CIET's Ask Us Anything series is a free monthly Q&A session with industry experts.

CIET organized a session on Building Energy Audits featuring Clint Christenson, Energy Management Consultant and Instructor, and CIET Trainer.

If you missed the Building Energy Audits Ask Us Anything, here is a key topic that was discussed during the session.

Question: What kind of software do you use for the energy balance of the building?


In most cases, when we refer to energy balance, we're trying to figure out, and virtually building a model of the building, in a lot of cases, it ends up being on a spreadsheet. But we know what the bills look like, right. I kind of consider that the top. This is how much energy we've used and then our job is to create; here's all the equipment and then you put in their load and hours and we're hoping that those two really match up.

Then of course there's always going to be some kind of a gap, right? And that could just be variation in operations and those types of things. But I consider it a top down; we're at the utility side looking at the costs of energy and is there different times of the day or times of the year that it may be more expensive or cheaper? Then also looking at the loads and the hours so that I can compare. And that's that energy balance. And of course there are some, but in most cases that's where benchmarking ends up being part of that process of looking at our energy and then comparing it to similar buildings, and I think everybody's somewhat familiar with ENERGY STAR and it's actually a CBECS study (Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey). The cool kids say CBECS.

CBECS is the study and those folks have got all kinds of data on tens of thousands of buildings and they slice and dice. They tell you how long it takes them to do it. It takes 4 years to analyze the data. We still don't have 2018 data that was collected. We're hoping it'll come out this year and it really breaks down all of the different components and different types of buildings. One of the neatest things, if you've never seen the CBECs report, is they've got a big spreadsheet to look at. They take buildings and break them out into decades. Based on when the construction date was and then they'll say how many, how much energy does each of that type use? And so if you walk into a building that was built in the 70s, you would expect it to be, this amount of performance. And so that's really important. ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is where we get a lot of that and of course there are other systems out there to help with that.


Did you miss this Ask Us Anything session?

Here's another video highlight you might be interested in: What is the typical "first pass" accuracy one can expect the audit's breakdown of energy usage to match the story told by utility bills?


Interested in learning more about ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager?

CIET offers a series of three free webinars to help participants better understand how to use and get the most out of the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager software. ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager (ESPM) is a management tool designed to measure and assess the energy performance of commercial and institutional buildings. After widespread use in the United States, Natural Resources Canada adapted Portfolio Manager for use in Canada where more than 26,000 buildings have been entered into the tool.

Over the years, Portfolio Manager has grown in popularity and use because it allows the user to understand whole building energy use and costs (including water and other materials), compare theirs to similar buildings (using a scoring system), set building baselines and targets, track the impacts of reduction strategies, and produce custom reports.

The three webinars are organized to build upon the participant’s knowledge and level of comfort with Portfolio Manager.

  • 101: Fundamentals & Basics

  • 201: Creating and Updating your Building Profile

  • 301: Maximize Usage with Advanced Features


Visit CIET's Training Calendar to find an upcoming webinar.


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