What to consider in a DIY Energy Audit
A simple and useful energy audit is a good start to bring together all factors to give you a clear picture of how you consume your energy within your organisation. It’s a bit like being a detective and will identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to your organisational energy consumption.
What you will need to ascertain what energy is being used at the site:
- Meter readings
- Site plans/building layout
- Location of sub meters, plant room
- Who or what are the main consumers of energy (if known)
- A list of main plant and equipment, lighting, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems and age
- What control systems are in place?
- What temperature are your thermostats set to?
Does Energy Consumption Match Day To Day Operations?
If your business is not currently recording and monitoring energy usage you may be able to obtain consumption data from your energy supplier. This can show clearly how the energy is being used and from this you can define your optimum required consumption based on occupancy levels or operating shifts and minimise consumption spikes and sporadic uncontrolled energy usage.
To maximise the integrity of the data and analysis you will need to know:
- Consumption data (half-hourly preferably) and sub-metering info (where applicable)
- The staffing levels for the period, working hours or shift patterns
- An understanding of the day to day operations
- If available, historical weather conditions and bank-holiday/seasonal shut down dates.
Take a look at the Building
Understanding the building and the management of the in-situ environmental plant is also crucial to a decent audit. What is the age of the building and is it maintained in good condition?
The older the architecture then the less energy efficient your business will be. Or, if your building has ill-fitting doors or windows, damaged insulation on hot water pipes, possibly single glazing, holes in the external walls or poor insulation then your energy costs will be higher.
Are the Environmental Plant and Controls in Good Condition?
This also applies to the environmental plant, if it isn’t serviced regularly and is as installed in the building on day one then the amount of energy consumed, against the benefits to the occupants will be greatly reduced.
How many layers of paint are on those radiators? How many room thermostats are sitting next to the print-centre or near another heat source?
A simple tip, if anything is buzzing, hissing, bleeping, glowing, flashing or old, it’s probably consuming unnecessary power.
What about Airflow?
Often, we think we feel lethargic and tired due to being hot. When we do our assessments, we often find poor airflow in those same spaces. Over the years, partitions for meeting rooms and offices have been installed, doors have been moved, etc. It all changes the flow of air.
Speak To The People
It’s been said that all buildings are energy efficient until you introduce people. While not very helpful, there’s some truth. People’s behaviours impact energy consumption massively.
Employees will often know where energy can be saved because they see the waste happening every day. They know how many times the kettle is boiled (or re-boiled) and that an urn would be more efficient? They know the thermostat is always on because of the draft or because it’s too far away for anyone to bother adjusting it?
Simple Steps = Savings
If you start your energy auditing journey with these simple considerations, you will start to take control of your consumption and start making measurable reductions. It’s a key part of the strong foundations for a robust energy management system and can provide meaningful data for a more in-depth and detailed study which will return more substantial consumption savings.
Those costs savings are added straight onto your bottom line!