Written by: Daniel Baker
Here at Gemini Energy Solutions, we like to say that an energy audit is an assessment of energy use and human behavior. How often are your lights on at the office? When does your HVAC system operate during the hours your business is open compared to when your business is closed? What would it mean to electrify your building?
In short; an energy audit is the first step toward improving energy efficiency, which is the cheapest and quickest way to reduce GHG emissions from the commercial building sector.
Rapid Deployment of Energy Audits Sorely Needed
The United States has more than 5,000,000 small commercial buildings. Those buildings account for half of the total energy use by the commercial building sector. According to data from the Department Of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency, that's:
Policymakers should prioritize energy efficiency. On average, 30% of the energy used in commercial buildings is wasted, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Energy efficiency eliminates that waste. The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy estimates that energy efficiency upgrades could halve energy use and GHG emissions by 2050.
Energy Audit Sector Problems, Gemini Energy Solutions...Solutions
To conduct an energy audit, typically you have to find a highly specialized -- and expensive -- energy auditor. An energy auditor must obtain an advanced degree or many years of hands-on experience, to become certified. Thanks to the innovative Gemini platform, in a matter of weeks, we can train entry-level workers to collect data from small commercial buildings (25,000 square feet or smaller).
Gemini fills a glaring gap in the energy efficiency space that a recent UC Davis Study, Market Opportunities for Entry Level Energy Auditors, detailed. To summarize, it’s too expensive to conduct energy audits for small-to-medium-sized buildings (not the case for larger buildings). Even in the wake of advancements in “no-touch” audit platforms, the report concludes, “it is widely accepted that there continues to be a need for auditors on-site to gather technology-specific data in order to produce high quality reports with specific recommendations.”
Gemini’s team visits buildings to retrieve the critical information needed for a robust energy audit. The automation of the Gemini platform ensures consistent, accurate results -- yet another shortcoming of the current energy audit sector, the 10 most common problems detailed in this ASHRAE Journal article.
For many outcomes, roughly 80% of consequences come from 20% of causes. In the energy efficiency world, that means that 20% of the work generates 80% of the savings. Gemini works smarter, not harder, to identify which energy efficiency measures to implement.
Essentially, we focus on conservation and efficiency. Conservation measures involve reducing the runtime of an appliance, equipment, or lights. Efficiency measures involve reducing the power required for the appliance, equipment, or lights to perform the task.
Affordable & Actionable
As far as cost is concerned, traditional commercial building energy audits set you back by thousands of dollars. Gemini’s investment-grade energy audit costs anywhere between $350~$2,000 per building, depending on its size -- a fraction of the standard market rate!
Cheaper doesn’t mean a lower quality audit. Quite the contrary. Gemini conducts an energy audit that exceeds ASHRAE Level II requirements. Actually, it’s more thorough and three times more accurate. Best of all, once we deliver the savings analysis, you can take it to the bank...literally. But don’t stress about the financing -- that’s just another problem Gemini solves for you (and we’ll have more details about inclusive financing in an upcoming blog post).
Our energy audit determines the conservation or efficiency measures available based on what your space currently has and what reasonable replacements are available in the market. Recommendations are based on the savings potential of the building itself, not your credit score, your income, or your revenue. That being said, we’ll be with you every step of the way, connecting you with reputable local, minority-owned contractors who can install the necessary upgrades to your space. Bottom line: we pride ourselves on trustworthiness, integrity, and of course, our technology.
Whole Systems Approach
Gemini views energy efficiency through the Whole Systems Thinking lens, says Kinslow II, Gemini’s CEO & founder. “Building energy systems are interconnected. Improving one aspect impacts another. I call it cascading energy savings.” Gemini energy audits consider all potential upgrades to find the most efficient, and most affordable solution.
Example of Whole Systems Thinking:
Superior Energy Audits by Gemini
The Gemini model saves businesses time, money, and a whole lot of stress. To reach our climate goals -- and stave off the worst effects of climate change -- we need to deploy energy audits at a rapid pace. The sector’s current rate is about 1,000 audits/month. With millions of buildings and 2035 fast approaching, we need to conduct ~30,000 audits/month.
No other company can deliver energy efficiency at the scale and pace required if we want to stave off the worst effects of climate change.