Energy / Operations/Management

Significance for Sustainability in Energy Audits

December 17, 2012
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The question that is on everyone’s mind these days is “How do I save energy effectively?” There may be multiple responses to this question, but one of the most practical solutions is energy audits. Energy audits help businesses identify the loopholes in energy consumption, and help the users identify different ways energy consumption can be optimized.

Energy audit services are provided by public utilities and energy service companies (ESCOs), and it can be hard to decide which one to choose. The objective of both the service providers is the same, for example to identify opportunities to optimize the utilization of energy. Following are the pros and cons of energy audits by public utilities and ESCOs.

Energy Audit by Public Utilities

Public utilities are the entities that manage the infrastructure necessary for the provision of essential services. Public utilities also provide energy audits that are mainly focused on homeowners and small businesses; they will calculate the required energy in accordance with the size of the property.

Pros

• Public utilities are experienced in managing the essential infrastructure and therefore can provide efficient estimates regarding the optimum energy requirements for a small premise.
• They provide realistic results for homeowners.
• Public utilities tend to have staff members who are highly experienced.

Cons
• They may not be well-qualified to conduct energy audits of large enterprises.
• There may be a lack of planning in case of energy audits by public utilities.
• The energy audits may not be cost effective in case of manufacturing facilities.

Energy Audit by ESCO

Energy service companies are commercial businesses, and their main operations are the provision of energy solutions. These companies are specialized to provide energy audits as it is one of their main operations.

Pros
• Energy audit by ESCOs is highly efficient for large enterprises, specifically manufacturing facilities.
• Staff members of ESCOs are sufficiently experienced to conduct the energy audit in an efficient manner.
• ESCOs conduct in-depth analysis of the whole facility and equipment.

Cons
• The cost of acquiring their services may be significantly high.
• The in-depth analysis by ESCOs may disrupt the regular operations of a manufacturing facility.

Steps of an Energy Audit

Obtaining an Understanding, and Planning the Audit

At this step, the auditor obtains a general understanding of the scope of operations of the entity in order to develop an initial assumption regarding the extent of energy consumption on the site. After obtaining necessary understanding, the auditor develops an audit strategy and a comprehensive audit plan.

Data Collection

The second step of the process is to collect all the essential data that is required in order to conduct the energy audit.

Analysis of Energy Use

The next step is to conduct a detailed analysis of energy use. The analysis is based on the data collected and the experimentation done in previous phases.
Development of Energy Conservation Opportunities

In this phase, the energy auditors identify and develop possible opportunities that can help the user in conservation of energy and in lowering the overall energy costs.

Cost-Benefit Analysis

This is the phase in which cost benefit analysis of all the suggested opportunities is conducted. The auditor compares the cost of the implementation of a recommendation against the benefits to be derived from it.

Final Report

This is the last phase of the energy audit of a business. In this phase, the energy auditors present all their findings, analyses, recommendations and solutions in a comprehensive report.

Significance of Energy Audits for Sustainability

Energy is a rare commodity and its preservation is being pursued by all the major businesses in the world. Most businesses have made it their goal to shift towards green sources of energy, but these plans cannot be implemented immediately. The transformation is a time-consuming process, and in order to increase energy preservation during the transition time, energy audits play a vital role. Even if a business is using a renewable, green energy sources, a careful consumption of energy may be a rational act. By acquiring energy audit services, businesses will not only be able to identify different ways of lowering energy consumption, but they will be able to enhance their overall production as well. Energy auditors conduct a deep analysis of the manufacturing facilities, and they recommend different ways that can be used to achieve lower energy costs and reduced emissions. Therefore, businesses that seek to optimize their energy consumption and lower their overall energy costs should consider the use of energy audits.
 

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