Auditing: ASHRAE Audits Level 1, 2 and 3
The simple audit should create a preliminary energy-use benchmark and a brief report describing the results, which can sometimes include identifying a number of recognizable efficiency opportunities. Usually this particular report doesn’t provide comprehensive recommendations, aside from very noticeable projects or operational problems.
The Level-2 audit should result in a concise report and briefing with the Owner and Management Team in order to describe possible Energy Efficiency Measures (EEMs) such as no- and low-cost measures, modifications to system controls and building automation, operational changes, and potential capital upgrades. The findings should include general expenses and overall performance metrics in addition to a means for the Owner to evaluate the EEMs and decide the direction to go with implementation.
The ASHRAE Level-3 audit usually focuses on a “whole-building computer simulation,” where some type of computer program is used to very accurately model how a brick-and-mortar building would react to changes in the energy systems, whether those are major HVAC retrofits or architectural modifications to wall space, windows, and roof. The ASHRAE Level-3 audit involves a much more detailed information collection over a period of weeks or even months. Data loggers typically are placed temporarily to keep track of the operation of pumps and motors, temperatures of affected spaces, lighting levels, switching behavior, and additional factors. This data is utilized to calibrate the computer model so that the computer design responds to inputs and changes the same way the actual building might be expected to respond. This calibration is checked and validated by simulating a year or more of historical climate conditions to determine if energy and power usage within the model mirrors actual energy and power usage in the building.