What Is an Energy Audit? (And Why Your Business Needs One)

Sep 2, 2022 | Energy Efficiency for Business

Understanding energy audits and why they are important

Despite the availability and benefits of energy audits, few businesses get them. This is likely due to most people being unaware they exist or not knowing how beneficial they can be. According to a 2020 survey conducted by the Department of Technology and Society at Stony Brook University New York, only 9% of survey respondents had gotten an energy audit. 

Getting an energy audit for your business can help you reduce energy consumption by helping eliminate energy waste. This will reduce your energy bill and lower your carbon footprint.

This article is going to explain what an energy audit is, how it can reduce energy costs, and how it can help reduce your carbon footprint.

What is an energy audit?

An energy audit is an assessment of your business’s energy use to determine how efficient or inefficient the energy use is. Energy audits are available through your local utility, your power company, and private businesses. 

The energy audit will identify problems in your building, such as HVAC issues, substandard weatherization, or leaks. Once complete, you receive a breakdown of the problems and recommended fixes which are designed to improve energy efficiency and lower utility bills.

4 reasons getting an energy audit is important

1. The most obvious reason is to lower your energy costs. A good audit will provide a roadmap that if done, typically saves a business between 10% and 40% on energy costs.

2. Energy audits can also help identify issues that your equipment might have such as leaks in your compressed air system. Leaks like this can become very expensive if they aren’t fixed early on.

3. Upgrading your building to be more energy efficient increases property value.

4. When you upgrade, your building lowers overall energy use and thus your company’s environmental impact decreases. It also helps lower the load on the energy infrastructure.

The 4 different types of energy audits

The type of energy audit needed varies from business to business. A large manufacturing company would require a much more in depth audit than, say, a small business.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) groups energy audits into 3 categories, but in actual practice there is a 4th in use.

Level 0

Level 0 audits are walk-through audits designed to be quick, inexpensive, and to provide a list of maybe 15-20 ideas worth considering. They do not provide an analysis, cost estimate, or a savings estimate. These are perfect for the property owner that has multiple locations and wants to identify which need more detailed audits.

Level 1

This is also considered a walkthrough audit, but is a bit more in depth. The main goal is to get a good idea of how energy flows and overall energy performance in the building. The auditor might speak with employees and do an assessment of past energy bills.

This is done to find the easiest ways to quickly increase energy efficiency and find any major problems.

Level 2

This includes everything done in the previous levels, but is significantly more in depth. Detailed and rigorous testing may be done, additional personnel interviews may be done, and if your state is deregulated, it might include getting cheaper electricity and natural gas rates.

Level 3

This audit is the most detailed and is considered an investment grade audit. Energy auditors provide, analyze and produce data to recommend larger (often expensive) investments that can be made to significantly reduce energy usage.

Should you get an energy audit?

Contacting your local utility to get a free audit or starting off with a basic level 0 audit is most definitely worth it. Energy prices are continuing to rise and doing everything possible to lower your overall usage could save you a significant amount of money.

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About Consumer Energy Solutions

CES was founded in 1999 and over the past 22+ years has serviced everything from small mom and pop shops to fortune 500 companies. We represent the largest and most reputable energy suppliers in North America and have an impeccable track record at securing the lowest rates possible.