When global green started doing energy audits over nine years ago, they served both purposes; sales and energy cost savings data, however, we always recommended getting two or three audits to compare the results.
Now it appears that everybody is in the game to conduct energy audits and make recommendations with rebates and tax credits. so how is an owner of a commercial business or manufacturing plant to decide what to do or who to go with? some of the older principles still hold, get 2-3 energy audits, check out how long the auditor have been doing audits and not how fancy they talk or look, get some references from former clients whom they have audited to see if the audited results under delivered or over delivered and finally compare the pricing of the led fixtures they are recommending.
Many of today’s auditors are electrical distributors who buy at a discount from a manufacturer or master distributor, mark it up 25%, then sell to an electrical contractor, who in turns marks it up and sells it to the end user or consumer. so if you are getting energy audits, it makes sense to get one from an electrical distributor, one from a contractor and one from an independent or master distributor who doesn’t present to the end user two mark-ups on the price.
The energy savings should be the same from all auditors since this is just factual data containing the voltage, wattage, hours or operation, electricity rate, number of fixtures, and square footage of the building in question. The difference will be noted below.
Is there an effort to reduce the number of fixtures or re-matrix the lighting layout to maximize the illumination and energy saving. is there a correct correlation between the existing lighting fixtures and the recommended led fixtures or retrofit that are recommended. Are the companies presenting giving a five or ten year warranty, better lumens per watt equal or than 1:10lm/w, and are they willing to provide photometric for either internal or external lighting need. Once you have the previous, then it may come down to dollars but don’t go cheap. Many cheap led fixtures do not last nor will they provide the illumination that you need for a long term investment. Look at led fixtures that are in the middle of the pack, not too cheap and not too expensive but the company will provide added value in service and support.
In the end, evaluate after one year, the actual savings that was promised from the energy audit. The actual savings should be greater than that promised.