An energy audit tool that more accurately pinpoints potential energy savings while potentially costing 35% to 75% less than traditional audits is set to hit the multi-billion-dollar energy retrofit industry next year.
The simuwatt Energy Auditor software package was developed by the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in partnership with Denver-based software developer concept3D. simuwatt Energy Auditor replaces the clipboard-and-pencil approach of most building audits with a package that uses sophisticated, comprehensive computer modeling to find more potential energy savings.
The commercial buildings sector in America alone represents 7% of total energy consumption worldwide. Commercial buildings in the United States consume about $134 billion in electricity each year for lights, computers, office machines, appliances, and the like, according to the Energy Department's Buildings Energy Data Book. Even a modest reduction in electricity costs would mean huge savings.
At the individual building scale, a 200,000-square-foot office building that pays $2 per square foot in energy costs annually can save tens of thousands of dollars of net operating income by reducing consumption modestly. And that doesn't include the benefits of reducing greenhouse gases and increasing the comfort level of building inhabitants.