Given the technical nature of energy audits, it is expected that auditing software has a significant role in the process. A vast array of energy audit software exists and its usage corresponds to a particular phase of the auditing. The software examples below should be considered indicative rather then comprehensive.
This software was initially developed to advance optimal combinations of building features during the preliminary design. Architects and engineers rely on the energy simulation software extensively to model water and energy use. However, this software has also found a great use in analyzing existing buildings for energy efficiency upgrade. Presuming that the initial modeling of upgrade measures was correctly done, the energy simulation software can give us estimates of how potential energy savings may be achieved. In order to use this software with confidence it is crucial to have a good knowledge of the building, a good understanding of the software and solid proficiency in the analysis of the output data.
This software is especially useful when estimating the costs of the large projects. Energy retrofit; technical feasibility, cost of installation and probable energy savings are the important issues that must be addressed when considering energy audit. The cost estimating software can perform a range of tasks eliminating the need to do them manually. Basically, by investing in this software, the unnecessary costs of overestimating or underestimating the expenditures of large construction jobs will be eliminated.
This software catches energy usage irregularities before they become an unnecessary budgetary problem thus making it an essential tool for any energy upgrade development. In a nutshell, the software provides a way to track, control, budget and benchmark costs associated with energy usage. Some notable functions of the energy accounting software include:
- Determines the use of energy and indicators of energy costs
- Shows trends and monthly use statistics
- Shows and verifies savings achieved by an energy upgrade program (modifying for the effects of area, weather etc.)
- Graphs figures for the use of energy
- Finds utility bill errors more effectively
- Screens trends of functioning to discover spots with excessive utilization of energy
- Estimates possible inconsistencies of usage
Estimating Energy Savings
The beauty of the energy savings software lies in the fact that it eliminates numerous mistakes that may arise from the use of simplifying assumptions and the utilization of one-dimensional calculation methods. The main flaw of the automated calculations is that they suffer from a lack of context. That is to say, as a stand alone method, simplified computations may easily overstate possible savings as they exist outside of a building energy balance.
CAD – Computer Assisted Design & Drafting
CAD is typically used to model tools and machinery as well as to design residential, commercial and industrial-type buildings. As such, CAD is not categorized as your typical energy audit tool. However, this software offers valuable contributions to the process of energy audit. So, where lies the potential for utilizing CAD in energy audit? First, during development of upgrade actions, producing a segment of the home floor plan can benefit in planning the installation of the equipment and recording it. Further, is beneficial to have reduced size floor plans for complex and large buildings. With the help of CAD, floor plans can be printed out to various sizes and used during the field survey. CAD can also be used for lighting surveys, especially when reflected ceiling plans are not available.