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New ASHRAE Standard for Energy Audits of Commercial Buildings

What’s new here?

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has published a new Standard 211-2018, which built on and refined its 2011 document, Procedures for Commercial Service Energy Audits, 2nd Edition, sometimes called “The Green Book.”  ASHRAE put several years of effort into creating the new standard, which met the rigorous requirements for acceptance as a standard by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).  The standard was also adopted by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA).  (For convenience, we have provided links to where you can purchase the documents for convenience, but we aren’t involved in selling them and don’t get a cut.)

What are the different “levels” for a commercial ASHRAE energy audit?

An excellent article by Jim Kelsey, President of kW Engineering the chairman of the 211 Standard Committee, gives a good summary of what is new.  To oversimplify, the new standard tightens the definition and requirements around what constitutes an ASHRAE energy audit at “Level 1,” “Level 2,” or “Level 3.” 

  • A “Level 1” audit is almost purely qualitative – no numbers.  Costs, savings potential, and priority of possible energy-saving projects are rated as “low,” “medium,” or “high.”
  • A “Level 2” audit is very numbers-driven, aimed at using hard data to quantify savings opportunities from different projects.  The new standard institutes a quality control check to express the projected savings as a percent of the base case energy usage, to avoid making estimates that are too high for the system in actual use.
  • A “Level 3” audit is a more detailed evaluation of specific projects aimed at capturing the energy saving opportunities.


What might an energy audit show?

Airways does not do energy audits, but if you have one, in a lot of cases, one of the lowest-hanging fruits will be to get leaky ducts sealed.  Airways Systems has done more commercial Aeroseal® projects than anyone else in the Greater Chicagoland area.  In addition to saving energy and money, depending on your situation, an Aeroseal® project may improve indoor air quality and comfort and/or solve problems with compliance with building standards.  It’s something you may want to consider.