Energy Audit for Non-Residential

An energy audit or building efficiency assessment identifies potential energy efficient improvements by pinpointing where a building is losing energy. Energy audits also evaluate the energy and water efficiency of building systems such as heating, cooling, lighting, and water heating.

An energy audit also projects the payback period (time it will take to recover the amount spent on upgrades) for the identified upgrades as well as a savings and cost benefit analysis of the identified improvements.

Types of Audits

The US Department of Energy designated three types of audits.

Type I – Preliminary or walk-thru audit

The simplest and quickest, this level of audit will prioritize energy-efficiency projects and determine the need for a more detailed audit. It consists of:

  • Basic utility invoice analysis
  • Interviews with site-operating personnel
  • Operational data review
  • Room-by-room walk-through of the facility to identify obvious areas of energy waste or inefficiency

Type II – Expanded Energy Audit

It expands on the preliminary audit by collecting more detailed information. This type of audit:

  • Balances time, effort, and cost with more complete, accurate recommendations
  • Focuses on specific building systems
  • Provides sufficient data to make “go/no-go” investment decisions
  • Has a higher degree of accuracy which maximizes savings, makes analysis easier, and simplifies implementation

The Type III – Comprehensive Audit

It focuses on building systems that are problematic, of interest, of high priority, or are otherwise designated by the site. It also involves gathering more detailed field data and a more precise engineering analysis. This level of audit provides detailed project cost and savings calculations. Depending on the level of audit provided, a professional energy auditor may use various types of equipment such as:

  • Blower doors to determine the extent of building envelope leaks
  • Infrared cameras which detect areas of insufficient insulation and air infiltration
  • Strategically placed energy monitoring devices and photometric reports to determine the most efficient type and placement of lighting fixtures

A Comprehensive Audit can reveal opportunities to:

  • Increase insulation levels
  • Improve solar heat gain and loss through window replacement
  • Reduce water usage
  • Improve lighting efficiency, and more

California Energy Commission Building Energy Efficiency Program

Refer to the California Energy Commission Building Energy Efficiency Program for more cost savings opportunities and Title 24 requirements.

Additional Energy Audit Resources

Most utility providers offer commercial energy audits and depending on the level and type of audit requested.
Utility providers may include guidance on time of use management and demand response options, and customers may also receive information on rebate and incentive programs that may offset a significant amount of the project costs according to PG&E. Keep in mind, in order to qualify for tax incentives your equipment must meet U.S. Environmental Agency Energy star requirements.

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The mPOWER program has funded more than $101 million in energy efficiency and water conservation improvements since its creation in 2010. It served its mission well to save money, conserve energy and create jobs. Unfortunately, recent legislative, regulatory, and market changes have reduced the demand for this type of financing option. Solar and other energy efficiency projects continue to be installed, but other financing options are being used. After serious consideration, the Pioneer Board determined winding down and ending the program was the appropriate next step.

On June 17, 2021 the Pioneer Community Energy Board voted to wind down the mPOWER program.

As of August 31, 2021, the mPOWER program is no longer accepting applications for financing. While the program is closed to new applications, customers will still be able to make payoffs and paydowns, and they will continue to have access to customer service support. Applications received before August 31, 2021, will still be processed.

It has been a honor and pleasure serving all of the mPOWER communities.