and occupancy type into consideration? If done correctly, the energy audit process should lead to the creation of a report that includes:

  • Information about the building’s history and existing energy usage
  • Descriptions of the proposed energy conservation measures
  • Annual savings expected as part of implementing the energy conservation measure, including return on investment (ROI)
  • Upfront and maintenance costs associated with energy conservation measures

Once you understand the energy audit report findings, you must then decide where to start with implementing energy conservation measures. Which green initiatives will provide the most value, factoring in payback periods, rebates and incentives, and upfront costs, as well as financial or time investments?

Typically, no- and low-cost energy conservation measures are completed first – especially the projects without a big time commitment. In this stage, don’t forget to consider measures that involve behavior change. Coaching tenants or occupants on ways to conserve energy can make a significant difference. They also appreciate details about what will happen if expectations are met. For example, if the building reaches its energy-efficiency goal for the year, will some of the savings be redirected toward initiatives that benefit tenants or occupants (new chairs, bonuses, an updated conference space, etc.)?

The next step of the energy audit process often involves completing projects with short payback periods (three years or less is an often-followed rule of thumb, according to a report from CoreNet Global and Jones Lang LaSalle). Think in terms of ROI, but also think about kWh savings and how many additional years of savings you’ll experience once a full return on investment is reached. Take maintenance savings and deferred capital into consideration as well.

What’s the first thing you did after your energy audit was complete? How helpful were the results of your audit?

Steve DeBusk is global energy solutions manager for the window film division of Eastman Chemical Company. Steve has 30 years of experience in energy efficiency. He is a Certified Energy Manager, a Certified Measurement and Verification Professional, and a Certified Sustainable Development Professional. Follow Steve on Twitter @greenbldgs.

InSightful Solutions

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