Fundamentals of Energy Auditing

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Course Overview

Learn how building energy systems operate and how to measure your building’s energy performance. This course will focus on auditing commercial building systems, including heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting, and building envelope. During the course, you will work in small groups to perform an energy audit on the building where the course is held, using ASHRAE-recommended energy audit procedures to create energy estimates, recommend energy efficiency measures, and calculate potential savings.

Knowledge of energy auditing tools and procedures will assist many types of building professionals, including facility energy managers, commissioning authorities, engineers, and anyone wanting to identify and manage building energy performance.

Who Should Attend?

  • Facility managers and engineers
  • Commissioning team members
  • Utility program managers and engineers
  • Energy auditors or corporate energy managers
  • Energy management personnel from government and the military
  • Vocational school, community college, or university educators working in energy conservation programs

Additional Information

Valuable Take-Home References
As a benefit of attending this course, you will receive a digital notebook with printable pdfs of the course presentations and related references. You will also receive ASHRAE’s “Procedures for Commercial Building Energy Audits” book.

Laptop Computer Required
Please bring a laptop and be prepared to do team homework on several evenings in preparation for Friday’s audit report.

Fieldwork note: Please bring clothing appropriate for boiler and mechanical equipment rooms.

Course Outline


8:00 Registration

8:30 Welcome and Overview

8:45 What is an Energy Audit?

  • The wide range of energy audits
  • Audit process
  • Developing end-use profiles

10:30 Building energy data and costs

12:00 Lunch

1:00 How buildings use energy

  • Energy analysis procedures
  • Energy reduction potential
  • Energy conservation measures (ECMs)

2:00 Energy estimating and utility bill analysis

  • Modified degree day
  • Variable base degree day
  • Bin analysis
  • Utility bill analysis

3:15 Audit team preparation

3:30 Preparation Workshop: Building envelope

4:30 Presentation Workshop: Building envelope ECMs

5:00 Daily Adjournment



8:00 Building Operations Q&A

8:30 Lighting Evaluations, Surveys, and Audits

  • Preparing for a Lighting Audit
    • Why do audits?
    • Pre-survey preparations
    • Audit tools and how to use them
  • Taking a Lighting Equipment Inventory
    • Describing fixtures
    • Techniques for identifying and counting lamps and fixtures
    • Spotting inappropriate fixtures
  • Types of Lighting Systems
    • Incandescent: recessed cans, sconces, track, decorative
    • Fluorescent: surface-mount, recessed, T12, T8, parabolic, indirect, industrial
    • HID: (High-Intensity Discharge) recessed, pendant-mounted
    • LED’s/SSL (solid-state lighting)

10:00 Review of Incumbent Lighting Technology

  • Terminology: lumens, efficacy, average rated life, color temperature, color rendering index (CRI)
    • Identifying lamps: watts, size, shape, bases, R- & PAR lamps
    • Common mistakes and recommendations
  • LEDs and SSL (Solid-State Lighting)
    • What are LEDs? How do they work?
    • System efficiency; delivered lumens; LED life (L70)
    • Challenges in using LED/SSL
  • Electronic Ballasts & LED Drivers
    • How do electronic ballasts work?
    • Importance of ballast factor (BF)
    • Protecting electronic ballasts against transients
    • What are LED drivers? How do they work? 

12:00 Lunch

1:00   Lighting Controls

  • Types: switches, occupancy sensors (PIR, Ultrasonic, Dual-technology, wireless)
    • Photocells
    • Dimming LEDs & SSL fixtures
  • Auditing Lighting Systems
    • Audit tools & how to use them
    • Calculating lighting loads, lighting energy, lighting power density (LPD) (w/exercises)
    • Estimating/measuring hours-of-use
    • Measuring light levels (including class exercise)
  • Identifying Opportunities for Improvement
    • Improving the lighted environment while reducing operating cost
    • Retrofit vs. relighting
    • Examples of relighting (replacing fixtures)
    • Software tools (including Excel template)
    • Savings & cost calculations w/exercises

3:30 Workshop Preparation: Team planning for lighting audit

4:00 Workshop: Lighting audit for selected areas of Lowell Hall

5:00 Adjourn until evening group audit of exterior lighting

7:00 Time Approximate: Evening group audit of exterior lighting



8:00 Using the Excel ECM template and reporting results

8:30 Report Preparation: Development of lighting audit group reports

  • Report of selected lighting ECMs
  • Estimated costs & savings, LPD before/after, simple payback (SPB)
  • Exterior lighting ECM selection

9:45 Reports: Group Presentations

10:15 Discussion of Results

  • Value of planning before execution
  • Ways to reach decision-makers

10:45 HVAC Systems

  • Types of systems
  • Typical equipment and components
  • Energy efficiency opportunities in existing buildings
  • Energy audit techniques

12:00 Lunch

1:00 HVAC Fans, pumps, and adjustable drives

  • Affinity laws
  • Understanding fan and pump curves
  • Adjustable speed drives 

1:45 HVAC Heating systems

  • Types of boilers
  • Water and steam distribution
  • Existing boiler evaluation
  • Efficiency opportunities

3:00 Audit Instruments

  • Discussion of typical instruments used in most audits

3:30 System Fieldwork: Air Handling/Heating Systems

4:30 Group Workshop: Air handling/heating ECMs

5:00 Daily Adjournment



8:00 Report preparation

9:00 HVAC Cooling systems

  • Chillers
  • Cooling towers
  • Rooftop and packaged equipment
  • Distribution, motors, fans, and pumps
  • CFC issues

11:00 HVAC Control systems

  • Evaluating system performance
  • Adjusting control sequences

12:00 Lunch

1:00 Energy Conservation Opportunities: Heating and Cooling

  • Energy load estimating
  • Adjustable speed drive calculations

2:00 System Fieldwork: Cooling systems

3:30 Preparation Workshop: Cooling ECMs

5:00 Daily Adjournment


8:00 Report preparation

9:00 Executive summary team reports

9:45 Lowell Hall audit report/case studies

10:45 Energy Benchmarking (Energy Star, ASHRAE)

12:00 Final Adjournment


"Lots of good information presented in easy-to-understand language."


Joy Altwies

Joy Altwies, PhD, PE, LEED AP+, is a Program Director for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Office of Engineering Professional Development (EPD). For over 16 years, Dr. Altwies has developed and taught continuing education courses emphasizing high-performance building design and construction, mechanical system design and operation, energy efficiency, and commissioning. She is also Program Director of the Master of Sustainable Systems Engineering (SSE) degree program and an instructor of two graduate courses in the program.

Prior to joining the University of Wisconsin, Joy worked as a consulting engineer focusing on energy efficiency and environmentally responsible building design and construction. She provided commissioning services for a variety of projects with a strong emphasis on green and sustainable building principles. She also provided LEED assistance and green design opportunity analysis for clients seeking these specialized services in the commercial building market. As a certified home energy rater for the national Energy Star Homes® program, her work also encompassed the residential building market.

Dr. Altwies is an active member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), where she currently serves as Vice Chair and Research Chair for the Building Environmental Impacts and Sustainability technical committee (TC 2.8). She has also served on committees for the U.S. Green Building Council and is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Wisconsin Green Building Alliance.

Joy earned a Doctorate in Environment and Resources through the Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at UW-Madison. Her interdisciplinary research investigated the impact of building energy code policies on technology adoption in the commercial and residential building sectors. She also holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Mechanical Engineering.

John Fetters

John Fetters, C.E.M., C.L.E.P., is a lighting consultant and president of Effective Lighting Solutions, Inc. Columbus, OH. Mr. Fetters is a senior member of the Association of Energy Engineers and chairs AEE’s Certified Lighting Efficiency Board. He is a member of the Illuminating Engineering Society (IESNA), for which he serves on the IES VELSD Committee and is an advisory member of the Industrial Lighting Committee. He has lectured and is widely published in the lighting field. He was inducted into the AEE Hall of Fame in 1998.

Keith Kempski

Recently retired as Emerson Business Development Manager, he was responsible for increasing the knowledge and application of variable speed drives in the commercial building sector and providing advice and training to the Emerson sales and service staff. His additional responsibilities included development of proposals to customers for new products and energy conservation opportunities in operation of HVAC equipment.

Keith’s prior experience includes serving as global HVAC application engineer for Danfoss Drives, providing engineering expertise and analysis of commercial building applications for variable speed drives to Danfoss branch offices. He was responsible for support to Western Europe, South America and the Asia Pacific regions. Additional responsibilities were the development and training of energy audits, feasibility studies and performance contracting techniques for the branch offices. He developed energy savings software to identify drive and control opportunities in commercial buildings.

He has also developed and taught professional development courses at UW – Madison, specializing in Energy Management, Energy Auditing and Air-Conditioning Design. He was also responsible for developing and implementing energy management programs at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory.

Svein Morner

Svein Morner is a founding principal of Sustainable Engineering Group, LLC which has now merged with HGA. He has over 20 years’ experience in commissioning, retro-commissioning, energy efficiency engineering and research. Dr. Morner has served as a Commissioning Authority for commercial, school, institutional, and governmental buildings. He has also developed quality procedures, policies and strategies for new construction to achieve energy-efficient and environmentally friendly buildings. Dr. Morner has conducted extensive solar and energy storage research and lead the team that created the ASHRAE Design Guide for DOAS. He was also on the team that created the ASHRAE Laboratory Design Guide.

Dr. Morner received his Mechanical Engineering degrees from Norwegian University of Science and Technology and completed a two-year post doctorate at the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Morner is an active member of TC2.8 Building Environmental Impacts and Sustainability, TC6.7 Solar and Other Renewable Energies, and TC7.9 Commissioning

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