An energy audit is a review of your home, office, or other building to identify areas that could be improved. It includes things like windows and doors, insulation, heating and cooling systems, etc.
An energy audit aims to reduce your costs while also making sure that you are comfortable in your space. It’s essential to have someone come out every so often to see if any changes need to be made. It can take years for problems with insulation or heating/cooling systems to go unnoticed until they become apparent during extreme weather conditions. In many cases, these improvements will pay for themselves over time through lower utility bills!
What Is an Energy Audit?
An energy audit is an official scientific assessment of an organization’s/process’s/plant’s/energy equipment usage to lower energy consumption and expenses while maintaining productivity and comfort and recommend energy-saving and cost-cutting solutions. Every energy-intensive organization/plant management conducts an energy audit in a planned, official manner.
Who Performs an Energy Audit?
A trained professional can perform an energy audit, such as an energy auditor, or the homeowner can do it. A trained professional will have the knowledge and tools to perform a more thorough audit, but a homeowner can still get valuable information from doing their audit.
What Are the Types of Energy Audits?
- Preliminary audit: The preliminary audit is completed in a short period, such as ten days, and it identifies the energy costs and wastages in significant equipment and processes. It also includes a detailed accounting of the primary energy sources. Before the pre-audit visit, the questionnaire covering the industrial details of the energy consumption process, energy need per unit product, load data, and so on must be filled.
- Detailed (Comprehensive) Energy Audit: A detailed energy audit includes engineering advice and well-defined projects with objectives. It represents the entire amount of energy used by plants, and it entails rigorous engineering to find cost-effective ways to reduce energy use. These investigations usually last between one and ten weeks. The action plan is divided into three sections: short term, medium-term, and long term.
Objectives of Energy Audit
The fundamental goal of an energy audit is to rapidly and accurately determine the basic relative costs of the various sources of energy used for their primary use and identify those sites where losses, wastages, or inefficiency occur. In layman’s terms, an energy audit aids in better understanding how various energy sources are used in the industry and identifying areas where waste may occur and where improvements may be feasible. As a result, one of the concepts utilized in energy management is an energy audit, which entails a systematic study and comprehensive review of energy use in industries.
What Are the Benefits of an Energy Audit?
An energy audit can save you money by identifying areas where your home or office is losing energy. It could be due to poor insulation, lousy window seals, drafty doors, or other issues. By fixing these problem areas, you can reduce your heating and cooling costs and your overall energy usage.
In addition to saving you money, an energy audit can also make your space more comfortable. Many of the same problems that cause high energy bills can also lead to drafts and uneven temperatures in your home or office. You can create a more comfortable environment for yourself and your family/employees by addressing these issues.
Finally, an energy audit can also help you be more environmentally friendly, and this is because using less energy overall has a positive impact on the environment. In addition, many of the improvements made during an energy audit (such as increasing insulation or sealing windows and doors) can also help reduce your home’s carbon footprint.
Why Is an Energy Audit Done?
An energy audit can reveal areas where you can save money, but putting your findings into action requires more than just technical projects. An energy audit conducted by a skilled professional is a valuable tool for determining how your company uses electricity and identifying areas where energy waste and efficiency can be reduced.
How to Make Most of an Energy Audit?
- The work begins before the audit: “An energy audit should support your hypotheses about where you already think your organization can save energy,” says Bryan Flannigan, an engineer, and consultant who helps businesses conserve energy. “Ideally, an audit should answer questions about how a business need can be satisfied,” adds Flannigan. “That need could simply be to cut expenses, but it could also be to boost sales, improve product quality and reliability, or keep tenants.” It’s critical to attempt to grasp how an energy audit might help you uncover solutions that can help you achieve your deeper goals.”
According to Flannigan, in a retail setting, higher-quality and more efficient lighting has a direct association with sales. To begin, you’ll need to sow the seeds with top management and other personnel to ensure that there is a desire to undertake energy-saving modifications in the future.
“It’s critical to comprehend the ‘financial sandbox’ in which the audit is taking place,” adds Flannigan. “What conditions must be completed before an investment based on audit results can be made?” Answering these questions can assist in framing and prioritizing the audit and maximizing the audit’s usefulness.”
- Take into account your culture: “It’s vital to include building workers in the audit process,” Dixon says. “They will be able to discover chances for improvement because they know the facility better than anybody else.”
“Working with employees internally to help them appreciate the value of energy efficiency as it applies to their function in the business is critical,” adds Shivshankaran. “Change might be difficult at times, but I’ve discovered that bringing people together and empowering them is the key here.”
“A firm may save around 12.5% of its energy costs without any technological retrofits by concentrating on occupant engagement and modifying internal behavior (think turning off lights or switching off power bars),” Shivshankaran explains.
There are numerous low-cost or no-cost ways to engage employees and encourage them to think about energy. Cowan cites the long-running Cool Biz campaign in Japan to illustrate the efficacy of behavior change. The country’s government pushed its office workers to ditch their suit jackets and ties during the summer, favoring lighter apparel to save money on air conditioning. The program has been successful for nearly a decade, allowing the government to maintain its air conditioning demand low at a low cost.
- Use the findings of your audit to educate your personnel: Employee engagement is essential even after the energy audit is completed. The outcomes of the energy audit should not be limited to the energy management or sustainability teams, just as the energy audit procedure should include on-the-ground staff.
Use the findings to educate the rest of your company on where there’s an opportunity for improvement and why you’re taking the following measures. When it comes time to conduct retrofit initiatives, they’ll better know why they’re taking place and will be less likely to become a bottleneck. Shivshankaran cites a university pilot project as an example. Every day, when staff turned on their computers, they were greeted with a summary of how the university, and their department, in particular, had performed in terms of energy efficiency during the previous week, encouraging them to maintain their energy-saving habits.
- Determine technological priorities depending on your company’s goals: After your audit, you’ll be able to prioritize which technical projects to undertake if you have a better knowledge of your organization’s strategic objectives. “Look at how energy efficiency might help in ways other than cost reductions,” says Kady Cowan, an energy management expert at the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO). “Is the comfort of your employees a priority for your property management team? Then, to better regulate temperatures and enhance air quality, consider upgrading your HVAC system.” However, cost savings are not unimportant. After completing an energy audit, Sajeev Shivshankaran, an energy and facilities engineer with the City of Greater Sudbury, collaborates with management to determine the annual retrofit budget, which is then matched to an asset management plan for the organization’s infrastructure over the next five years. Then they prioritize and implement initiatives based on where they can save the most money.
“Speak with your auditor to learn more about potential non-utility benefits you might be able to accomplish by resolving issues identified throughout the audit process,” says energy consultant Stephen Dixon.
How Much Can an Energy Audit Save You?
An energy audit can save you money in a few different ways. First, it can help you identify areas where you’re using more energy than necessary, and it means that you can make changes to reduce your energy consumption and save money on your energy bills. Second, an energy audit can also help you identify energy-efficiency opportunities. It means that you can make changes to your business that will save you money in the long run by reducing your overall energy consumption.
The bottom line is that an energy audit can save you money. But how much money you’ll save depends on several factors, including the size of your business, your energy consumption, and the changes you make as a result of the audit.
Are Energy Audits Free?
Yes, energy audits are free. The Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program offers free home energy audits to low-income households. Contact your state’s weatherization office to see if you qualify. Some utilities also offer free or reduced-cost energy audits to their customers. Check with your local utility company to see what programs are available.
You can also hire a professional energy auditor to conduct a comprehensive home audit. These audits usually cost between $300 and $500, but they can pay for themselves quickly by identifying ways to save energy and money. Some states offer tax credits or rebates for energy-efficient home improvements, so ask about these when you get your energy audit.
To Wrap it all up
An energy audit can be an essential part of your home, office, or other building to identify problems that could lead to higher utility bills and less comfortable space. If you’re interested in reducing your costs and the environmental impact of energy use on your property, we recommend starting with an energy audit today!