If the energy bill for your company is too high, you will need to conduct an energy audit to reduce this expense. You shouldn’t implement energy saving techniques before conducting an audit because you won’t know the source of the energy drain, which could waste more money. How much a commercial energy audit costs depends on the building’s size. Some companies charge 0.05 cents per square foot.
Some types of businesses that are especially in need of energy audits are car dealerships, hotels, restaurants, bakeries, and grocery stores. These businesses have high energy demands in one way or another, but that doesn’t mean they should accept high energy bills. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) advised that a 10% reduction in consumption by the car dealerships in the country would save $193 million. Continue reading to learn more about the importance of energy audits for a business.
What Is an Energy Audit?
A commercial energy audit is a survey and analysis of a business’s energy usage. An energy auditor will determine the energy needs and efficiency of the building. After the audit, they will offer suggestions on how you can improve the energy-efficiency of your business. They will also show you the areas in which you can decrease energy consumption the most for great savings on your energy bill. Common suggestions include using different lighting, replacing equipment with energy-efficient equipment, and improving HVAC systems.
Who Needs Energy Audits the Most?
Large companies typically see the largest savings from receiving an energy audit. Companies that have operated for years without conducting an energy audit are usually in dire need of one as well. They experience the greatest percentage of savings in comparison to companies that have had energy audits before. According to Abraxas Energy Consulting, buildings that have gone 10 years without pursuing energy-efficiency save 20% on average from energy audits. Buildings that have been implementing energy-efficiency strategies over the past five years see 10% in energy savings on average from an audit.
How Much is Usually Spent on Energy Audits?
The cost of a commercial energy audit depends on the building’s size. Commercial energy audits typically range from $500-$15,000. On average, an energy audit costs 0.4-0.5 cents per square foot of the building. If you want just a specific area of the building audited, it costs around 0.04 cents per square foot of the area. Some companies charge by the hour instead of square foot. They charge approximately $150 per hour spent on the audit, which can take up to 40 hours.
Another factor that influences how much you’ll spend on a commercial energy audit is which level audit you choose. Level 1 is a walk-through analysis that detects the most noticeable causes behind high energy bills and offers changes that are fast to implement for lowering energy bills. Level 2 is an energy survey and engineering analysis that provides quantified recommended modifications. Level 3 delivers the most detailed savings calculations from the detailed analysis of capital-intensive modifications. Even with a level 1 audit and implementing simple techniques, you can save energy. For example, a 2,000 square foot office space could save $1,360 by using fluorescent lighting, optimizing its electronic devices’ power settings, and using Energy Star equipment.
3 Ways in Which You Can Reduce Spending on Energy Audits
1. Trying It Yourself
One way to minimize how much you spend on an energy audit is to do it yourself first. If you haven’t reduced your energy bills enough attempting it yourself, then hire an energy audit company. Also remember that you won’t be able to analyze everything on your own, but you can at least check some things without hiring an energy audit company. Lighting is an example of an energy expense you can check on your own. Almost 40% of a building’s energy expenses come from lighting.
2. Getting a Good Auditor
Take care to hire a reputable energy auditor or you’ll spend more money in the long-run for energy-efficiency. There are some companies and independent contractors that offer energy audits for businesses but don’t fully understand what they’re doing, so they deliver poor service. You’re most likely not going to find a good energy auditor at $20 per hour. Those who are qualified to conduct energy audits usually expect at least $100 per hour. It’s better to pay more for a good energy audit than less for a bad one, so that you don’t waste a greater amount of money overall on trying to reduce your energy bill. In order to select a good energy auditor, search for someone with at least 10 years of experience, request a sample audit, and contact their references.
3. Receive a Free Energy Audit Consultation
Some energy audit companies offer free energy audit consultations, so it’s an option worth looking into before shelling out money on an audit. A free energy audit consultation will inform you of how much money you could save each year on improving your building’s energy-efficiency. If you like the sound of how much you could potentially save, then follow through on the audit to decrease your business’s fixed expenses. Another benefit of first receiving a free energy audit consultation is the auditor will let you know whether or not a full audit is even necessary for your business. In a few cases, the company doesn’t need an energy audit. Thus, it’s a good idea to ask for the free consultation to avoid spending a lot of money on an unnecessary audit.
An energy audit can reduce your company’s energy bills by 10%-40%. If your company has never pursued energy-efficiency before, then it will see the most drastic savings from an energy audit. Before you hire a company, always make sure to receive a free energy audit consultation to know if your business is in need of one and approximately how much money you can save on energy bills. If their estimate of how much you’ll save isn’t worth it in comparison to the cost of the audit, consider doing the audit yourself or purchasing a level 1 audit that’s cheaper.
Have you tried cutting energy costs for your company before? What methods have you tried and how well did they work?
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