There are several issues that could be a hindrance in your search for the right company to conduct a thorough Energy audit on your behalf.
* Everyone and their brother claims to be able to conduct energy audits.
* There is no consensus on the exact definition of what an energy audit actually is.
In this piece I will examine these issues and show you how to select the best energy auditor and avoid being scammed.
Everybody and their Brother claims to conduct Energy Audits
In the current state that the American economy is facing, United States, everyone who has not made money is trying to see which sectors that are still earning money. Energy consulting has been a success in the beginning. The companies offering energy consulting have not been laying off employees instead, they are hiring. In the midst of cutting costs, businesses are beginning to realize that energy is not a fixed price in the first place, but an expense that could be cut down by 10% to 30 percent. Add in the prospect of stimulus funds and you’ve got yourself a new service for businesses who are witnessing their sales drop. We’re seeing real-estate management firms as well as real estate brokers mechanical and electrical contractors and even equipment dealers all trying to market and carry out energy audits. Additionally there are a few major firms have entered the market. Then there are thousands of jobless who call us constantly asking for our help in teaching them about becoming energy auditors. There’s a benefit as well as a negative surge into energy consulting. The positive is that, with increasing competition, costs decrease. The downside is that cost of the work is reduced, but the quality of work is also affected. Auditing companies that are new lack experienced auditors and often produce low-quality audits. The majority of the contractors and real estate firms do not even perform the audits themselves instead, they subcontract them out to others. They’re simply cutting a slice off the top.
Every Company has a different idea of what an Energy Audit is.
Energy Audit was a term that was a bit confusing and could have multiple definitions. Two companies could theoretically conduct an energy audit, one could be able to complete the task in 5 hours and the other , for 80 hours. This kind of variety in audits, both the client and auditor typically were in different minds about what should be accomplished.
The American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has taken crucial steps to define what constitutes an audit. ASHRAE has established the criteria to be met for 3 types of audits called ASHRAE Level 1. ASHRAE Level 2, and ASHRAE level 3 audits. As a result, clients can request an audit at Level 1 and all vendors should be able provide the same level and quality report. However, this is not the case.
Recently, we made an offer of $4,500 to perform the ASHRAE level 1 Energy Audit but were beaten by the competitor who performed an audit at $823. It is typical for us to spend 40-50 hours for the ASHRAE level 1 audit. If our competitor worked 40 hours and was charged $823, this amounts to paying $20/hour for the task, which they didn’t perform. We concluded that one of two things: the auditor who won the job hasn’t delivered enough, or the auditor uses the audit as a way to market products and services or the auditor is getting paid a small amount.
We were fortunate enough to view the audit of $823 after it was finished. The auditor’s report was not anything substantial. It was just 3 pages along with a handful of the ASHRAE forms that were that were filled out. While it was advertised in the form of the ASHRAE level 1 review, it was not. The audit didn’t address all requirements of ASHRAE level 1 standards. People don’t understand what constitutes what constitutes an ASHRAE Level 1 Audit. This is where the issue lies.
You get what you pay For
Take a look at it You buy what you get. At present in San Luis Obispo California, plumbers can charge $100 per hour or more. Energy auditors who have similar expertise, but who studied energy at schools (most are mechanical engineers) and have been trained in an extremely technical field, should be more expensive than your typical electrician or plumber. If you receive a quote on an audit you can divide it by 100 dollars per hour and you’ll get the approximate amount of time they’re expected to work in the field. Credentialed and experienced auditors for energy across the US have a salary of around $100,000 at the moment. Auditors with a good reputation are expensive however, so are plumbers who are skilled and efficient. You pay for what you get for.
The reason why some businesses offer Free or near-free Audits
Certain companies offer energy audits at no cost or at least for a minimal cost. If this is the case typically, the company that is offering this audit is trying promote the “energy saving” product, or is planning to install of the energy-efficient measures after they have been identified. I am not a problem with the second kind of vendor, since their audits could be great however the first kind of vendor will not offer an exhaustive energy audit, instead, they provide an audit that is focused on their product. The most important thing for the consumer is that audits with a limited scope are likely to miss the most significant energy-saving opportunities because of the auditor’s limited focus.
There are nonprofits with good intentions that will conduct audits for no cost. They are typically brief, and they aren’t conducted by qualified auditors. Many nonprofits get grants to help save energy. These grants usually do not come in the amount of money they are asking for which is why, as a result they are unable to hire an qualified energy auditors. As a result, the work is not as good.
In addition, some utilities are now offering energy audits at no cost. In certain cases it could be a huge chance. In California as an example the investor-owned electric utilities, they employ experienced and professional energy experts to perform the task. Audits are free to the consumer, however utilities are responsible for paying the cost to conduct the audit. They receive high-quality audits. However some utilities use their own employees to conduct the audits, and often their auditing staff don’t have the expertise to do an acceptable job.
Experience is the most important factor when it comes to Energy Audits
The process of energy auditing does not only involve finding fixtures that are inefficient and suggesting replacement with better-performing fixtures. This energy audit makes an aspect of the process, however, this is not the most difficult part. Auditing requires an in-depth knowledge of boilers, chillers air handlers, packages units controls systems along with their component parts as well as compressed air and hot water from the domestic supply.
Energy audits for commercial buildings aren’t something you can master in just a few days. The process takes the course of years studying as well as making mistakes and watching others stumble before you are proficient in the field of energy auditing. There are a myriad of HVAC configurations you can choose from. Auditors with years of experience find these each year new scenarios.