Conducting an HVAC Energy Audit

A commercial energy audit offers a chance to determine your HVAC system’s energy needs and identify possible areas of concern by examining energy use and performing a component-by-component examination of system health.

Periodic audits should be part of any preventative maintenance program, as they offer the data needed to improve system performance and energy. A commercial building energy audit answers many important questions about equipment health and energy expenditures, including:

– How much energy does the HVAC system consume?
– Where and when is energy use heaviest and lightest?
– What areas and equipment cause the most energy loss?
– What are the ages, types, and conditions of system components?
– Does the system pose a health risk?

Benefits of Completing a Commercial Energy Audit Checklist

A completed commercial energy audit checklist is a valuable tool for facility and maintenance managers. Once a commercial building energy audit is completed, you’ll be able to:

– Minimize energy loss and maximize system efficiency by resolving previously unidentified problems
– Protect the health and productivity of building occupants by improving air quality and temperature regulation
– Stay in compliance with government rules and regulations regarding commercial building air quality and energy use
– Understand how the age and condition of the HVAC system affects the building’s value and sale price.

In addition, an HVAC energy audit provides data facility managers can use to convince upper management of the need to invest in retrofits, preventative maintenance, and replacement costs, especially when planning budget proposals.

How to Conduct a Commercial Building Energy Audit

An HVAC energy audit is a complicated process. The auditor will gather data on energy use from multiple sources, including occupancy patterns, utility bills, maintenance records, and accounting documents. This information is referred to throughout the physical audit, which examines every system and component within the larger HVAC system.

Once data gathering is completed, information is analyzed with the help of building energy use software to establish energy use patterns and uncover issues which the physical inspection and maintenance crews may have missed. Finally, the auditor delivers a report of all findings, including recommendations for any upgrades, retrofits, change outs, or alterations to operating and maintenance schedules.

The Commercial Energy Audit Checklist

A commercial building energy audit is a complex process, taking into every aspect of the HVAC system and energy use. During the physical inspection, a commercial energy audit checklist covers such components as:

– Air filters
– Boilers
– Cooling coils and condensation drip pans
– Cooling towers and chillers
– Ducted returns
– Exhaust fans
– Face and bypass dampers
– Garage ventilation
– Heating and reheating coils
– Mechanical rooms
– Mist eliminators
– Mixing plenum
– Outside air intake and air quality
– Pressurized ceiling supply plenum
– Preventative maintenance supplies
– Print room exhaust
– Return air plenum
– Return fans and chambers
– Room partitions and stairwells
– Spray humidifiers / air washers
– Steam humidifier
– Supply ductwork
– Supply fans and chambers
– Terminal equipment
– Thermostats and humidity sensors
– Toilet exhausts
– VAV box.

Without a comprehensive HVAC audit, it’s impossible to fully understand how a commercial building uses electricity. If your maintenance schedule keeps the HVAC running, an audit helps ensure it’s running to its maximum potential.


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