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Common Questions

1. How does the Energy Profile Tool work?
2. What do I get when I complete my energy profile?
3. I do not have much building knowledge. Can I still use this tool and will the results be meaningful?
4. How accurate is the tool?
5. Does this tool take the place of an on-site audit?
6. What are the system requirements for this tool?
7. If I don't have time to complete my energy profile in one sitting can I go back and complete it later?
8. I have questions about the specific questions asked in the Energy Profiile Tool. Where can I get help?
9. My building type is not one of those listed. Can I use this tool?
10. Why isn't my city listed under weather pattern?
11. Why do I need my billing data?
12. What if I have multiple meters?
13. The heating and ventilation system for my building is not listed or I can't determine it. What should I do?
14. How does the tool compare my facility to the industry average (benchmarking)?
15. What does the assessment mean by an "energy efficient" facility?
16. The industry average and efficient building comparisons seem too high or too low compared to my building. What could cause this?
17. When the tool recommends an energy savings measure, how does it calculate the potential savings?


1. How does the Energy Profile Tool work?

The Energy Profile Tool accesses an energy-modeling program. The tool requires a few details about your facility; type, size, energy use/cost, construction and some specifics around equipment: heating, air conditioning, lighting and domestic hot water. With this information the energy model can determine where your energy is being used (heating, air- conditioning, lighting, etc.) and how much each end use is costing you.

2. What do I get when I complete the Energy Profile Tool?

Through this interactive tool you will get:

  • A breakdown of your facility's annual energy use
  • Comparison of energy use against other facilities
  • Low and no cost measures for immediate savings
3. I do not have much building knowledge. Can I still use this tool and will the results be meaningful?

Yes, you do not need to have a background in engineering for this tool to be of value to you. If there is a question you do not know how to answer, simply select the "I don't know" option from the drop down menu. This will populate the model with values typically found in your type of facility. The results may not reflect the exact energy breakdown for your facility, but will provide a good estimation and valuable suggestions for lowering your energy usage and costs.

4. How accurate is the tool?

The energy-modeling program has proven to be very accurate in determining where energy in your facility is being used; however, the accuracy is completely dependant on the information provided. The more precise the information provided, the more accurate the tool will be.

5. Does this tool take the place of an on-site audit?

No, the Energy Profile Tool is not meant to be a replacement for an on-site energy audit. An energy professional performing a detailed site audit may find many energy savings opportunities not uncovered in this tool. The online assessment is meant to provide the customer with a quick method of determining if further work is warranted.

6. What are the system requirements for this tool?

For the Energy Profile Tool to work properly, we recommend that your computer have:

  • Internet Explorer 5.0 and higher, Netscape 4.7 and higher, or an equivalent browser
  • JavaScript enabled
  • Pop-up windows enabled (for online help)
7. If I don't have time to complete the Energy Profile Tool in one sitting can I go back and complete it later?

Yes. Your answers are automatically saved as you complete each page of questions and press the next button at the bottom of the screen. The next time you return, simply select the unfinished assessment from the My Facilities list.

8. I have questions about the specific questions asked in the online energy assessment. Where can I get help?

All questions are underlined indicating that you can click on them to obtain more information and an explanation of what is being asked. Your computer will need to have pop-up windows enabled.

9. My building type is not one of those listed. Can I use this tool?

Yes, if you would consider your building type close to one of those available. This tool was designed to model most of the common building types. By choosing the type most similar to yours, you will get results that may not be as accurate but still point out the most energy intensive end uses and suggestions on how to correct them. If you contact us with the type of building review you would like, we will see how we can help.

Note: Industrial, manufacturing, hospitals and other heavy energy users can not be modeled well using this tool as the potential energy uses within these facilities vary significantly.

10. Why isn't my city listed under weather pattern?

It is beyond the scope of the modeling tool to track weather data for every city. The cities chosen were deemed to be representative of the weather patterns for the geographic region where your facility is located. For regions with great diversity in climates, more than one city was designated. Choosing a city with similar average seasonal temperatures is important to the accuracy of the tool. If the default city for your region does not fit this requirement then select a more suitable city from the available list (Question 1, Facility Information page).

11. Why do I need my billing data?

Billing data is used to calculate the energy use patterns of your facility. Your billing data is used to calibrate an energy model of your facility that corresponds to how your facility operates over a typical year. The help on the billing data input pages addresses some of the billing data complexities that may cause some confusion.

12. What if I have multiple meters?

If you have more than one meter you can still complete an energy assessment. You will need to add your bills together before entering your billing data. If your bills have different billing cycles, it may be easiest to enter annual totals. You will still receive representative results.

13. The heating and ventilation system for my building is not listed or I can't determine it. What should I do?

The heating and cooling types listed have been narrowed to the most prominent types for your type of building. The descriptions have been left generic to describe the basic components of the HVAC system. By matching these components to the ones making up your buildings heating system you should be able make the appropriate choice. If you still cannot decide, consult with the person who provides for your building's maintenance.

14. How does the tool compare my facility to the industry average (benchmarking)?

For USA cities, the industry average facility used in this comparison is a regional industry average derived from Energy Information Administration (EIA) data. Most of the EIA's information about commercial buildings and its energy use comes from the Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS). The CBECS is a national sample survey that collects energy- related building characteristics data and energy consumption and expenditures data for commercial buildings in the United States.

15. What does the assessment mean by an "energy efficient" facility?

The energy efficient facility used in this comparison includes energy savings technologies that are typically found to be cost effective in new and significantly renovated buildings.

16. The industry average and efficient building comparisons seem too high or too low compared to my building. What could cause this?

One of the biggest determinants for energy usage is the operating hours of the building. The online assessment uses average operating hours expected for each type of facility. If your building operates substantially more or less than the average, your comparison to industry average and efficient buildings may not be where you expected.

17. When the tool recommends an energy savings measure, how does it calculate the potential savings?

The Energy Profile Tool has a database of energy efficient strategies. The tool individually models your building with each of these measures and displays the results if annual energy cost savings are positive. The measures shown often have a reasonable payback for your building type.

Note: The payback for implementing a particular savings measure is not provided. The cost of implementing savings recommendations will vary greatly from building to building as they depend on the exact cost of equipment chosen, installation, labor, etc. The savings recommendation numbers should be used as a starting point when deciding what types of energy savings measures you should implement.


 


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