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Energy Auditors - Star Rating Criteria

We have researched the current Australian market via the internet and have found a large selection of companies that offer Energy Audits to home owners and businesses. To easily compare these companies we have developed a star rating system comprising a collection of important attributes or criteria, that reflect a company's capability & technical ability to deliver the best energy auditor to the public. The general criteria table A below is divided into 5 main categories;

1. Table A - General Criteria

 Category  Group Type  Example company types Reasons for our Classification

Possible areas of 'Conflict of Interest' that may affect Energy Audit outcomes

A Independent/unbiased engineers Consultants:- ie, Engineering, Energy, Energy Broker, Energy Efficiency Engineers, Carbon Managers
  • Independence declared publicly on website.
  • No ties to partner energy-saving product suppliers found.
  • Highly qualified & experienced auditors
  • No conflict of interest.
  • A clear commitment that the client's best interests come first.
B Engineers Consultants:- ie. Engineering, Energy, Energy Broker, Energy Efficiency Engineers, Carbon Managers
  • Independence not declared on company website.
  • No ties to partner energy-saving product suppliers found.
  • A conflict of interest could be present as independence is not publicly declared.
  • Some consultants who also offer to manage energy saving projects - could be tempted to reveal an unnecessary large number energy saving projects with favourable payback, in the hope to maximise the management component of their fees.
C Biased auditors Consultants:- ie. Engineering, Energy, Energy Broker, Energy Efficiency Engineers, Carbon Managers
  • Partner energy-saving supplier(s)declared on website.
  • Commissions & favours may be received from suppliers if their product is recommended by the energy auditor. A product may then be unnecessarily recommended to the client.
  • Could exaggerate project financial viability & might overstate energy saving benefits.
D Energy efficiency retrofitters. Implementors:- ie. Mechanical contractors, Electrical contractors, Project managers.
  • Energy saving project implementers
  • A inherent need to identify lots energy saving projects to maximise company profits.
  • Commissions & favours may be received from various suppliers if their product is recommended by the energy auditor. The best product for the client may not be put forward.
  • Could exaggerate project financial viability & might overstate energy saving benefits.
E Suppliers of energy-saving products. Product Suppliers:- ie. Solar systems, LED Lighting, power-factor correction, optimisers, powerboards etc.
  • Cannot be independent
  • An inherent need to sell lots of energy saving products to maximise company profits.
  • Could exaggerate project financial viability & might overstate energy saving benefits.

 

2. Table B - Detailed Star Rating Criteria

Below are detailed attributes/criteria used in our process of allocating star ratings for energy auditor companies:-

 

Company Category

BASE

Stars 

 EXTRA Stars 

Star Rating range

Product Partner(1)

Project

Manage(2) 

Unbiased(3)

AS 3598(4)

Engineer(5)

Exp

Engineer(6)

Practitioner(7)

Engineer

Name(8)

Linkedin(9)

Electrician(10)

Monitor(11)

1.

Product Suppliers

0.5 N/A N/A N/A 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.5 to 2 Stars

2.

Implementors

1.0 N/A N/A N/A 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.3 0.2 0.2 1 to 2.5 Stars

3.

Consultants

3.0 -0.5 -0.2 0.5* 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.3 0.2 0.2 2.3 to 5 Stars

TABLE B - Footnotes

  • Refer below Table C for definitions of all columns. (1) denotes attribute no: 1 as defined in Table C.
  • Example 1, a consultant who has product partners, delivers audits to AS3598, has acceptable mechanical engineers who have linkedin presence -> scores: BASE stars 3 + EXTRA stars (-0.5+0.1+0.2+0.3) = 3.1 stars total.
  • Example 2, a product supplier sells solar electricity systems, delivers audits to AS3598, by electricians who connect power logging equipment -> scores: BASE stars 0.5 + EXTRA stars (0.1+0.2+0.2) = 1.0 stars total.
  • * 0.5 'Unbiased Stars will not be allocated to consultants if 'Product partner' is also present.

 

3. Table C - Definitions

Below are definitions of terms & attributes outlined in Table B:-

 No:

Attribute

 Detailed explanation of each attribute
  Product Supplier A company that manufacturers &/or imports energy saving products. Also organises installation.
  Project Implementor A turnkey company that implements the complete installation of energy saving solutions. It surveys, designs, sources, purchases & installs a variety of energy saving products for a client. By default has product partners.
  Consultant A consulting firm that provides professional advice from qualified personnel. Its core business function is to provide an advisory role to its clients.
  BASE Stars Fixed number of BASE rating stars assigned. For example product suppliers are assigned the least amount of base stars because of their expected high level of bias present during an energy audit, with the need to sell energy saving products. Once BASE stars are established EXTRA stars are then added to obtain an overall star rating.
1. Product Partner A company has partnered with energy saving product supplier(s). A company's relationship with a partner is usually a commitment to use and/or refer on third party products. As a negative attribute, if Consultants hold this characteristic, 0.5 stars are deducted accordingly.
2. Project Manage A company that offers a service to project manage the implementation of energy saving projects. This usually includes scoping, tendering, supervision of contractors, checking that projects are correctly installed. Note, installation contractors are normally engaged separately by the client. As a negative attribute, if Consultants hold this characteristic, 0.2 stars are deducted accordingly.
3. Unbiased A company has declared that energy audit advice provided will be independent & unbiased.
4. AS 3598 A company has declared that it will perform & has the technical abilty to conduct energy audits strictly in accordance with Australian Standard AS 3598 Energy Audits.
5. Engineer A company has declared that that Engineers are employed by the company to conduct energy audits. Taken to mean a person who has obtained a qualification in engineering.
6. Exp Engineer A company has declared that a qualified mechanical or electrical Engineer experienced in building engineering services, will conduct the building energy audit inspection on site and will be the responsible author of the energy audit report. The use of junior inexperienced staff can impair quality energy audit reports. 
7. Practitioner A company has declared that energy audits are undertaken by a recognised Practitioner with relevant 'industry' experience & knowledge. Either a registered Building Practitioner Elec/Mech (for Vic/Qld) or AIRAH accredited energy auditor.
8. Engineer name A company has declared specific engineer's name(s) (to satisfy item 9 above) 
9. Linked in Engineers stated in item 11 above are listed on 'LinkedIn' making available qualifications & experience for public viewing. We assess credentials to predict the auditor's capacity to deliver high quality energy audits. If found adequate this attribute results in a green tick.
10. Electrician For energy audits that involve measurement of power consumption & monitoring, the company has declared that an Australian licensed A-grade electrician will open up & install monitoring equipment within live electrical switchboards. Using an A-grade electrician is a legal & safety requirement.
11. Monitor A company declares to use specialised portable power monitoring & logging equipment to measure the consumption of important individual switchboard circuits or specific equipment, to collect data that supports all energy audit report findings.

TABLE C - Footnotes

  • 'declared' means a statement made on a company website becomes a public declaration. The company is expected to be accountable to their clients to honour their website declarations.
  • We will regularly review the above star rating criteria to ensure it reflects a fair methodology to classify energy auditors. We reserve the right to modify rating criteria & reclassify energy auditing companies as required & without prior notice.

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