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 is:
- What Energy is being used at the site
- Meter Readings
- Site Plans/Building Layout
- Location of Sub Meters, Plant Room
- Who 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 half-hourly 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:
- Half Hourly consumption data 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. Consider the condition and controls of the environmental plant. The older the systems and the built form for example, then the less energy efficient it will be. Or, if your building has ill- fitting doors or windows, damaged insulation on hot water carrying pipework, possibly single glazing, holes in the external walls and poor insulation then your energy costs will be higher.
Are the Environmental Plant and Controls in Good Condition?
This also applies with the environmental plant, if it isn’t serviced regularly and is as installed in the building on day 1 of operations then the amount of energy consumed, against the benefits to the occupants will be greatly reduced. Just ask yourself, just how many layers of paint are on those radiators and how may room thermostats are sitting next to the print-centre or over a heat source. A simple tip at the end of the day if anything is buzzing, hissing, bleeping, glowing or flashing it is often consuming unnecessary power.
What about Air-Flow?
Also think about air-flow, often we feel think we’re lethargic and tired due to being hot. Often we have seen that it is because air flow has been interrupted within the premises. Over the years, partitions for meeting rooms and offices may have been installed which has blocked the free flow of fresh air.
Speak To The People
Also speak with the employees often they know where energy can be saved because they work with it day to day. Their behaviours and housekeeping impact energy consumption massively, there is a train of thought that most buildings are energy efficient until you introduce people. The users also know that, really, the setting they may have on their workstation is always ‘in that position’ not because it is the most efficient setting but because ‘they can’t be bothered to adjust it’ or waste the time ‘turning it on or off’.
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 is 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 and carbon reduction.