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Commercial Energy Assessments

An energy assessment is the same thing as an energy audit. We prefer the word assessment because the word audit has negative implications, such as in "tax audit". There is no negative outcome in an energy assessment -- everyone wins: The building owners/managers, because operating expenses are lowered, and the utilities, because their demands of grid upkeep are lowered.

Energy typically comprises a considerable portion of business expenses and one could argue that energy prices will continue to rise. Most businesses could benefit from a review of their facility or portfolio of buildings. Aberdeen Building Consulting provides a full compliment of energy assessment services and our fee generally amounts to a fraction of what could be saved during the first year alone.

Our commercial building energy analysis services can be classified a number of levels of effort:

Preliminary energy analysis (PEA)

The PEA is done before a site visit to the building. The building manager provides one to three consecutive years of energy usage bills for analysis and fills out a short questionnaire about site usage. The building is then benchmarked.

Benchmarking is a process of developing two energy use indicators:
  • Energy Cost Index (ECI), which is energy cost per square foot per year, and
  • Energy Utilization Index (EUI), which is energy usage (in KBtu) per square foot per year.
These metrics are compared to a national database of similar buildings/applications to assess the potential for improvement of energy performance and to determine whether further detailed study is likely to produce significant energy savings. If you have multiple buildings in your portfolio, they can be compared against each other. Further business-specific metrics can be developed, such as energy cost per unit manufactured for factories or energy cost per guest for hotels. Most buildings do have savings opportunities available, especially older buildings that have not had updates for many years. For large buildings, simple changes in equipment or behavior can lead to savings of thousands per year.

Utility bill analysis can also immediately reveal if excessive demand charges are being incurred. Sometimes a minor alteration in behavior or operation policy can produce substantial energy saving.

As of 2011, New York City Local Law 84 requires all buildings larger than 50,000 sq.ft. to annually be benchmarked and the data to be reported to the EPA and New York City Department of Finance. We can help you comply with the law.

We offer a FREE PEA, including benchmarking, to new customers.

Level 1 - Walkthrough Survey

After a PEA, an onsite survey is conducted. A Level I energy survey will identify low-cost / no-cost measures for improving energy costs and provide a list of potential capital improvements that merit further consideration. A Level I analysis is useful when the goal is to establish the general energy savings potential of a building or to establish which buildings in a portfolio have the greatest savings potential. Your utility rate are analyzed as well to look for improvement opportunities in rate structure and demand / ratchet profile.

Level 2 - Energy Survey and Analysis

A Level 2 audit is a more detailed survey that builds upon the Level I and includes energy consumption / peak demand analysis as well as a rough breakdown of energy end uses in the building. This level generally provides enough information for most buildings for the owner to act upon recommendations.

A level 2 survey will identify and provide basic life cycle cost analysis of all practical energy efficiency and energy conservation measures that meet the owner's constraints and economic criteria, along with proposed changes to operations and maintenance procedures. All building systems, such as HVAC, lighting, electrical, building envelope, etc. are considered, as well as building maintenance and operations. It may also provide a list of potential capital-intensive improvements that require more rigorous data collection and analysis.

Capital-intensive building modifications that result in energy savings can often have a medium-term (3 - 6 years) return on investment of 10%, 15%, 20% or more, although many of these modifications have life spans far exceeding that amount of time. It is the rare financial instrument that will produce comparable returns with such a high degree of certainty. When allocating funds for long-term financial planning, these investments should be considered along with any other type of investments.

Level 3 - Detailed Analysis of Capital-Intensive Modifications

This third level focuses on capital-intensive projects identified during a Level 2 analysis. It involves more detailed field data gathering and rigorous economic analysis. It may include computer modeling of the annual energy performance of the building and actual vendor pricing. It provides detailed project cost / savings calculations with a high degree of confidence, sufficient for major capital investment decisions. It goes beyond the basic economic analysis of Level 2 and uses expanded life-cycle cost analysis as a decision-making tool.

Ongoing energy use analysis

We can also provide oversight of energy upgrades to make sure that any work performed is done properly. After energy efficiency and conservation measures are implemented, we offer ongoing energy usage analysis to monitor improvements in the energy expenses of your facility as well as periodic project reviews to make sure that the cost-saving measures that were undertaken remain on track.