An energy audit is a study of a company’s energy costs and efficiency. Understanding an organization’s energy consumption begins with an energy audit. It entails a thorough investigation and analysis of site-specific energy use, which includes an examination of equipment, processes, and user behaviour patterns. This allows a business to find places where it can save money and lower its carbon footprint by ensuring efficiencies. An energy audit determines ways for a firm to reduce energy waste and increase energy efficiency. Reduced energy use can help a company’s carbon footprint, providing it with a more ecologically responsible image in the industry and community.
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 useful tool for determining how your company uses electricity and identifying areas where energy waste and efficiency can be reduced. An energy audit should mostly serve to confirm your assumptions about where your company can save energy. “Ideally, an audit should answer questions about how a business’ energy need can be satisfied. “That need could simply be to cut expenses, but it could also be to boost sales, and improve product quality and reliability. It is critical to completely understand how an energy audit can help you uncover solutions to achieving deeper goals. In a retail setting, for example, higher-quality and more efficient lighting has a direct correlation with sales.
The most efficient method is to examine all energy-consuming offices and equipment; this is the only way to completely understand an organization’s consumption patterns, how they may be linked and identify the major energy users. Energy Africa Project (EPA) is well endowed with trained and skilled engineers who are versatile in an energy audit that can transform your business. We will highlight how the various sites and buildings should be prioritized to generate the maximum savings for businesses with many units that consume energy within the business premises. It is a relatively straightforward process with EPA because we are familiar with energy management and where businesses utilize energy, as it only requires walking around your site and finding areas of concern/interest. Knowing what an energy audit does, you can now look into whether your business could benefit from carrying out one. The major benefit is, of course, on the bottom line; you could be wasting money on energy that isn’t needed to finish your product/service, resulting in a higher profit margin. You may never understand how much money you could save if you don’t check into what you’re utilizing. If your company is focused on environmental issues and sustainability, it will profit from demonstrating how you can reduce your carbon footprint, providing good relation that could put you ahead of the competition. With the way things are moving in the world of sustainability, if you don’t look into it, someone else will.
Why audit energy?
A business may undergo an energy audit for a variety of reasons. For example, they may have limited awareness of their energy savings prospects and financial attractiveness until an audit is provided to them. Some organizations may be motivated by cost savings, while others may be concerned with regulatory compliance. A company’s corporate social responsibility and environmental plan are two more reasons to undertake an audit.
Suppliers, consumers, and investors have recently begun to anticipate, particularly in the procurement of goods and services, that a company can demonstrate and prove that it has made steps to minimize its energy use and carbon footprint. The audit may be the initial step toward implementing a certified Energy Management System (ISO 50001) to embed energy awareness and document energy-related procedures in a management system for major energy users. Business operations will be more competitive as energy efficiency improves.
Another advantage to mention is that it aids with energy strategies and ensures that your company is on track to fulfil impending and present laws. As the government works to meet its environmental goals, more limitations on commercial energy consumption and reporting have been implemented. An energy audit might assist you in focusing on areas where you can improve compliance.
Levels of Energy Audits
Level I: This is the level where we conduct preliminary audits or site assessments to identify no-cost and low-cost energy-saving solutions as well as a broad perspective of future capital enhancements. An evaluation of your energy costs and a brief site survey of your business premises are among the activities.
Level II: This s the level where EPA conducts an engineering analysis and energy survey Audits to uncover no-cost and low-cost opportunities, as well as suggestions tailored to your budget and prospective capital-intensive energy savings prospects. An in-depth investigation of energy expenses, energy usage, and physical attributes, as well as a more refined assessment of how energy is used in your property, are included in Level II audits.
Level III: At this stage, we offer sound advice and financial analysis for substantial capital projects that detailed analysis of capital-intensive modification Audits (sometimes known as “investment grade” audits) Level III audits include a process where the EPA engages in monitoring, data collecting, and engineering analysis in addition to Level I and Level II tasks. We will work with you to establish the level of audit you require based on your project goals and available budget. A Level I audit could give conclusions that make the expense of the audit justifiable for smaller facilities without a substantial capital development plan or budget. Due to the intricacies of a larger site that has never been inspected, a Level II or Level III audit would be more appropriate due to the complexities of systems and potential savings opportunities. Level II and Level III audits are more expensive, but they’re a smart choice if you’ve set energy efficiency targets but haven’t implemented them yet, or if you’re planning a large renovation or equipment replacement. These audits should include a preliminary feasibility assessment (typically provided free of charge by potential energy auditors) to scope out the energy-saving opportunities and ensure that the cost of the audit is justified by the savings.
The Energy Audit Process
Each step of the energy audit is led by the EPA, but the facility owner, key operations and maintenance employees, and controls contractor (if applicable) all play important roles and should be actively involved throughout the process. You may also need to contact legal, financial, or branding experts, depending on your facility or company line. If shared energy costs or building comfort issues are a potential concern in multi-tenant buildings, it may make sense to incorporate prominent tenants or inhabitants in the process. Choosing an internal project manager to lead the project will help it succeed. The energy audit method is largely the same regardless of the audit level you choose or the number of facilities you want to audit. The first step is to select an energy auditor and develop a contract. From there, phases of the energy audit include:
|Project phase||Project milestone(s)||Project activities|
|Preliminary review of
|• Facility benchmarked against
• Base energy load identified
|• Collect and analyze utility
• Calculate Energy Utilization Index (EUI) and compare
to similar facilities
• Assess energy efficiency
|Site assessment||• Site data collected
• Immediate energy savings
• Exit meeting held to discuss
|• Interview building staff
• Visually inspect building and
• Collect data
|Energy and cost
|• EEMs prioritized according to
project and financial goals
• Savings estimates generated
|• Evaluate utility and site data
• Analyze energy and cost
• Develop list of recommended measures
|Completion of audit
|• Exit meeting held to walk
through final report
• Action plan developed for
|• Summarize findings
• Present recommendations
A preliminary review of utility data
At EPA, we begin by studying your utility data, building or system diagrams, equipment inventories, and other facility information to do a preliminary energy consumption evaluation. To account for seasonal variations and patterns of energy usage, we will gather and examine at least two years of utility data throughout the energy use study. Monthly utility bill data is the most typical; however, utilities are increasingly making hourly or more frequent interval meter data available. This analysis should encompass all forms of energy (electricity, gas, oil, and water).
EPA will use this information to compute the Energy Utilization Index (EUI) value (annual energy use/square footage) and energy end uses for your facility (energy used by each office system under your business premises). The EUI and base energy load allow us to compare this data to energy consumption in similar buildings and systems, illustrating the magnitude of possible energy savings and providing an early estimate of prospective savings.
Our team of experts will also looks for changes in energy consumption over time and possible explanations. We then generate a preliminary report, which will include a summary of data, graphs, and other visualizations for easy interpretation. The results of this study can help choose the level of audit to do; we will also suggest recommendations in the audit report.
The Site Assessment
EPA trained engineers will undertake a physical examination of your facility and its operations after the preliminary review. Our team of well-experienced engineers will visit with key operations and maintenance personnel during the site inspection to discover how your building runs and to discuss any current concerns or issues with the facility. We will also conduct a visual inspection and inventory of the building’s key elements, which include:
- Construction details of the building envelope (e.g. walls, roof, windows, doors and related insulation values)
- An inventory of the heating and cooling systems (HVAC) capacities and rated efficiency
- Manual, time clock or automated HVAC control methods
- Interior and exterior lighting systems and related controls
- Service hot water systems
Level I, Level II and Level III site assessments each include some degree of an investigation into operations and maintenance procedures, schedules, and typical building occupancy. The duration of the onsite assessment varies depending on the level of audit you choose, and time commitments required from you and/or your staff may increase as you move from Level I audits (which could take as little as four to eight hours) to Level II and Level III audits (Level III audits, in particular, may require us to conduct multiple site visits and meter equipment to capture usage data).
The site assessment should be actively participated in by the building staff (facility managers, operations and management staff, and essential contractors as needed). In the framework of the physical inspection of equipment and systems, EPA team will identify adjustments that building personnel can adopt immediately. Building staff can also provide their views on building conditions. These encounters encourage building workers to participate in the energy audit process and take ownership of facility maintenance and energy efficiency.
Any past audits and recent or planned building improvements should be disclosed to the EPA team prior to the site evaluation. You may also need to confirm ahead of time that the EPA has permission or security access to perform particular duties, such as photographing facility equipment, entering machine rooms, or collecting data from control systems.
You will be require to plan an exit meeting with us and some other key building personnel after the site assessment to review preliminary results, recommendations, and the viability of EEM implementation. This will help focus the process’s next stage, data analysis.
EPA team of data analysts will begin the energy and cost analysis after collecting the essential data for your building. The study takes into consideration baseline energy use, data acquired during the onsite evaluation, and the financial consequences of energy efficiency measure installations. To ensure that the study is fairly compared to other investment options and that cash flows match expectations, we will seek your collaboration for a strong understanding of your economic methodology and business criteria before beginning the research.
To prevent results that give too much or too little detail, we ensure that your project goals should drive the analysis methodology you use. For larger structures or buildings with complicated mechanical systems, typical analysis approaches include spreadsheet analysis based on engineering formulas that account for fluctuations in time of day and season, and whole-building hourly energy consumption analysis. Level II and Level III audits use more complicated methodologies that allow for more precise assessments of possible energy savings.
Could your Business be transformed through Energy Audit?
The opportunity to conserve energy and have a fair payback period on any expenses is a no-brainer for practically any business organization. The essential question can be figuring out how to do so, which is where an energy audit can help. Before you can decide if an energy audit is beneficial to your company, you must first grasp what it is. In its most basic form, an energy audit determines where a firm consumes energy, shows areas of waste, identifies poor/incorrect energy management practices, and offers ways to reduce usage and expenses as state earlier.
Furthermore, energy audits do not have to be difficult, costly, or time-consuming. Instead, by just strolling around the facility, our team of experts conduct an effective energy audit of your company’s energy usage. With some ideas on how to complete your own energy assessment, Energy Project Africa (EPA) can help you get your energy usage under control. Energy audit can transform your business through the following tips:
Become More Eco-Friendly with Renewable Energy
As businesses increasingly look for ways to become sustainable and energy efficient, one option is to switch to renewable energy. By harvesting energy from the sun, having solar panels installed may offer you the opportunity to reduce your business’s energy usage while helping to keep the planet healthy.
Keep an Eye on Your Thermostat?
Turning the thermostat up a few of degrees can save you money on your energy expenses. Consider the thermostat’s location as well. Its current location may not be the greatest or most efficient. Make sure the thermostat is out of direct sunlight and away from drafts, windows, and skylights, all of which can reduce the thermostat’s performance and efficiency.
Give the Old Refrigerator in the Break Room a Second Look
How old are the equipment in your company? Check the age and energy efficiency rating of appliances as you begin your DIY energy evaluation of your office. A refrigerator older than ten years in a staff office, for example, is likely to be less energy efficient than newer versions. If the ratings are inadequate, investing in new appliances could result in long-term savings on energy expenses.
Install Some New Light Bulbs
Energy-saving light bulbs use up to 80 percent less energy than standard bulbs. When you walk around your business premises doing an energy audit, pay attention to the light bulbs. If the lights are fitted with traditional bulbs, think about replacing them with more energy-efficient options like CFL or LED bulbs.
Motion sensitive lighting
Have you ever left lights on when exiting an unoccupied room? If so, you’re not alone. In order to prevent this type of energy waste, install motion sensitive lighting on your premises. This technology switches lights off when rooms are not in use, equaling energy savings!
Make the Most of Natural Lighting
Exposure to natural lighting in offices and other working environments comes with a number of benefits to businesses. Improved levels of productivity are among those benefits, as is the substantial and sustained energy savings of using natural daylight.
Switch Off Those Devices over Night
Carry out an energy audit when your staff goes home for the evening. This way you will be able to see what devices and appliances have been left on. If computers are left on, for example, break your staff’s ‘standby’ habit. Insist your employees no longer keep PCs and tablets on standby when they leave for the day. Instead, make it company policy to turn off all devices.
Keep it cool: Depending on your industry, businesses can spend 85% of their energy budget on refrigeration. This could possibly be reduced by ensuring seals are tight on units to ensure the cool air stays in. Where possible, minimize the time your staff spend in, or passing through, cool areas – improving the layout of your facilities could help too.
Lighting it up: Replacing traditional incandescent bulbs with LEDs could save your business up to 80 per cent on energy used for lighting. (Here’s even more good news: Over the past decade, the price of these LEDs has fallen by almost 90 per cent while their output has increased 500 per cent.)
Is it hot in here?: Regular maintenance is the simplest way to help ensure heating and cooling systems are operating efficiently, particularly ensuring that heating and cooling are not operating at the same time, and that operational controls are set to turn the system off when not needed. Many of these measures offer payback periods of less than two years.
The energy savings potential will be clearly provided in no cost, low cost, and high cost categories, and EPA will prioritize them in the report. Each of the discovered savings opportunities will have a payback and quantified carbon savings listed alongside it. The free choices are usually tied to behavioural modification, notably in the area of lighting, and can be implemented right away. Based on the energy audit findings and recommendations, an internal strategy should be developed and a decision taken on how to proceed with the recommendations. Upgrades to lighting, heating, and industrial processes can alter a company, but these opportunities are frequently neglected by executive teams who are more concerned with increasing revenue than decreasing costs.” As a result, EPA shows the survey and report findings to top management so that they may ask questions and thoroughly comprehend the findings and possibilities of the recommendations.
Some non-profit groups or service providers may provide audits for free or at a minimal cost. Audits undertaken by inexperienced personnel or audits sponsored by a vendor and targeted toward a certain technology or product, on the other hand, may emphasize simple individual energy conservation recommendations while overlooking other substantial opportunities. Unqualified auditors may also make recommendations that result in little energy savings, or even worse, increased energy use or equipment damage. While cost is an important consideration when hiring an energy auditor, it should not be the only one. Experience, certifications, and successful past project samples are all important factors to consider when hiring an energy auditor. EPA team of engineers and data analysts are well trained and experienced in the field of energy audit to give your business the most effective and efficient energy which reduces the amount of money you spend on energy on daily basis.
E.P.A. (Energy Projects Africa) through her Energy audits and feasibility solution helps stakeholders make data-driven decisions in the clean energy space via real-time quantitative research and feasibility studies. If you need a partner with hands-on local expertise in the renewable energy space or any of our bespoke solutions/services, kindly visit Mail firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.