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This article was originally published in the May/June 1994 issue of Home Energy Magazine. Some formatting inconsistencies may be evident in older archive content.

 

 

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Home Energy Magazine Online May/June 1994


SOFTWARE
The Wisconsin Audit System

The State of Wisconsin Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) uses the WECC Energy Audit System, designed and developed by Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation for utility and government funded residential energy conservation programs. Like other computerized audit software programs, the WECC Audit helps auditors select a site-specific, cost-effective package of weatherization measures for each building. However, there is more to the WECC audit than the results of a computer run. It includes diagnostic and installation procedures for blower-door-guided air sealing, duct leakage and pressure balancing, and heating system measures.

The audit is integral to the state's entire weatherization program. For the last five years, auditors in Wisconsin have used the system to confirm their beliefs about what measures to install, to assess complicated competing measures (such as heating-system retrofits and replacements), and to judge measures that are on the border of cost-effectiveness. They use it to automatically generate a detailed work order and to weather-normalize fuel consumption records. Its companion database tracks building, client, estimated, and actual cost, and work-performed data. Wisconsin is preparing to use the database to evaluate the 1993 program.

Flexible and easily adapted to different programs, the system can be as simple or detailed as the user needs. It is user-friendly, completely menu-driven, and accurate.

The Audit System has increased the efficiency of Wisconsin's program. Its process has forced auditors to be more cognizant of the entire building structure and of how the building and mechanical systems operate. Along with increased training for auditors and installers, WECC has led to increased energy savings, compared to the previous priority list, resulting in better service and larger benefits for low-income people.

Features:

 

  • The audit is officially approved by DOE for the 60/40 waiver. It addresses one-to-four unit buildings and can be adapted for use on mobile homes.

  • The audit system evaluates shell, infiltration, heating system retrofit and replacement, domestic water heating, occupant behavior, and education measures.

  • Along with a comprehensive user manual for customizing and using the audit system, there are instructions for testing the heating system and diagnosing any distribution system problems. Infiltration and air sealing work is guided by a stand-alone, cost-effective, blower-door-guided air sealing procedure.

  • The field-data collection form looks like the data-entry screens. There's no need to memorize or look up any codes. Data entry is made easy with pick-lists and range-checking.

  • The audit system's companion fuel record analysis program weather-normalizes fuel consumption data. It calculates total annual consumption, heating or cooling consumption, baseload consumption, and the reference temperature. You can also use the program to evaluate pre/post weatherization energy savings.

  • Because the audit system uses an energy use model based on actual fuel consumption records (or a default value), you collect field data only for the building components needing energy conservation measures. You don't need to do a complete building heat-loss calculation.

  • The audit system automatically estimates labor and material cost for major measures, general heat waste, and repairs based on field data entered. No hand calculations are necessary to calculate a whole house savings-to-investment ratio (SIR).

  • The audit boasts a sophisticated work order generation system. WECC's philosophy is that as long as you're entering field data for calculating costs and savings for a SIR, why not use the data to create a computerized work order. The work order uses agency specific material, homes, prices and installation rates. Each measure can be pre-programmed so that work order editing is minimized.

  • Printed separately from all of the technical results, the work order is designed for the crew/contractor and inventory person. The work order specifies materials to use, measures to do, and time estimates per measure. It also provides material amounts by material unit (for instance rolls of fiberglass rather than square feet of fiberglass). The auditor can enter detailed work descriptions, specify contractors, and change costs.

     

WECC is currently reprogramming the Lotus-based audit system (Version 3.0) into C for the state of Wisconsin. The new version will be ready in July 1994. Version 4.0 will be available to DOE-funded weatherization programs at reproduction cost. Customization, training, and support are also available.

-- Linda O'Leary

Linda O'Leary is with Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation in Madison.

 

 

Related Articles

Advancing the Art of PRISM Analysis (Fels, Kissock, Marean, Reynolds)
¿Como Se Dice 'Retrofitter'? (Griffin)
Computerized Energy Audits (Penn)
Confessions of an 'Addicted' Auditor (Padian)
Measuring the Performance of the National Energy Audit (Sharp)
The National Energy Audit (Harner)
New York's 'Targeted Investment Protocol System' (Gerardi and Sweeney)
Selecting an Infrared Imaging System (Snell)
Training Guide for 'Total Comfort' Professionals
Using Fuel Bills for a Targeted Investment (Padian)

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