An energy audit can be an important tool for improving your building’s energy efficiency and reducing your energy costs.
Energy audits help you understand how energy is being used at your business and can identify opportunities for energy efficiency or cost saving measures. The information collected through an energy audit provides you with the data necessary to make informed decisions about energy efficiency projects that can improve your energy use and reducing your energy costs.
Conducting an energy audit can take a variety of forms based on the level of detail or the type of information you would like to collect. Collecting more data through a more detailed audit can take longer or cost more, but can provide you with more information that allows for a more thorough analysis. The results of an energy audit can help you prioritize projects or energy efficiency measures that can help you save costs now and in the future.
There are two ways you can conduct an audit for your organization: 1) self-conducted audit or 2) professional audit. Either type can have their advantages and disadvantages and depend on the type of information you need to make energy management decisions to improve your energy efficiency.
A self-conducted audit is an energy audit that you conduct yourself or that is conducted internally within your organization with in-house expertise. This type of energy audit would involve a walk through of your facility and collecting data on the energy consumed by different equipment and areas of the building. Effectively conducting this type of energy audit requires some level of expertise and knowledge of energy and how it is consumed by equipment and technology. Information can be found on various websites and blogs to assist with conducting your own energy audit. The results can be helpful in identifying energy efficiency opportunities but would not be as detailed or informative as those provided through a professional energy audit.
Some key areas to check would include:
- Locate and seal air leaks
- Consider ventilation – make sure equipment and air ventilation units have appropriate air flow and are not competing for air
- Check insulation
- Inspect heating and cooling equipment
- Lighting – can account for about 10% of electricity bill
- Appliances and electronics
- Whole building plan
A professional energy audit can be conducted by your local distribution company (LDC)/ local electricity utility or an energy solutions company. In some cases, an initial “walk-through” audit can be provided free of charge depending on the information you are looking for or the services a company can provide. A professional audit will provide you with a wealth of information that will help you diagnose how energy has been used at your facility as well as identify and prioritize energy efficiency opportunities.
Conducting a professional energy audit can help you:
- Evaluate your facility and energy consumption as a whole
- Identify opportunities for better efficiency. Some of these opportunities may be simple low/ no cost fixes
- Analyze your historic energy use and set your energy use baseline to benchmark with other organizations
- Priorities “low hanging fruit” or easy win projects that are cost effective or have higher rates of return
Professional energy audits can range in cost and may not have an immediate return or savings. The opportunities and recommendations provided through an energy audit report can provide your organization with a strategic road map or list of priorities for addressing energy waste and saving costs. The findings in your energy audit report can also provide a compelling case to senior level management for future investment in energy efficiency.
There are incentives available through the Save On Energy Audit Funding program to provide financial support for your next energy audit. Businesses of all sectors and sizes are eligible to participate in this program which can cover up to 50% of audit costs.
For more information about energy audit incentives contact your local distribution company.