Covid-19 has forced us all to rethink how we run our businesses, and accelerated the digital transformation for most, if not all organisation. Be it conducting all meetings via a video conference call; leaving the office deserted as all staff move to a work from home programme, or generally relying on technology to a whole new level  – Covid-19 has turned working life and organisational culture upside down. Our digital and virtual presence has become far greater, and this has spread to all areas of businesses.

And now, as the business community tackles the financial implications left behind by COVID-19, many company boards will be asking the same question, ‘how can we control budgets and manage cash flow?’ It’s no secret that energy efficiency improvements could deliver significant benefits, with as much as 25% of all energy used being wasted, but how can you begin to unlock potential whilst maintaining safe social distancing?

Understanding your sites DNA

Assessing your business’s energy usage is not immune to these new rules, and changes have been made across the country to keep up with government guidelines regarding who can and can’t enter business premises. Previously, an engineer would inspect the site physically – taking a tour of the facility to assess any changes that could and should be made. 

“A virtual site audit offers the same opportunities for finding cost savings and/or faulty machinery, whilst also keeping your staff and business as safe as possible.” – Andrew Bardsley, Head of Energy Projects

Covid-19 restrictions have made it highly problematic for businesses to accept visitors, so when simply visiting a site and taking a look around is challenging, alternative solutions need to be identified. Conducting a site audit virtually becomes a necessary alternative, but it doesn’t have to be a compromise. Virtual site audits offer real benefits when compared to more traditional, on-site audits and can really help you keep on top of your energy efficiency opportunities.

By utilising smart meters and big data (a topic we’ve covered previously) an auditor can assess a site without ever entering it. This negates the need for an onsite visit and coming into contact with someone from outside the business – which, in the current climate, is an absolute necessity.

“A virtual site audit offers the same opportunities for finding cost savings and/or faulty machinery, whilst also keeping your staff and business as safe as possible.” – Andrew Bardsley, Head of Energy Projects

How are Virtual Site Audits embracing digital transformation?

We’ve touched on the fact that through digital transformation a Virtual Site Audit allows an engineer to audit a site without ever stepping foot on the premises but how exactly is an audit conducted?

Well to start, before a virtual audit takes place an energy analyst will conduct a thorough analysis of your site’s data, creating a detailed visualisation of the site’s energy usage allowing the engineer to apply the findings while undertaking the audit. This provides a more holistic view of the site and you can take comfort in knowing any findings and recommendations found on the audit have been backed by your site’s data.

On to the audit itself, the virtual walkthrough of your site is carried out through mobile technology. A mobile video call gives you the freedom to move around your site directed by the engineer who can then request close-ups of certain equipment to enable inspection of the setup and/or information labels. Any relevant images can be screenshotted by the engineer and included in the audit report. There are also options to create an accurate 3D model of your site through low-cost technology, this model can then be used to identify areas to focus on, i.e. capture a video of a specific machine running.

Finally, after taking into consideration your site’s data, and the information gathered from the virtual audit the engineer will create a detailed report and present via video conferencing. Although a PowerPoint presentation or PDF report are perfectly good options to present findings, the pandemic has got people and businesses being more creative and embracing innovative digital options. So don’t be surprised if what an engineer takes you through is an interactive virtual presentation that can bring information and findings to life. 

So that’s just one area energy management is embracing digital transformation to add value to businesses while maintaining distancing guidelines and is something we feel you’ll be seeing more of as businesses continue to harness the benefits of technology post lockdown and beyond.

If this blog’s got you thinking that your business would benefit from a Virtual Site Audit to help control budgets and manage cash flow post-lockdown then get in touch to see how we can help your business and conduct a Virtual Site Audit.