An energy audit is an assessment that checks the energy efficiency of a commercial, industrial, or residential property. It can help buildings and homes to reduce their carbon footprint by identifying areas and equipment that might be wasting energy.
A registered energy auditor or a professional energy advisor usually does the audit. The assessment usually involves evaluating the site’s energy consumption and costs, and overall efficiency.
After the evaluation, the auditor will produce a report that details the energy usage of the home or building. The auditor will also present recommendations on how to reduce energy usage.
An energy audit will advise building owners or tenants on what can be done to reduce energy use. Furthermore, homes or buildings that want to install renewable generation onsite, such as solar energy, are advised to undergo an energy audit.
Let’s find out more about what is an energy audit and whether your business needs it.
How Does an Energy Audit Work?
Energy audits involve multiple steps whose primary goal is to map out the energy usage and determine which areas can be improved. A simple energy audit for homes and smaller buildings has three parts: evaluation, performance testing, and efficiency recommendations.
Meanwhile, a business energy audit often has additional steps to ensure it covers every aspect of its power system. The energy provider or government agency may send an energy auditor or a team of assessors depending on the size of the facility.
The following are some of the typical steps in a business energy audit.
1. Data Collection
This step involves collecting various information on the building, the operation and usage of the building, the energy sources, and how much energy is used.
2. Initial Analysis
The energy auditor will analyse the data to identify inefficiencies and to benchmark it with other facilities.
3. Field Study
Inspectors will go around the facility or workplace to understand when and where energy is used. They will also list down and map out all of the equipment and machinery that uses energy. The auditors may also perform several tests, such as a thermographic scan to assess the building envelope for air leakage and insulation gaps.
4. Engineering Analysis
After collecting the data from the field study, the data is analysed. Opportunities will be identified that can help the consumer consume energy more efficiently.
The energy auditor will then present the recommendations to the home or business owner. The suggestions usually cover what changes are needed to make the facility more energy-efficient and cut its carbon footprint. It also covers the budget required to make these recommendations into reality.
Does Every Business Establishment Require an Energy Audit?
An energy audit is recommended mostly for businesses where energy is a high percentage of operating costs, where overall energy costs are high, or where there is an interest in the business reducing its costs and carbon footprint.
Conducting an energy audit helps companies identify what needs to be done to reduce energy usage. It can also identify issues with electrical systems, ventilation, and wiring. Furthermore, it will help the business identify both low cost energy conservation measures, along with energy efficiency measures.
Some states and counties even offer tax credits, rebates, and other incentives should they subscribe to an energy audit.
Industries That Greatly Benefit From an Energy Audit
The world’s energy demand has constantly grown for the past few decades.
According to The World Counts, annual worldwide energy consumption is currently at 580 million terajoules. By 2040, it is predicted to reach 740 million terajoules, a 30-percent increase over current usage.
Manufacturing is still the leading industry that consumes energy. The subsectors that consume the most energy are chemicals, petroleum and coal products, paper, primary metals and food.
Are Energy Audits Worth It: The Benefits
Energy audits are essential for companies that want to know how to be more energy-efficient and have a lower carbon footprint.
The following are just some of the other benefits that businesses can get from an energy audit:
- Learn about technologies that reduce energy use
- Learn what the major inefficiencies are
- Develop a better understanding of how energy is used.
An energy audit’s cost depends on the size of the facility, level of energy audit, the type of business and scope of assessment.
What Happens After an Energy Audit Report
After the energy auditor submits their report, the company has to decide whether to act partially or wholly on the recommendations.
The recommended process after an energy audit is:
- The company’s management reviews the audit report and discusses how to implement the recommendations in the report. A budget is also released for the implementation of such changes.
- The plant manager and heads of maintenance implement the changes and upgrades based on their necessity and overall importance. The company may hire contractors to install equipment suggested in the report.
- The management may also enact policies to reduce energy consumption within their facility. They can ask employees to turn off unused lights and equipment after office hours end.
- Finally, track energy use to determine savings.
It’s essential to remember that energy audits also have an expiration period. Because of the changing technologies, energy tariffs, and changes to facility operation an energy audit is typically considered to be relevant for only three years.
Hence, we recommend that businesses renew their energy audits once every three or five years.
Energy Efficiency Through Energy Auditing
Whatever business you are in, you should learn about what is an energy audit and consider commissioning one for your company. An energy audit can show you how to save money, thus increasing profits, while saving the planet from unnecessary pollutants.