As you consider the complexity of your facility and the requisite energy systems operating to provide lighting, cooling, heating, compressed air, steam, and domestic water (to name a few), it is no wonder that describing the study (i.e. “audit”) of your building is complex.
In order to standardize the language and practice of building audits, the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has published guidelines characterized as ASHRAE Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3. In addition, these ASHRAE levels are often bracketed on the ‘low’ end by what can be described as a “Benchmark” or “Overview” Audit and on the high end by either an “Investment Grade Audit” and/or a “Master Audit”.
In the event your audit type is specified already, please feel free to email the specification to sales@NRGAdvocate.com and allow your Regional Energy Advocate to support you during a time of review and bid selection.
As is often the case, however, the audit type is not specified and we can help you select the appropriate type of audit to meet your objectives. These audit types are summarized below:
- Benchmark – Benchmark audits are the least expensive type of commercial energy audit. They involve walking through a facility, identifying energy conservation opportunities, interviewing facility personnel, and quickly reviewing the facility’s utility bills. The overview audit is fine for smaller organizations and those on a budget that want some quick tips on how they can reduce their energy usage and costs. It basically gives a road map of what to do.
- ASHRAE Level 1 – ASHRAE Level 1 audits are more intensive than Benchmark Audits and are used for for clients who are seeking LEED-EB status.
The ASHRAE Level 1 audit focuses on low-cost/no-cost energy conservation measures, and provides a list of higher cost energy conservation measures. In addition to tasks performed in the Benchmark Audit, in the ASHRAE Level 1 audit, we report how much in energy and energy costs can be saved from each energy conservation opportunity.
- ASHRAE Level 2 – ASHRAE Level 2 audits include a more detailed building survey, financial projections, and energy analysis than ASRHAE Level 1 audits.
ASHRAE Level 2 audits will identify appropriate energy conservation measures for a facility, and a financial analysis will be performed based on implementation costs, operating costs, and attainable savings.
ASHRAE Level 2 audits also are used by clients who are seeking LEED-EB status. ASHRAE Level 2 audits are worth 2 points (LEED-EB Credit 2.1, Option B) and may be a cost-effective alternative to Retro-Commissioning (LEED-EB Credit 2.1, Option A).
- ASHRAE Level 3 – In addition to the survey, projections, and analysis of Level 2, ASHRAE Level 3 audits include performance of computer modeling and is often required when a complex (or new) technology requires a higher level of scientific and technological analysis to estimate true energy savings.
- Master Audit (Investment Grade Audit) – The Investment Grade Audit (IGA) is so-called because it is often the required audit to support large project investment. At this high level, the distinctions between an IGA, Master Audit (which explicitly includes such things as code compliance, maintenance schedule development, and equipment inventories) and ASHRAE Level 3 become quite difficult to see.