WHAT IS AN ENERGY AUDIT?
Written by Narayana Asogan, P.Eng.
The term “Audit” has several meanings. The common meaning comes to mind is “Financial Auditing” which many Managers, Directors of Commercial institution understand quite well. Year-end Financial Audit is required by Stakeholders, Regulators etc. as a way to see how the organization had managed the finances. Banks ask for audited reports to approve loans and so on.
There are other meanings to “Audit”.
Here we are explaining what an “Energy Audit” is and its implications. Energy Audit also means Energy Assessment, Energy Analysis, Energy Survey, Energy Evaluation – all these intended to study the use of energy and find out ways to use the energy more efficiently. Efficiency is (Energy Usage/Energy Purchased) and higher this number means more efficient the system is. Higher efficient system means you are getting better return of the energy purchase. Or you can achieve the same result by spending less on energy.
Energy is a commodity purchased (hence Money) as Electricity, gas, oil, water in many commercial institutions. This energy is used for various activities of the institution for production activities (if any), heating and cooling of the building, lighting, ventilation and so on. Energy is measurable, hence its use could be analysed to see if the energy is used efficiently. In other words, is the money spent to purchase energy well used? Can we achieve the same effect of use of energy using less purchased energy?
Energy Equation in a building
Energy In (as Electricity, Gas, Oil, water) = Energy Usage (for the need of the building) + Wasted Energy + Energy Loses
Energy usage will be items like production activities, heating, ventilation, cooling etc. which are essential for the functioning of the business.
Waste energy are like exhaust from boilers and other fuel burning equipment, exhaust of used air, used water drained into drainage and so on.
Energy loses are due to undesirable leakage out of the building.
The first step in an Energy Audit process is to gather information of Purchased Energy by way of Utility bills – Electricity, gas, oil, water etc. for at least one year and 2 to 3 years would be preferable. Analysis of these bills – called Preliminary Energy Use Analysis (PEA), give an idea of baseline energy usage and Energy Use Intensity (EUI) and compare it to other buildings of similar function. This comparison indicates how efficiently your building uses energy compared to similar buildings and similar usage.
If EUI of your building is higher than the others, there is a good potential to go to the next step to become more energy efficient.
Arrange a Level 1 Audit – which is a walk through audit to identify low cost/no cost measures for improving energy efficiency. Level 1 Audit additionally identifies potential capital improvements which can improve energy efficiency/reduce energy consumption.
This audit/survey consists of visiting the site and walking through all spaces of the building and noting of anomalies, talking with key personnel on the way the building is operated/used and to establish general energy saving potential.
If you are managing a portfolio of buildings, Level 1 survey of all the buildings can establish which building has higher potential and to prioritize for Level 2, Level 3 audit.
Stay tuned for more on Level 2, Level 3 audits and what results could be expected.
What are the costs of Energy Audit?
Managers know very well that Financial Audit has costs associated with it. In the case of Energy Audit too there are costs associated with it. However part of the audit fee is recoverable via Audit Financing programs by Utilities – typically 50% of eligible audits. The balance cost is usually recoverable on adopting the recommendations by way of energy savings. Capital equipment upgrades also have incentive programs.
Contact us by firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 416 855 9377 to book an appointment to help your energy management team.