Understanding On-Site Energy Audits – A Comprehensive Guide
Before we explain how you can conduct an energy site audit, let’s break down what one actually is. A site audit is a comprehensive examination of a building’s or facility’s energy usage and management systems. It’s an important step in identifying areas for improvement and reducing energy costs. By evaluating all factors that contribute to a building’s energy usage, an accurate audit can help keep energy consumption in check, and help make informed decisions about energy efficiency.
When performing a site audit, there are three key areas to focus on: systems, hardware, and behavioural change.
During a site audit, auditors will look for the following information to review a business’ current energy management system:
- Does the business have a pre-existing energy management policy?
- Do they currently know their energy consumption?
- Does the business have a well-maintained BMS control system?
- What other, if any, control systems do they have in place?
Having these systems in place can help businesses control their energy consumption. The visibility of this consumption creates a starting point for creating positive change. And it keeps you in control of your site’s energy usage by monitoring spikes and dips, making it much easier to manage your energy efficiency and carbon footprint.
Auditors typically focus on large energy-consuming hardware, such as chillers, compressors, large process equipment, lighting, and HVAC systems as these will be using the lion share of the energy on site.
Regularly reviewing these assets is important for business operations and energy efficiency, and implementing a comprehensive Planned Preventative Maintenance schedule can minimise the risk of downtime.
Also, when assessing your hardware assets, it’s important to consider their age, as older equipment is often less efficient than their newer models.
Businesses can reduce energy consumption by changing employee behaviour, which in turn can be cost effective. Auditors evaluate specific areas such as:
- Use of energy-saving modes
- Existing energy-saving mindset
- Thermostat settings
- Employee engagement
A shared goal for energy savings throughout the company makes it easier to implement energy efficiency measures, reduce energy waste, and minimise your carbon footprint. To help promote these goals, energy managers make use of pooled resources, energy/sustainability teams, and education.
Although conducting a site audit might seem challenging, it is a necessary first step in the process of identifying energy waste and rolling out necessary improvements. By focusing on the three key areas of systems, hardware, and behavioural change, businesses can make informed decisions about energy efficiency and reduce energy costs.
While walking around your facility, you can use a helpful checklist to conduct your own site assessment. In fact, we’ve created a free site audit checklist that you can use; simply complete the form and we’ll send the checklist straight to your inbox!
Author: Andrew Bardsley, Head of Energy Management
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