CCI can also be of great assistance in certifying existing buildings for LEED O&M. When performed in combination with energy audits, CCI’s Retro-Commissioning process will assist the owner in documenting and qualifying for many of the EA Credits and Pre-Requisites. The Retro-Commissioning process will reduce energy consumption and operational issues in an existing building undergoing LEED O&M certification. An ongoing commissioning plan can be established as one of the credit requirements to facilitate the Continuous Commissioning of the building to keep performance optimal. CCI can serve as either the prime documentation coordinator or work with a LEED certification specialist to document LEED O&M.
What is an Energy Audit?
An energy audit is an inspection, survey and analysis of energy flows for energy conservation in a building, process, or system to reduce the amount of energy input into the system without negatively affecting the output(s). ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers) defines energy audits in 3 levels:
ASHRAE Level 1- Walk-Through Analysis
A level 1 audit is also known as a simple audit, and is the most basic. It involves minimal interviews with site operating personnel, a brief review of facility utility bills and other operating data, and a walk-through of the facility, all geared toward the identification of obvious areas of energy waste or inefficiency. The data compiled is then used for the preliminary energy use analysis and a report detailing low-cost/no-cost measures and potential capital improvements for further study. Typically, a Level 1 audit will only uncover major problem areas. Corrective measures are briefly described, and quick estimates of implementation costs, potential operating cost savings, and simple payback periods are provided. This level of detail, while not sufficient for reaching a final decision on implementing proposed measures, is adequate to prioritize energy efficiency projects and to assess the need for a more detailed audit.
ASHRAE Level 2- Energy Survey and Analysis
A level 2 audit includes the preliminary ASHRAE Level 1 analysis, but also includes more detailed energy calculations and financial analysis of proposed energy efficiency measures. The financial analysis or Life Cycle Cost Analysis provides the facility owner with comprehensive understanding of the financial benefits of implementing specific energy efficiency measures. Utility bills are collected for a 12 to 36 month period to allow the auditor to evaluate the facility’s energy/demand rate structures and energy usage profiles. This type of audit identifies all energy conservation measures appropriate for the facility given its operating parameters. A detailed financial analysis is performed for each measure based on implementation cost estimates, site-specific operating cost savings, and the customer’s investment criteria. Sufficient detail is provided to justify project implementation. A level 2 audit also provides 2 LEED points under Energy & Atmosphere Credit EA 2.1, Option B, for LEED O&M
ASHRAE Level 3- Detailed Analysis of Capital Intensive Modifications
A level 3 audit focuses on the potential capital-intensive projects identified in the Level 2 analysis and involves more detailed field data gathering as well as a more rigorous engineering analysis. It provides detailed project cost and savings calculations with the high level of confidence required for major capital investment decisions. This audit alternatively is called a comprehensive audit, detailed audit, or technical analysis audit. It expands on the Level 2 audit by providing a dynamic model of energy use characteristics of both the existing facility and all energy conservation measures identified. The building model is calibrated using actual utility data to provide a realistic baseline against which to compute operating savings for proposed measures. Extensive attention is given to understanding not only the operating characteristics of all energy consuming systems, but also the situations that cause load profile variations on both an annual and a daily basis. Existing utility data is supplemented with sub-metering of major energy consuming systems and monitoring of system operating characteristics.