Congratulations! You have completed an energy audit, but now what do you do? Where do you start?
There is no simple answer because there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for setting and achieving energy reduction goals; there are no clear rules for how to implement the audit’s findings. Who should be involved, how much should you spend, how long should you wait before you make your money back – the right answers vary so widely that only you can answer these questions.
1. Make sure you really understand the results.
When energy auditors come in, they gather information, run lots of numbers, and create spreadsheets – but you may still not understand how to use that information. Get electronic copies of everything, especially if you hired an outside energy auditing firm to conduct the audit. The report should be usable or modifiable over time, not a PDF document that can’t be updated.
2. Make sure you get access to every software password and account as part of the energy audit debrief.
Get the login information so you can get in there and see the raw data for yourself.
3. Make sure you understand all of the calculations associated with the audit.
There may be many places where exact data is not available, where the auditor has put in a national or regional average or a figure from your utility company. There are also places where you’ll make estimates based on limited information – for example, you might not know exactly how full the building is at 8 p.m. on Fridays. Make sure you know where estimates were used and how the auditor arrived at each number.
4. Immediately review the audit’s recommendations and go over any points of confusion while the results are still fresh in everyone’s mind.
For example, a client’s recent energy audit resulted in 12 pages of analysis and about 70 pages of recommendations. The suggestions ranged from everything from having people turn off their computers at night all the way to weatherizing the building. Make sure you really understand what those recommendations say and whether they apply to one building or your whole portfolio of properties.