What is an energy audit?

You conduct an energy audit when you want to find out what your consumption is. An energy audit can be done on many different types of things your residential building consumes – water, HVAC, electricity, etc. For Calgary Lighting, when we refer to an energy audit we are talking about electricity, specifically electricity in relation to lights and lighting solutions.

As the audit takes a look at what your consumption is, it outlines things you may not have even thought to include. For example, with a lighting energy audit, in addition to calculating the amount your lighting is costing you power-wise, we also look at associated costs. A great example of this is bulb replacement. With bulb replacement, you do not just have the cost of the physical bulb; you also have to include the man hours needed as well the cost of any equipment (ex. a lift) that has to be rented to change the bulb.

In addition to outlining what your current lighting solution is costing you, the energy audit also lays out the costs and benefits of different solutions and the next steps that you can take with your building’s lights. For example, should you change your Chubbys to LEDs? Your T12s to T8s? An energy audit helps you feel comfortable with your decisions as they will be backed up by data, which in turn makes your building’s condo board happy.

Why should I get an energy audit done?

Instead of just doing a full building lighting retrofit for the sake of doing one, an energy audit helps you make the best decision and get the best return on your investment.

For example, though this isn’t in the lighting realm, a building we work with was looking to change their furnace. They did an energy audit, and found out that while the High Efficiency Furnace saved them on heating costs in the long run, it needed a lot more maintenance than a regular Efficient Furnace. In fact, the maintenance cost so much that there was no discernable savings in getting a High Efficiency machine, and the building installed a regular Efficient Machine. These types of data-backed decisions are why you get an energy audit done.

Another reason to get an energy audit done is if you are interested in upgrading your building’s lights. LEDs are the new ‘sexy’ technology on the block, but you have to be sure it is worth the investment.

Finally, a good reason to get an energy audit done is if you are looking for a way to cut costs. Though it is a long term plan, calculating what your cost savings could be by changing to a newer bulb technology is a good way to begin figuring out what you can do to cut costs.

When is the best time to get an energy audit?

The best time to get an audit is right now. If you haven’t done one yet, it is a forward thinking and easy task to complete. Some Property Managers and condo boards will wait until energy prices go up, for the introduction of a new tax (such as the carbon tax in Alberta), or for changes in bulb cost. If you are a Property Manager, audits can be used to bring added value to your buildings and get out in front of the crowd. At Calgary Lighting, we are able to do the audit and complete work year round. With regards to exterior lighting in Calgary, it is important to note that we have a slim window for when we can do outside work. In order to make sure that work is completed in this window, you want to make sure that your audit is done in advance of it.

Where can I get an energy audit? W

This is a service we offer at Calgary Lighting. Our team will come and assess your building (ex. how many lights you have, the amount of power they draw, different labour costs associated with lighting etc.) and let you know what your ‘Energy Score’ is. We also include a series of next steps or options for you, which outline how you can improve this score. Once an audit is completed, and a condo building is interested in doing an LED Retrofit, we are able to move very quickly through the process and work closely with the condo board to ensure both comfort and that the savings will start as quickly as possible.