An audit is a tool to identify specific opportunities for savings, enabling decisionmakers to weigh costs against benefits, and prioritize investments. The owner of each non-residential building larger than 10,000 square feet must obtain a comprehensive energy efficiency audit of the entire building from a qualified energy auditor at least once every five years. The auditor is responsible for submitting a detailed report to the building’s decision makers, and the point is to provide a reliable catalog of opportunities to cost-effectively improve energy efficiency. The priority should be to obtain specific recommendations that empower action to save both energy and money.
Energy benchmarking and audit data have been analyzed by San Francisco Department of Environment and the Urban Land Institute GreenPrint Center. The San Francisco Existing Commercial Buildings Performance Report 2010-2014 found that commercial buildings subject to San Francisco’s energy benchmarking and audit requirements have demonstrated positive economic and environmental trends:
Energy use has decreased by 7 .9 percent and greenhouse gas emissions have decreased by 17 percent among properties that consistently comply.
Energy audits for over 800 buildings have identified $60.6 million in opportunities for cost-effective energy efficiency investments, with a net present value of $170 million. If implemented, these projects would cut annual electricity consumption by 150 GWh and save 1 .4 million therms of natural gas per year, with a portfolio-wide payback of three years.
San Francisco Existing Commercial Buildings Performance Report 2010-2014
Guidelines for Filing a Confirmation of Energy Audit (Existing Commercial Buildings Ordinance)
Existing Commercial Buildings Task Force Report
Overview of Existing Commercial Buildings Energy Ordinance