An energy audit is a third party inspection of energy using systems within your building or space. Audits include comprehensive lists of energy efficiency measures derived from building and facility performance, as well as financial analysis for each identified measure. Energy audits can be performed with the goal of reducing energy usage without negatively impacting the company’s everyday practices. Upon completion of the audit, your facility will be provided with recommendations for improvements with estimated energy savings and payback periods.
In the summer of 2013, A Better City conducted a pilot project with 10 buildings using Virtual Energy Audit (VEA) technology. Read the report here.
Having an energy audit will give you a detailed view of how energy is used in your facility. Auditing your building will help you to see where energy and money are being wasted due to inefficiencies in building design & systems. Reports on energy audits identify areas where you are able to decrease energy usage, create return on investment estimations, and identify any incentives that may be available for the proposed recommendations. This gives you options for cost-saving while reducing the carbon footprint of your organization.
Challenge Participants Currently Adopting This Practice
- Oxford Properties
- State Street Corporation
- Zoo New England
Financing Options, Incentives, And Rebates
Energy Audit Steps
The following is quick guide to undertaking an energy audit at your facility.
Step 1: Know your energy bill
It is important that you are aware of your general energy costs before you schedule an energy audit. It is recommended that you look at the last 12 months’ worth of energy usage so that you have an idea of your month to month energy demand throughout the course of a year.
Step 2: Identify Possible Areas of Improvement
Become familiar with the equipment you have within your organization. Identify which equipment may be able to be replaced with more efficient ones, such as lighting fixtures, exit signs, vending machines, motion sensors, etc.
Step 3: Call NSTAR to Determine Small or Large Business Eligibility
The size of your business determines what kind of audits and incentives are available to you. These are determined by your energy consumption, which can be obtained from NSTAR in order to figure out which category you fall under. A small business is classified as consuming less than 300 kW per month, and a large business is an energy consumption of more than 300 kW per month.
If you fall under the small business category, you are eligible for a MassSave Assessment and reimbursement of up to 70% of the cost of equipment and installation of new, more energy efficient equipment.
Large businesses require can perform a Whole Building Assessment in which a few specific energy issues can be addressed. Both assessments include different incentives depending on how your business chooses to go about the energy audit.
Step 4: Schedule an Energy Audit
Call NSTAR at 781-441-8592 to schedule an energy audit. A small business can expect to have the whole process, from audit to report, completed in around 2 weeks.
Step 5: Review Report and Rank Results
To help your business decide what changes it wants to implement, you can use a Ranking Form in order to evaluate the proposed projects based on energy savings and cost.
Step 6: Present Recommendations to Management for Approval
Clearly presenting proposed recommendations to management is key to receiving approval for investments in energy efficiency improvements. You can use the following template for assistance:
Step 7: Implement Changes
Be sure to follow through with implementing the changes that have been approved by management.
Step 8: Measure & Maintain
Upon completion of your energy efficiency improvements continue to track and measure your facilities energy use to determine actual energy and cost savings. Also, make it a scheduled event every 3 years to have an energy audit done. This is to ensure that equipment is still functioning as energy efficient as possible.