Energy Audits / Inspections

We provide building energy inspections with the goal of reducing the building energy consumption and building operating cost. The building envelope heat loss is analyzed and the efficiency of the existing mechanical and electrical systems is considered.  We use the latest energy modeling software.  All the data is analyzed in the comprehensive spreadsheets. We can determine the energy upgrades that make sense for the building and we can show the payback for each of those energy upgrade items. Based on our recommendations, the building owner/project manager can decide which energy upgrades shall be implemented. Energy Upgrades That Make Sense Every building is different and unique, however, there are upgrades that are readily available for most energy upgrade projects: -Increase building insulation in roof/attic, and walls.  Did you know that in most buildings, the wall area is 4 times bigger that the roof area? Therefore, increasing the wall insulation is very important.  Also, most buildings are designed by default to contain many thermal bridges, which cause immense heat loss.  Install air gaps in walls and consider integrating a continuous layer of insulation such as ridged foam board. -Tighten up the building envelope to reduce the infiltration heat loss. The blower door test will tell you how much negative pressure the building can hold.  The higher this number the tighter the building is constructed. -Use Low E windows. In Alaska, you want as many windows on the south side, very few on the north side of the building.  Low E windows permit solar heat to enter a house, but block indoor radiant heat from escaping.  Low E coatings placed on the inside of the window pane can reduce the radiant heat loss by 50%.  Multiple panes and a space between the panes filled with argon or krypton gas can also reduce the heat loss. -Sliding windows close less tightly than fixed windows.  Metal-frame windows conduct more heat than fiber-glass or vinyl windows.  Much of the window heat loss can be reduced by setting back the window in the wall.  Thicker walls allow setting back the window.  This will reduce the effect of cold air blowing directly over the exterior window pane.  Further, the energy loss at night can be reduced by installing exterior insulated window shades.  Window shades installed on the inside can cause icing issues. -The windows should have a label issued by the National Fenestration Rating Council (FFRC).  A U-factor (overall thermal performance) of 0.25 or less are desirable. The solar heat gain coefficient (heat transmission from sunlight) should be greater than 0.6.  The energy star label is also useful, but having this label does not always mean that the window performs well in our cold climate zone. -Install a high efficiency heating system.  Condensing gas boilers with radiant floor systems can be up to 95% efficient.  Condensing oil boilers can be up to 91% efficient. Use an indirect fired hot water tank to make domestic hot water.  Utilize solar thermal collector preheating of domestic water. -Reduce pump energy: Consider variable frequency drive pumps (VFD) -Modulate hydronic heating supply temperature based on the outdoor temperature and allow for night set back; Modulate boiler output to match heating demand and to run the boiler at best efficiency. -Install heat recovery systems to use the heat in the building exhaust air streams to preheat the incoming cold air. Upgrade ventilation system to only provide what is really required.  Many ventilation systems are oversized or are constant flow system.  Installing variable flow boxes will allow the system to modulate the air flow based on the actual demand, which will save fan power. Clean/replace filters frequently. -Replace all incandescent lighting with fluorescent or LED lighting. Replace outdated T12 commercial fluorescent light fixtures with magnetic ballasts with new T4 and T8 fixtures with electronic ballasts.