An energy audit is a report identifying specific opportunities for savings, enabling decisionmakers to weigh costs against benefits, and prioritize investments. The owner of each non-residential building larger than 10,000 square feet must obtain a comprehensive energy efficiency audit of the entire building from a qualified energy auditor at least once every five years - or develop a plan for reducing carbon emissions over time. The energy professional is responsible for submitting a detailed report to the building’s decision makers -- an actionable proposal to cost-effectively improve energy efficiency. The priority should be to obtain specific recommendations that empower action to save both energy and money.

Analysis by the Urban Land Institute GreenPrint Center found commercial buildings subject to San Francisco’s energy benchmarking and audit requirements:

  • Decreased energy use 7.9% and greenhouse gas emissions by 17% in the first 5 years of compliance 

  • Identified $60.6 million in opportunities for cost-effective energy efficiency investments, with a net present value of $170 million. If implemented, these projects would cut annual electricity consumption by 150 GWh and save 1 .4 million therms of natural gas per year, with a portfolio-wide payback of three years.

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