The residual of the surface energy budget is represented as the linearized sum of energy losses due to storage, advection and flux underestimation. Individual contributions to the residual can be quantified through constrained multiple linear regression which identifies the site specific processes that are responsible for the lack of energy budget closure. This residual decomposition approach is applied to energy balance data from the Surface Layer Turbulence and Environmental Science Test (SLTEST) site at the Dugway Proving Grounds in the Utah Salt Flats. In this case, energy storage in the soil and underestimation of the soil heat flux accounted for 89% of the residual variance. Underestimation of the sensible and latent heat fluxes had no apparent contribution to the residual, and the contribution of advection to the residual was not statistically significant.