While energy auditing has long been growing in popularity, procedures vary widely in quality and scope, some HVAC market officials say.

A proposed standard from ASHRAE and the Air Conditioning Contractors of America is designed to bring some order to this “Wild West” area of HVAC sales, the groups say.

“The standard has the potential to make a huge impact on completing energy saving projects in existing buildings,” said Jim Kelsey, chairman of the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers’ committee that helped write the standard. “Currently there is no standard that defines what constitutes an energy audit. Most practitioners in the energy audit industry are trying to do the right thing for their clients by finding projects and quantifying energy and cost savings in energy audits. However, without a consistent standard, we have seen the quality and approach to energy auditing vary widely throughout the industry. Without standardization, it’s been the Wild West out there — anyone who carries a clipboard and a camera can call themselves an energy auditor and their report an energy audit. What we hope to accomplish with this standard is to set appropriate minimum criteria for what approaches are expected, what information should be in an audit, and how that information is communicated to the end client.”

The public is invited to comment on the proposal until Jan. 4, 2016.