Top 5 Energy Audit Myths
As a sharp business owner, you may have considered having an energy audit completed on your commercial space by now. There are obvious benefits when energy and dollars can be saved, but sometimes doubts about the process can hold you back. Below are the 5 most common misperceptions about energy audits.
It’ll be expensive.
The most common reason for a business not booking an energy audit is the concern about cost. But the truth is, a basic audit is probably not as pricey as you would expect. The cost of a commercial audit does depend on many variables and it’s worth considering exactly what you want from an audit before you arrange it.
The average commercial audit is thought to range between $1,000-$15,000 taking into consideration all of these factors. But there are companies which offer initial audits completely free of charge (see here how to book your FREE Marathon energy audit).
As already mentioned there are different types of audits available. Rather than booking a high-level audit with all the bells and whistles, it may be better to book something more basic and then add to it based on the initial findings of your energy manager. Also, take some time to consider if you need a survey of the outside of the building as well as the inside.
The size and type of business will also impact the cost of the audit. The more space and floors and square footage there is, the higher the cost. The level of energy expenditure in the business can also drive costs. For example, a manufacturing company with many large machines would cost more to survey than a typical office with several computers and office equipment.
One of the least considered costs arises from the documentation. The more information you have available about your building the better. Tracking down data could cause delays and add to the final cost. However, knowing this beforehand means you can request documents now if you don’t already have them handy.
All energy audits are the same.
Not all energy audits are the same and they can be easily tailored to your business and requirements. There are 3 common levels to consider when scheduling an audit.
Level 1- Walk-through analysis (WTA)
This preliminary audit involves an energy manager performing a walk-through inspection of the business. This allows for identification of deficient equipment plus operational improvements and maintenance that may be required. It’s a great basic report for gaining knowledge on the potential and limitations of the facility with advice on energy-saving opportunities and how to implement them.
Level 2- Energy diagnosis
This level of audit involves metering devices and economic calculations that identify actual energy consumption and losses in real time. The results show a breakdown of current operations and a list of efficiency measures in order of priority for your business.
Level 3- Investment grade audit (IGA)
This includes a detailed report of energy use including customized information on implementation and what investments are involved. Operational and maintenance costs with real energy demand and balance are also included. Investment grade audits also include the benefits of an energy diagnosis as well as bundled measures and a plan of how to implement and finance the project while saving money overall.
So how do you decide which audit is right for you? This depends on how much money you are willing to invest and whether you want smaller immediate savings or large long-term savings. A good middle ground is an energy diagnosis, since you’ll gain more information about your facility and can start implementing ideas when you are able to invest. Often, this level has the best quality-to-price ratio.
Is there really that much energy I can save?
Of course, with all the variables it is impossible to say how much your business could save following an energy audit. But with energy making up about 10% of a business’ production costs on average there is good motivation to try and cut usage anywhere possible. There are many success stories like the many businesses in Seattle that underwent audits to assess cost-efficient strategies for saving energy and optimizing resources. A 22,866-square foot property implemented LED retrofit based on the findings of an audit and achieved energy savings of 28%, with actual savings of 39,058 kWh, more than doubling what was initially projected.
There will be too much disruption.
This is an important factor to consider, but for a Level 1 walk-through audit, the process within your business is only likely to take 1-3 hours. Of course, this depends on the size of the building, your equipment, and your overall energy consumption but disruption is kept to a minimum and many energy managers will work with you on a convenient schedule, even if it means completing the survey.
Anyone can conduct an energy audit.
How often do you become blind to the environment around you, especially when you see it every day? Energy audit professionals are highly trained to spot opportunities the average person wouldn’t notice. Sometimes the best thing about an energy auditor is that they are a fresh set of eyes in your business.
It is wise to check before you book that the company is sending a Certified Energy Auditor (CEA) or Certified Energy Manager (CEM). This ensures the individual has detailed training and is qualified to provide a competent survey and report.
An energy audit really is the best way to ensure your business is operating as effectively and efficiently as possible. It isn’t as expensive or scary as some imagine and will keep you up to date with the latest technologies and energy advancements. Here at Marathon Energy, we recommend an energy audit every 10 years and in between, it’s important to maintain and replace equipment when necessary.
If you would like to schedule a no-obligation energy audit, contact Mark Kessler, CEM at firstname.lastname@example.org or 718-564-2246.