Commercial Energy Audit

What they include, how much they cost, and how they can help you.

Commercial Energy Audit

On average, commercial buildings waste 30% of their energy, according to the EPA. Commercial energy audits and the energy saving recommendations they produce help businesses reduce that waste while lowering operating expenses, reducing their carbon footprint, and allowing them to qualify for energy rewards programs to secure better financing.

AEI Consultants is here to help you improve the energy efficiency of your facilities by providing commercial energy assessments and energy saving recommendations that can increase your property value and save you money while helping you advance your path to net zero.

What is a Commercial Energy Audit?

A commercial energy audit is a comprehensive analysis of your building’s energy consumption to determine where, when, and how energy is being used. An audit provides useful data about your current energy costs and gives insight into sustainable measures that can reduce energy usage, increase energy savings, and promote good environmental stewardship.

Performed by a certified energy auditor, a commercial energy audit is typically the first step in making your facilities more energy efficient. Energy audits are often required when applying for third-party financing, seeking utility incentives, and incorporating specialized building certification programs, such as USGBC LEED.

Three Types of Commercial Energy Audits

There are different kinds of commercial energy audits available with varying levels of detail, depending on your goals. AEI assesses and provides recommendations for refining energy and water consumption using the ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager. Our commercial energy assessments follow the three audit levels outlined by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

ASHRAE Level 1 – Walk-Through Analysis

An ASHRAE Level 1 energy audit includes a brief on-site survey and an analysis of the building’s energy bills to provide an overview assessment of energy cost and efficiency. It provides initial low-cost changes that will help reduce energy consumption as well as suggested capital cost improvements to be considered going forward.

ASHRAE Level 2 – Energy Survey and Analysis

An ASHRAE Level 2 energy audit goes into more detail about a facility’s specific energy use. It provides a cost analysis and the resulting savings of recommended improvements that can be made to meet your specific financial and environmental goals. Additional suggestions may be provided, like an overview of potential changes for capital-intensive projects. This level is generally suitable for most buildings and facilities.

ASHRAE Level 3 – Analysis of Capital-Intensive Modifications

If you need a more in-depth assessment to help guide capital investment decisions, the ASHRAE Level 3 commercial energy audit offers more comprehensive cost and savings data. This level takes the potential capital-intensive modifications identified in Level II and does a deeper analysis to provide a more thorough look at the project’s cost and savings to help you make investment decisions.

How long does a Commercial Energy Audit Take?

It depends on several factors, including:

  • the size of the property
  • how the building or facility is used
  • the number of electronics and appliances
  • the level of audit being performed

Is there a Commercial Energy Audit checklist?

The checklist will vary, depending on the property and the type of audit, but some common aspects of a business energy audit are:

  • Lighting
  • Electronics
  • Electric Motors
  • Heating and Cooling Systems
  • Water Heating
  • Air Leakage
  • Insulation
  • Doors and Windows
  • Habits and History of Usage

Commercial Energy Audit Steps

The scope of an audit will depend on the specific goals of your business, ranging from a simple assessment of your building’s energy bills to a more comprehensive analysis of the entire property.

Each audit typically involves the following steps:

  • An on-site visit to survey the property and collect efficiency data from the energy systems and equipment being used 100% 100%
  • Analysis of utility bills based on habits and history of use 100% 100%
  • Inspection and diagnostic testing of systems and equipment 100% 100%
  • Recommendations about energy efficiency measures that will help you reach your goals as well as how these may be implemented, plus the resulting costs and savings. 100% 100%

AEI’s Energy Audit Service Offerings

ASHRAE Level 1 Energy Audit: Enhanced Building Energy Disclosure Report
  • Create a high-level report on a building’s operations and energy usage
  • Determine a baseline for measuring improvements and determining further in-depth auditing
  • Identify no-cost/low-cost measures for efficiency improvement
ASHRAE Level 2 Energy Audit: Building Energy Performance Assessment
  • Conduct a detailed evaluation of a building’s energy systems
  • Outline potential financial incentives from various sources (local, state, federal, and utility providers)
ASHRAE Level 3 Energy Audit: Modeling
  • Perform rigorous analysis of all operations
  • Outline benefits, costs, and performance expectations for system upgrades or retrofits for capital planning and personnel investments
  • Administer “whole-building computer simulation” to model a building’s response to changes in energy system or architecture (wall, windows, and roof)

Benefits of a Commercial Energy Audit

In addition to increasing your property value, lowering utility expenses, and reducing carbon emissions, the benefits of implementing an audit’s suggestions can have a significant impact on an organization.

According to a report by the nonprofit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, energy efficiency can reduce US energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by about 50% by 2050, getting us halfway to our national climate goals. 

!

Increase

  • Property Value
  • Knowledge of Utility Consumption
  • Renewable Energy Sources
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Tenant Satisfaction & Productivity
  • Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) Rating
  • Path to Net Zero
"

Decrease

  • Utility Consumption
  • Utility Expenses
  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions

How much will a Commercial Energy Audit cost?

The cost of a commercial energy audit will vary, depending on the scope and size of the project with criteria, such as:

  • The ASHRAE level of energy audit required
  • The size of the facility, including square footage, number of buildings, number of floors
  • The type of business, its operations, and the amount of energy it uses

AEI conducts each energy audit with a personalized approach that accommodates your specific needs and goals. Overall energy use can account for a significant portion of a business’s total operating costs. An audit uncovers crucial energy conservation measures that can result in considerable annual savings – often enough to offset the cost of the audit itself.

Energy Rewards Programs

AEI is preapproved and prequalified to perform energy efficiency assessments by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, HUD, and C-PACE Lenders. We help with your due diligence to qualify for the following Agency energy rewards programs.

Energy Benchmarking Map

Check Your State’s Requirements

If your state is not listed, there are no known requirements at this time.

California

Statewide
Benchmarking required for public, commercial and multi-family buildings

San Francisco
Benchmarking and additional actions required for public, commercial buildings

Berkeley, Brisbane, San Jose, Los Angeles & Chula Vista
Benchmarking and additional actions required for public, commercial and multi-family buildings

Colorado

Statewide
Benchmarking and additional actions required for public, commercial and multi-family buildings

Boulder
Benchmarking and additional actions required for public, commercial buildings

Fort Collins & Aspen
Benchmarking required for public, commercial and multi-family buildings

Florida

Miami & Orlando
Benchmarking and additional actions required for public, commercial and multi-family buildings

Georgia

Atlanta
Benchmarking and additional actions required for public, commercial and multi-family buildings

Hawaii

Honolulu
Benchmarking required for public, commercial and multi-family buildings

Illinois

Chicago & Evanston
Benchmarking required for public, commercial and multi-family buildings

Indiana

Indianapolis
Benchmarking required for public, commercial and multi-family buildings

Iowa

Des Moines
Benchmarking required for public and commercial buildings

Maine

Portland & South Portland
Benchmarking required for public, commercial and multi-family buildings

Maryland

Statewide
Benchmarking and additional actions required for public, commercial and multi-family buildings

Montgomery County
Benchmarking and additional actions required for public, commercial and multi-family buildings

Massachusetts

Statewise
Benchmarking required for public, commercial and multi-family buildings

Boston
Benchmarking and additional actions required for public, commercial and multi-family buildings

Cambridge
Benchmarking required for public, commercial and multi-family buildings

Michigan

Ann Arbor
Benchmarking required for public, commercial and multi-family buildings

Minnesota

Bloomington, St. Paul, St. Louis Park
Benchmarking required for public, commercial and multi-family buildings

Edina & Minneapolis
Benchmarking and additional actions required for public, commercial and multi-family buildings

Missouri

Kansas City
Benchmarking required for public, commercial and multi-family buildings

St. Louis
Benchmarking and additional actions required for public, commercial and multi-family buildings

Nevada

Reno
Benchmarking and additional actions required for public, commercial and multi-family buildings

New Jersey

Statewide
Benchmarking required for public and commercial buildings

New York

New York
Benchmarking and additional actions required for public, commercial and multi-family buildings

Ohio

Columbus
Benchmarking required for public, commercial and multi-family buildings

Oregon

Portland
Benchmarking required for public and commercial buildings

Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh
Benchmarking required for public and commercial buildings

Philadelphia
Benchmarking and additional actions required for public, commercial and multi-family buildings

Texas

Austin
Benchmarking and additional actions required for public, commercial and multi-family buildings

Utah

Salt Lake City
Benchmarking and additional actions required for public and commercial buildings

Washington

Statewide
Benchmarking and additional actions required for public, commercial and multi-family buildings

Washington, D.C.

District of Columbia
Benchmarking required for public, commercial and multi-family buildings

The Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) regularly updates a map showing the US cities, counties, and states that have adopted mandatory energy benchmarking and transparency policies for their existing buildings. Take a look to see where your area lines up.

If you are interested in energy audit services or have any questions, please reach out to speak with one of our energy and sustainability professionals.

10 + 11 =

Karla King, Esq., P.E.

Executive Vice President, Sustainability & Resiliency

Brett Byers CEM, CMVP, CBCP, BPI-MFBA

Vice President, Sustainability & Resiliency