Building energy efficiency is improving, and building owners and managers are seeing a difference in the retrofit process. However, the results can be inaccurate and inconsistent, especially when compared across an entire portfolio.
So what can be improved? The tools.
A new effort by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is looking to create tablet-based software that can build energy models as auditors go through a building. The concept of "remote" energy audits has taken hold as a new way to provide energy consumption information without the cost of a walk-through audit.
The reports could include geographical information, utility data, and basic building characteristics to evaluate the energy efficiency of a building and make recommendations without ever setting foot inside.
The problem with a tool like this is that remote energy modeling collects just a few pieces of information, that wouldn't come close to a comprehensive audit.
But there is a middle ground: using mobile devices and powerful software to create complex energy models during the auditing process.
Read more about what NREL is developing.