Ahhh, traditions… Just like the other classes, I have written about, we are combining the last two days together which generally includes a final written test. So when is 150 questions, not really a 150 questions – well, that is when you take the CEA test. However, before we get to the final test, let’s take a look at day three. If day 2 was primarily focused on Heating & Cooling, day 3 was primarily all about water.
While many may wonder why water is a concern for an “Energy Audit”, let me state one reason not in the book or mentioned – do you realize how much electricity is used to simply produce & treat the water, not including the wastewater? All that electricity adds to the cost of the water & for a commercial building, that cost can add up quickly. For residential solutions you can use now, you might wish to check out this article. Today’s picture is of the William J. Stamford Hall which is just up the street from the hotel & right next to the library.
Hot Water Systems; we covered almost all the different types available including the standard storage tank water heater, to boilers, to “instantaneous” water heaters. We also covered hot water circulating systems, and even took a look at where a heat-pump heater actually does make sense. Amazingly, nothing was in the book on using solar water or capturing waste heat from chillers or AC Units for preheating the water. While we did not cover Solar Water in the class proper, we did have a few discussions on the capturing of waste heat from chillers, exhausts, etc…
Building Envelope; while they did not cover how water will infiltrate the building envelope or many other items, it does cover most of the basics. They cover the R & U values, windows, types of heat gain / loss, ways of reducing it, HDD, CDD, etc… As I mentioned back in the first days article, is how little they pay attention to actually diagnosing these areas or looking for improvements, this was further driven home in this chapter. While they did address some improvements for the roof, largely most commercial energy auditors, only consider that exterior for calculating heating & cooling needs. This might be one explanation on why many people in the commercial arena, do not see how a would help them.
Water Conservation; was the final chapter we covered which starts with calculating the water & sewer rates. We covered a few ways to help reduce these issues, including sub-metering, doing a walk-through audit, and estimating usage. There were two real good sections on reducing actual water usage not only in the building, but on the exterior. After this, we enjoyed a lunch of BBQ chicken, hamburgers, sausage & hot-dogs and finished up with a quick review of everything we learned. Class was officially over with around 2 PM, and we left with two homework problems.
150 questions, 4 hours, and its open book – how tough can it be? For example – RESNET was a 50 questions, 2 hours & closed book (as I recall), BPI was a 100 questions in 2 hours with a clean copy of the applicable standard only & in most cases, I was done in around 45 minutes. Well, I don’t care how well you do on tests, or think you know the material backwards & forwards – this is one of the toughest tests I have ever taken and based on some other conversations – it reminded quite a few of their college days & PE exams. Approximately 50 of the questions were math based which in some cases where just simple conversions. On the other hand some required you to work anywhere from 3 to 7 practical math formulas to reach the final answer. All told, I would say the test probably has around 240 to 250 questions / problems in it. Fortunately, they did serve some box lunches which was nice as it gave us all a chance to unwind before heading out for the drive home.
So how did I do? Well that is up in the air, and I will not be finding out for at least 30 days. Unlike BPI & RESNET where you click – “Yes I am sure” & up pops the good news, this one uses those good old bubble test forms used for SAT’s. As for one that gives my kids grief on “you should know how you did”, part of me says with the amount my brain was fried at the end (and knowing I just took a WAG on at least 15 problems due to time), I did not make it, while the other part says I did just fine. I guess time will see in this case.
So what would I recommend for those planning to take this test? Well when I get the list of equations & conversions up, I would recommend printing those off (yes you can bring them into the test). Have a list of all the acronyms handy that they might use, it’s not nice sitting there going – now what was kVA again (especially seeing it wasn’t in the book)?
I think BPI & RESNET should take a look at how they actually use practical applications in the test. This would help eliminate the “trick questions” RESNET is famous for & the oh so easy / route memorization of the BPI ones. As for the test, while I definitely understand why knowing the math formulas is necessary / where the numbers come from – for many of these problems we would simply plug the correct numbers into a spreadsheet or a program that can take into account numerous variables.