When a Level 2 ASHRAE energy audit is the right choiceOct 18, 2013
As we discussed in last week’s blog, ASHRAE — the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers — has a series of audits that provide a progressive approach to assessing, problem solving and making decisions about the sustainability of your company’s buildings.
The Level 2 ASHRAE energy audits are where the rubber really meets the road. A Level 2 audit takes a detailed look at each of your building’s energy systems with the goal of determining the various opportunities for energy-saving improvements. Everything gets a review, from the outside of your building (called “the envelope”), through the lights, water and HVAC systems, down to whether the electrical outlets are sufficient for the loads they are carrying. If your buildings house specialty processes, such as systems involved with manufacturing processes, those will also be assessed.
This detailed study will also evaluate the experience (both comfort and functionality) of those who work in the buildings — things like whether the temperature and ventilation are sufficient for comfort, and the lighting sufficient for employees to do their tasks. In addition to interviews with employees to determine their experiences, detailed discussions will be held with management and facilities staff in order to get a comprehensive picture of problems that exist and places where staff members see opportunities for improvement. Finally, interviews with company leadership will clarify the company’s goals, both financial and non-financial.
The result of this Level 2 ASHRAE audit will be a comprehensive, concise report to the leadership and management of the company. This report will include a variety of measures, modifications and operational upgrades that can be implemented to increase building efficiency, capacity, and safety. Plenty of statistics will be included to illustrate how these energy efficiency measures can help cut costs and increase productivity — many at little or no cost to the company. There will also be a series of suggested potential capital upgrades.
A Level 2 ASHRAE audit is the best way to get a good, thorough examination of the state of your buildings, and a professional recommendation for a variety of improvements. Some of these improvements can be quickly implemented with financial payback in a number of weeks or months. Others may require the company to make some system-wide decisions, or negotiate with manufacturers or suppliers to make changes.