Benchmarking – California AB 802

The California Energy Commission’s (CEC) regulations require building owners of “disclosable” non-residential buildings above 50,000 gross square feet to report building characteristic information and energy use data to the Commission by June 1 annually, beginning in 2018.

For “disclosable” residential buildings over 50,000 gross square feet with 17 or more residential utility accounts, annual reporting will due June 1, beginning 2019. Building owners will complete their reporting using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, a free online tool provided by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Failure to comply may results lien on the property.

The cities of San Francisco, Berkeley, and Los Angeles have local benchmarking and public disclosure programs whose requirements exceed those of the state program.


Commercial Building Energy Audits – ASHRAE

ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) standards define energy audits at three levels of detail.
An energy audit provides building owners/operators a systematic roadmap towards energy management.


The main purposes of an energy audit are following

1) establish an energy consumption baseline

2) quantify energy usage by equipment or building function

3) benchmark (compare) against similar facilities based on use type, size and climate

4) identify low-cost/no-cost energy conservation measures (ECMs)

5) identify potential capital investment grade ECMs for further feasibility analysis.



Walk-Through Analysis/Preliminary Audit
The Level I audit or walk-through audit is the most basic. It primarily identifies any glaring cases of energy inefficiency and provides report detailing low-cost/no-cost ECMs. This level of detail typically is sufficient in identifying the low hanging fruit, but lack the necessary detail towards capital energy efficiency investments.



Energy Survey and Analysis
A Level II audit includes an ASHRAE Level I audit, but includes more detailed energy calculations and financial analysis of proposed ECMs. This type of audit builds a customized package of ECMs that accommodate or even improve existing building operations. Site-specific operating costs, estimated implementation costs, and customer investment criteria provides sufficient detail towards an ECM implementation strategy.



Detailed Analysis of Capital Intensive Modifications
This level of analysis builds on the level II audit and focuses on the potential capital-investment projects identified in the lower audit levels. This requires additional data gathering, computer modeling and sub-metering of target energy use systems. Project feasibility analysis will include actual utility usage profiles, other equipment within the same system, equipment quotes from reputable suppliers and labor cost quotes from reputable installers.