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Central Alaska Engineering Company
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Central Alaska Engineering Company

Depending on the physical and energy-use characteristics of a building, and the needs and resources of the owner, energy audit steps can require different levels of effort. A commercial building energy analysis can generally be classified into the levels of effort as explained in the document ASHRAE Audit Standard.

The scope of basic services for a Commercial Energy Audit includes but not limited to:

Arrow Collect utility data for two years and benchmark facility,
Arrow Gather drawings to establish major equipment list and lighting systems,
Arrow Field site survey work to include verification of drawing accuracy and complete infrared survey,
Arrow Develop energy model of the facility and square up with benchmarked utility data,
Arrow Develop energy efficiency measures evaluating recommended energy saving projects,
Arrow Issue findings in a comprehensive written IGA report.

The purpose of the energy audit on a building is to identify cost-effective system and facility modifications, adjustments, alterations, additions and retrofits. Systems investigated during the energy audit include heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, interior and exterior lighting, motors, building envelope, and energy management control systems. Infrared thermal imaging is completed to identify any unusual heat loss areas with the building shell components. Steps to the energy audit include the following:

Collect Utility Data:
Utility information is collected and analyzed for two years of energy use for the building to be audited. This information will be used to analyze operational characteristics, calculate energy benchmarks for comparison to industry averages, estimate savings potential and establish a baseline to monitor the effectiveness of implemented energy efficiency measures. Accuracy of the utility data to be provided by the building manager is critical to the success of the energy audit.

Collect Drawings and Develop Profile:
After gathering the utility data and calculating the Energy Utilization Index (EUI), the next step in the audit process is to gather and review the building drawings to develop the profile which documents the building age, type, usage, and major energy consuming equipment or systems such as lighting, heating, ventilation and air condition, domestic hot water heating, refrigeration, snow-melt, etc. The building profile is utilized to generate, and answer, possible questions regarding the facility’s energy usage.

Field Survey:
The site visit is completed to verify accuracy of the gathered drawings. The site visit is used to inventory the building envelope (roof, walls, windows and doors, etc.), the major equipment including HVAC, water heating, lighting, motors and equipment in kitchens, offices, and shops, etc. Efficiency of the combustion equipment is measured or estimated where applicable. Infrared thermal imaging is completed to further evaluate the building shell components.

Analysis and Energy Model:
The post-site work includes evaluation of the information gathered

Commercial / Municipal Buildings


during the site visit, establish data input for the building energy model, research possible conservation opportunities, organizing the audit data into a comprehensive report, and making recommendations on mechanical, electrical and building envelope improvements. The collected data is entered into the AkWarm-C Commercial¬© Software (AkWarm-C), a building energy modeling program developed for AHFC. The data is processed by AkWarm-C to model a baseline from which Energy Efficiency Measures (EEMs) can be considered. The energy model is compared to actual utility costs to ensure the quality of the calculations. EEMs are evaluated based on building use and processes, local climate conditions, building construction type, function, operational schedule, existing conditions, and foreseen future plans. Cost savings are calculated based on the historical energy costs for the building. When new equipment is proposed, energy consumption is calculated based on the manufacturer’s information. Energy savings are calculated by AkWarm-C.

Calculate Potential Energy Savings:
Cost estimates are generated using the Geographic Area Cost Factor for the specific area to be audited. Installation costs includes design, labor, equipment, overhead and profit for the renovation project and is used to evaluate the initial investment required to implement an EEM. The estimated savings and cost are then applied to each recommendation so that Simple Payback and Savings to Investment Ration can be calculated. In addition, where applicable, maintenance cost savings are estimated and applied to the net savings for an EEM.

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