With energy costs predicted to climb in the coming months and years, and with more businesses dedicated to implementing solutions to minimize their carbon footprints, commercial energy audits are becoming increasingly popular. What’s more is that these audits have low-risk, high-reward potential in that they can significantly reduce a facility’s energy draw and help it save on utility costs as well. In this post, we’ll get more into the nitty gritty of commercial energy audits, and further explain what they consist of and how much they tend to cost. Read on to learn more:
Commercial Energy Audits Explained
Let’s start by discussing what a commercial energy audit consists of. You might be surprised to learn that a commercial energy audit may consist of a few different tasks. These include:
- Assessing and analyzing the energy efficiency of a facility and determining ways to improve energy efficiency. This step often consists of a thorough walk-through analysis that aims to identify the more obvious improvements that can be made. The audit will then dig a bit deeper to identify any modifications that can be made to improve energy efficiency. A good energy audit will provide property managers with estimated savings based on any suggested energy efficiency improvements that are identified.
- Energy audits may also consist of utility bill analysis. This involves carefully analyzing utility bills to check for compliance errors, alternative rate options, and other ways to reduce energy costs. In some cases, there may be an opportunity for the assessor to negotiate with utility companies to receive better rates.
When done correctly, there are a variety of benefits that can be realized after a commercial energy audit. The biggest of these benefits is cost savings. Utilities represent one of the most significant overhead costs for a commercial business, so any reduction can go a long way. If your facility implements all of the suggested changes from an audit, it could see a cost savings of up to 30 percent.
As we mentioned in the introduction, cost savings usually means that a facility has taken the necessary steps to conserve energy. Hence, taking steps to make a facility more sustainable and reduce its carbon footprint is another big benefit.
Cost of a Commercial Energy Audit
So what does a commercial energy audit cost? It really depends on a variety of factors, many of which we’ll get to later on in this post. Generally speaking, however, commercial energy audits tend to range anywhere from $1,000 to $15,000. We’ll tell you why there’s such a significant range in the forthcoming sub-sections. Here’s a look at some of the key factors that can influence the price of a commercial energy audit:
Type of Energy Audit
Yes, there’s more than one type of commercial energy audit. In fact, according to the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers, or ASHRAE, there are three levels of commercial energy audits. They are as follows:
- Level 1: This consists of a very basic walk-through analysis of the property that identifies simple, easy-to-make changes to help improve energy efficiency and energy costs.
- Level 2: Level 2 audits consist of a more thorough energy survey and engineering analysis, which tends to prioritize certain modifications. Level 2 audits tend to be more intensive and involve speaking with staff members, identifying energy efficiency measures (EEMs) and how much they’re likely to cost to implement, and outlining expected savings after implementation.
- Level 3: Level 3 audits take things a step further and may even seek vendor bids to make some modifications to improve energy efficiency. This can help a firm reduce the risk of any investment it elects to make by ensuring more cost certainty.
As you might expect, a Level 1 audit is the most affordable and a Level 3 audit – which includes the services detailed in Level 1 and Level 2 audits – is the most expensive. Before you consider what level of energy audit to order, you should get an idea of what type of budget you’re working with and how much you’re willing to put toward any improvements that are suggested. For instance, if you’re looking for easy ways to save money, a Level 1 audit will likely suffice. If you’re able and willing to make big capital improvements to save significant energy, a Level 2 or Level 3 audit is your better bet.
The bigger a facility, the longer it’s going to take to properly audit it. And the longer it takes to properly assess it for energy efficiency, the more it’s going to cost. However, it’s important not to get too hung up on the size of the building when pricing out a commercial energy audit. Remember, the larger the facility, the more opportunity for energy savings. That’s not to say that you can’t benefit from an audit on a smaller commercial property, it’s just the point that size of the facility tends to be a big influencer behind the cost of the audit.
Keep in mind that a thorough energy audit will also include exterior parts of the building, such as the roof, walls, windows, outdoor lighting, shading, utility services, generators, and more. The larger the facility, the more there is to analyze and assess.
Aside from the size of a facility, business type also plays a significant role. For instance, a manufacturing facility with droves of machines operating simultaneously is going to cost more to adequately assess than an office complex. Generally speaking, the more equipment, technology, HVAC systems, and more that a building contains, the more a property manager can expect an energy audit to cost.
Type of Project
Finally, the project type also plays a major role in the cost of an energy assessment. There are also various add-ons during the energy assessment that a property manager can request to be considered in the overall assessment.
Contact Green Line Rates Today
For more information on how much a commercial energy audit costs and to learn more about the various factors that can influence the price of an audit, contact Green Line Rates today.