Eisenbach & Ruhnke Engineering
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Energy Auditing

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Eisenbach & Ruhnke Engineering, P.C. (E&R) has performed and reviewed multiple energy audits as part of guaranteed energy performance contracts since 1995. E&R also performs comprehensive energy audits for public, commercial and private clients.

The term energy audit is commonly used to describe a broad spectrum of energy studies ranging from a quick walk-through of a facility to identify major problem areas to a comprehensive analysis of the implications of alternative energy efficiency measures sufficient to satisfy the financial criteria of sophisticated investors.

Three common audit programs are described in more detail below:

Preliminary Audit:

The preliminary audit (alternatively called a simple audit, screening audit or walk-through audit) is the simplest and quickest type of audit. It involves minimal interviews with site-operating personnel, a brief review of facility utility bills and other operating data, and a walk-through of the facility to become familiar with the building operation and to identify any glaring areas of energy waste or inefficiency.

Typically, only major problem areas will be uncovered during this type of audit. Corrective measures are briefly described, and quick estimates of implementation cost, potential operating cost savings, and simple payback periods are provided. This level of detail, while not sufficient for reaching a final decision on implementing proposed measures, is adequate to prioritize energy-efficiency projects and to determine the need for a more detailed audit.

General Audit:

The general audit (alternatively called a mini-audit, site energy audit or detailed energy audit or complete site energy audit) expands on the preliminary audit described above by collecting more detailed information about facility operation and by performing a more detailed evaluation of energy conservation measures. Utility bills are collected for a 12 to 36 month period to allow the auditor to evaluate the facility’s energy/demand rate structures and energy usage profiles. If interval meter data is available, the detailed energy profiles that such data makes possible will typically be analyzed for signs of energy waste. Additional metering of specific energy-consuming systems is often performed to supplement utility data. In-depth interviews with facility operating personnel are conducted to provide a better understanding of major energy consuming systems and to gain insight into short and longer term energy consumption patterns.

This type of audit will be able to identify all energy-conservation measures appropriate for the facility, given its operating parameters. A detailed financial analysis is performed for each measure based on detailed implementation cost estimates; site-specific operating cost savings, and the customer’s investment criteria. Sufficient detail is provided to justify project implementation.

Investment Grade Audit:

The investment-grade audit (alternatively called a comprehensive audit, detailed audit, maxi audit, or technical analysis audit) expands on the general audit described above by providing a dynamic model of energy-use characteristics of both the existing facility and all energy conservation measures identified. The building model is calibrated against actual utility data to provide a realistic baseline against which to compute operating savings for proposed measures. Extensive attention is given to understanding not only the operating characteristics of all energy consuming systems, but also situations that cause load profile variations on short and longer term bases (e.g. daily, weekly, monthly, annual). Existing utility data is supplemented with submetering of major energy consuming systems and monitoring of system operating characteristics.

Pollution Audits:

With increases in carbon dioxide emissions or other greenhouse gases, pollution audits are now a prominent factor in most energy audits. Implementing energy efficient technologies help prevent utility generated pollution.

Pollution audits generally take electricity and heating fuel consumption numbers over a two year period and provide approximations for carbon dioxide, VOCs, nitrous oxides, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, mercury, cadmium, lead, mercury compounds, cadmium compounds and lead compounds.

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