Step aside traditional energy audits, virtual energy auditing services are here to stay, or so it seems. Although they aren’t yet an industry standard, they are making waves in the commercial building market.
Virtual audits, otherwise known as “no-touch” or “rapid energy modeling,” offer a faster, lower-cost way of targeting efficiency opportunities in a building’s energy consumption by using meter data, mapping tools, and pictures. Although they are not as detailed as an on-site auditor, they can help find efficiency targets quicker and easier than ever before.
The commercial industry is focused mostly on retrofits, which are effective but expensive. By using remote analytics, companies can uncover simpler and cheaper ways to save energy for their customers. One virtual auditing service found companies could save nearly $17 billion in energy costs by simply changing energy-using behaviors and making small operational tweaks.
Virtual-auditor, Retroficiency, found five trends when sampling 500 commercial buildings:
- High-potential buildings save more than low-potential buildings – utility prioritization matters.
- Traditional metrics for measuring energy intensity, such as Energy Star and Energy Use Intensity (EUI), aren’t great tools for gauging immediate savings potential.
- End-use consumption and savings potential don’t always correlate – some appliances save more than others, depending on their rate of payback.
- Extending a payback period from short-term to mid-term length can offer more savings – on average, an additional 3.4 percent of annual savings.
- There’s relationship between saving energy and reducing carbon emissions isn’t always direct – they can be two different strategies – determine which works best for your company.
Advanced VAV Control Sequences & Optimizing Chilled Water Plant Controls (seminars), Iowa Energy Center & ASHRAE Central Iowa Chapter
Virtual Audits Uncover Surprising Trends in Building Energy Efficiency, Greentech Media
Virtual Energy Audits Could Ramp Up Building Efficiency Faster, Sustainable Business