Improving energy efficiency and conservation are essential to achieving
environmental sustainability. They are the simplest ways to reduce green-house-gas emissions and other forms of air pollution such as acid rain and smog. Good energy management starts with an energy audit. The dual benefits of dollar-savings and environmental protection from energy efficiency and conservation improvements are highlighted in such an audit. Energy audits often address other issues, too, such as indoor air quality, lighting quality and ways to improve building-occupant satisfaction.
The purpose of this guide is to provide basic information on how to conduct an energy audit, with a focus on building audits. Buildings consume nearly one-third of the energy used in the United States.
An energy audit identifies where energy is consumed and how much energy is consumed in an existing facility, building or structure. Information gathered from the energy audit can be used to introduce energy conservation measures (ECM) or appropriate energy-saving technologies, such as electronic control systems, in the form of retrofits. Energy audits identify economically justified, cost-saving opportunities that result in significantly lowered electrical, natural gas, steam, water and sewer costs.
An energy audit, therefore, is a detailed examination of a facility’s energy uses and costs that generates recommendations to reduce those uses and costs by implementing equipment and operational changes.