Commercial Energy Audits

March 25th, 2023


A commercial energy audit uncovers operational and equipment improvements that will save energy, reduce energy costs, and lead to improved operational resilience. A commercial energy audit is the first step toward building decarbonization and a sustainable energy future, which benefits the environment, building occupants, and an organization’s bottom line.

What Is a Commercial Energy Audit?

Simply put, a commercial energy audit (also referred to as an “energy assessment”) identifies where, when, why, and how energy is used in a facility and how it might be used more efficiently. Data that an audit typically gathers include:

  • Building location, size, and usage type
  • Building energy sources
  • Historical energy data and energy use patterns
  • Energy systems data
  • Types of equipment
  • Lighting and HVAC

A commercial energy audit combines an engineering analysis of energy-using systems with an economic and environmental analysis of the expected impact that upgrading or replacing those systems would have.

Levels of Commercial Energy Audits

Audits can be done with different degrees of depth. ASHRAE, a global organization supporting a sustainable built environment, defines three audit levels. Each level begins with a Preliminary Energy Analysis (PEA), also known as benchmarking, which compares a building’s energy performance against similar buildings. Metrus uses resources such as Energy Star and the Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) for benchmarking purposes. A key data point used in benchmarking is Energy Use Intensity (EUI), which represents the building’s total energy use per square foot per year. Another key data point used in benchmarking is Energy Cost Index (ECI), which represents the building’s total energy cost per square foot per year.

Level 1 Energy Audit

A Level 1 energy audit, which can be done remotely or as a “walk-through,” identifies general opportunities to save energy through energy efficiency measures (EEMs, also called energy conservation measures, or ECMs) and their qualitative cost and savings potential.

Because Metrus uses the savings that an equipment upgrade will generate to fund a customer’s project, its free remote energy audit provides a valuable initial assessment of a project’s scope and viability. Through its Energy as a Service model (EaaS), Metrus Energy enables customers to implement EEMs with no CapEx impact.

Level 2/Preliminary Energy Audit

A Level 2 or Preliminary Energy Audit (PEA) expands on the Level 1 audit to include a complete site inspection and detailed building survey, as well the expected implementation costs, savings, and economics (simple payback or simple ROI) of the recommended EEMs. A Level 2 audit will provide a quantitative estimate of the expected costs, savings, utility rebates, and economics. Energy savings is also converted to the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to estimate the greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction.

Level 3/Investment Grade Energy Audit (IGA)

A Level 3 or Investment Grade Audit (IGA) provides greater precision around the costs, savings, and feasibility of a project by expanding the energy analysis to include more fine-tuned measurement or modeling. The level of audit often grows out of a Level 2 audit and incorporates vendor bids or cost estimates.

What does a commercial energy audit cost?

The cost of an energy audit depends on several factors, including audit level and facility type and size. Metrus Energy offers a free remote energy audit that identifies the EEMs that will have the biggest impact on a customer’s energy costs and sustainability goals and includes a preliminary project scope and financial analysis. Our free remote energy audit serves as a no-obligation bridge to a more comprehensive evaluation and discussion of project feasibility, size, and scope.

Benefits of a commercial energy audit

Energy audits are an essential tool for developing a plan for reducing energy costs, improving sustainability, and ensuring operational resilience. A commercial energy audit is the first step in a building retrofit, which can:

  • Lower your operating costs by 5-30% (according to
  • Ensure your equipment is performing optimally
  • Improve the comfort and safety of building occupants
  • Increase the market value of your building
  • Reduce your carbon footprint and fight climate change

Contact Metrus today to learn how our free remote energy audit can get you started on the path to decarbonization and the many environmental, operational, and economic benefits that it leads to.