Your company’s utility costs can represent a huge percentage of your operating budget, but when companies look to save money, utilities and energy use are often seen as unchangeable. And that’s simply not true. With the right information, you can maximize your energy usage and reduce your business’s utility bills, while creating a more sustainable business.
For many businesses, an energy efficiency audit is the first step towards a building that does not use more energy than it has to. Efficiency is important because the less energy you use, the less you have to pay and the less impact your company’s actions have on the environment. In this way, energy efficiency is a better investment than sustainable energy sources, at least in the early stages of strategic energy management.
But energy audits do not come without a price tag. Keep reading to learn how much an energy efficiency audit actually costs and whether that expenditure pays off in the end.
The Scope of the Audit Can Vary
An energy efficiency audit will attempt to uncover areas where your company’s building systems and equipment could be improved through operation or equipment upgrades, but not all audits have the same scope. One way that energy audits can be categorized is through the ASHRAE audit levels. A future blog post will cover these more in depth, but the basic breakdown is as follows:
- Level 1: A basic audit that includes surface level interviews with facility personnel, a utility bill review, and a walk-through.
- Level 2: An audit that builds off of the level 1 review and goes further with evaluation of building energy systems to identify potential efficiency improvements.
- Level 3: The most in depth level of ASHRAE audit, this analysis is designed to help building owners decide where to invest their resources in energy efficiency improvements.
ASHRAE Level 1 audits can be significantly more affordable than Level 2 or Level 3 audits.
Energy Audit Cost Savings
Ultimately the motivation behind businesses seeking out an energy audit is cost savings. So it shouldn’t matter how much an audit costs as long as it saves the business even more, right?
While the math works out in that scenario, the truth is that an energy audit itself does not actually reduce costs or increase revenue. The idea is that an energy audit provides you with the changes you can make to ensure your businesses is running as efficiently as possible. After that, a few things can happen.
- You can hire the company that did your audit to start implementing those changes, usually at a significant mark up from what it would cost you to do it yourselves -- if you had the expertise.
- You can hire an energy manager to implement the changes, again at a significant expense. That is, assuming you can even find one that is qualified, since there is a shortage of energy managers in the U.S.
- You can try to implement the changes on your own, with no assistance from energy experts, which will usually result in a return to either option 1 or 2, or an abandonment of the energy efficiency push altogether.
An energy audit involves a financial investment and at the end, you are cannot be sure that you will actually save any money at all.
Energy Efficiency Audit Alternatives
Beginning with energy efficiency is not the only or the best way to save on business energy costs. Often, the most effective energy analysis findings are available without even setting foot in a building -- through a thorough analysis of utility bills and other energy expenditure documentation.
At Correlate we combine this data first approach with elements of ASHRAE Level 1 and 2 audits to provide our customers with a strategic energy program that includes your options and the support required to execute those options. We invest in our customers success and do this work no upfront cost.
To calculate how much an energy efficiency audit would cost for you, and see what Correlate can save you, try out our energy audit calculator.