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The Mini-Energy Audit

"... an inexpensive means for a school business official to acquire an independent assessment of the energy effectiveness of school buildings."

WRITTEN BY
 Kenneth J. Kogut, P.E.
      President, Kenneth J. Kogut & Associates

A mini-energy audit is an inexpensive means for a school business official to acquire an independent assessment of the energy effectiveness of school buildings.  The results of a mini-audit, or energy appraisal, can provide sufficient information to intelligently select from energy saving recommendations for implementation specifically for the facilities being appraised for energy effectiveness.
 

The areas are analyzed in a typical mini-energy audit include these: 

bulletExamination of utility billings;
bulletExamination of the building lighting system;
bulletExamination of major building energy loads for application of energy load management techniques
bulletExamination of the building envelope or shell;
bulletExamination of the Heating Ventilating and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) Systems.

Examination of Utility Bills- This area consists of examining and analyzing a facility's energy utility bills in order to establish facility consumption levels, cost profiles, energy usage characteristics and energy performance levels in BTUs/sq.ft./year.  A data base typically consisting of, but is not limited to, three years of energy costs and consumption data.  Developed performance measures are then reviewed in relation to usage patterns.  This provides insight to determine the extent to which energy consumption profiles have changed and provides early warning information regarding energy consumption in a school facility under analysis.

Examination of Lighting Systems- A facility's interior and exterior lighting systems are examined to determine current lighting levels to provide recommendations as compared to current standards.  In addition, lighting system usage is analyzed as compared to actual needs and the potential for converting or utilizing a more efficient lighting system or electrical lights are for a facility is analyzed where and if applicable conversions are necessitated.

Examination of Major Building Energy Loads- Examination of the facility's energy intensive loads is accomplished for the purpose of potentially applying energy load management techniques.  Recommendations are provided to assist the building engineer in managing both consumption and demand levels for the facility specifically addressing facility usage patterns.

Examination of Building Envelope- The building's envelope or shell is examined to identify potential ways of reducing infiltration and potentially reducing heat loss through walls, windows, doors, and roofs.  Determination of feasible thermal barrier properties and potential feasible alternatives are included in this specific area.

Examination of HVAC Systems- As part of energy appraisal, a review of current operating conditions will be included, along with various environmental conditions maintained as compared to facility usage patterns.

Upon completion of a mini-energy audit, a report should be prepared that discusses the findings.  The Energy Conservation Measures (ECM's) analyzed for each area then should be presented in summary

                        "Knowing what to do next in energy management
                            should start with what is happening now!"

form, by professional discipline.  A meeting is then typically scheduled between the audit team and the school business official to present the report and review the findings.  Typically, about three weeks would be required to complete a mini-energy appraisal in a specific facility.
    With the eminent rise in energy bills, a mini-energy audit is a cost effective way of providing a basis for a sound energy management program.  Knowing what to do next in energy management should start with what is happening now!

SBA June, 1981                                                                                                

 

Last modified: 04/02/09