Energy costs are one of the largest monthly expenditures at a Multifamily asset. Unnecessary energy consumption is not only bad for the bottom line but can also be bad for the environment and put undue pressure on local resources at times of high demand. While energy consumption is built into budget assumptions, there are many ways to reduce overall consumption and cost of the energy being used. A good place to start is to identify the areas that can improve efficiency and reduce costs, this can be done through an energy audit.
An Energy Audit is a process that aims to identify opportunities to improve the energy efficiency of a building. Energy Audits typically include Energy Consumption Analysis, Building Inspection, Identification of Energy-Saving Opportunities, a Recommendation & Implementation Plan, and Monitoring & Evaluation. Overall, the goal of an energy audit is to reduce energy consumption and costs, improve comfort, and increase the overall sustainability of the building.
Energy Consumption Analysis
Energy Consumption Analysis is a crucial component of an energy audit. It involves gathering data on the amount of energy used in the building, including electricity, gas, water, and other sources. This data is then analyzed to identify patterns and trends in energy usage, which can provide insights into areas where energy is being wasted or consumed unnecessarily.
To gather data for this analysis, an auditor typically uses a combination of sources, including utility bills, meter readings, and building management systems. This data can be used to calculate the building’s overall energy consumption, as well as to analyze energy usage in specific areas or systems, such as heating, cooling, lighting, and appliances.
Once the data has been collected and analyzed, the auditor can use it to identify areas where energy is being wasted. For example, they may discover that a particular area of the building is using more energy than it needs to due to inefficient lighting, heating, or cooling systems. They may also identify areas where energy is being consumed during periods of low occupancy or when it is not needed, such as overnight or on weekends.
The results of an Energy Consumption Analysis are an important starting point for identifying opportunities to improve energy efficiency. By identifying where energy is being consumed unnecessarily, the auditor will have some great starting points for the Building Inspection.
Building Inspection is a key component of an Energy Audit that involves the physical examination of the building. During a building inspection, the auditor visually inspects various systems and components of the building, including heating and cooling systems, insulation, windows, and lighting, to assess their condition and identify opportunities for energy-saving improvements. The inspector will look for things such as leaks, drafts, inadequate insulation, and outdated equipment. The results of the building inspection provide valuable information that can be used to develop a sustainable implementation plan.
Identification of Energy-Saving Opportunities
The Identification of Energy-Saving Opportunities is another critical step in an Energy Audit. It involves analyzing the data collected during the Energy Consumption Analysis and Building Inspection to identify areas where energy can be saved. The auditor will consider factors such as energy usage patterns, the efficiency of building systems and equipment, and the behavior of the building’s occupants.
One common energy-saving opportunity is the use of more efficient lighting systems. For example, the auditor may recommend switching from incandescent or fluorescent lights to LED lights, which are more energy-efficient and have a longer lifespan. Another opportunity is to upgrade heating and cooling systems to more efficient models, such as high-efficiency furnaces or air-source heat pumps. The auditor may also recommend improvements to insulation and air sealing to reduce drafts and heat loss.
In addition, the auditor may also identify opportunities for reducing energy consumption through changes in behavior. For example, they may recommend that occupants turn off lights and electronics when they are not in use or adjust thermostats to reduce heating and cooling during periods of low occupancy.
The goal of this process is to identify cost-effective measures that will reduce energy consumption and improve comfort. The auditor will prioritize these measures based on factors such as cost, feasibility, and potential energy savings, and develop a Recommendation & Implementation plan that outlines the identified opportunities and the steps needed to make the improvements.
Recommendation & Implementation
The Recommendation & Implementation plan is the final stage of an Energy Audit, where the auditor presents their findings for improving the energy efficiency of a building. This plan outlines the steps needed to implement the energy-saving measures identified during the Identification of Energy-Saving Opportunities.
The auditor will consider the resources available for implementing the measures, such as funding, manpower, and equipment, and develop a timeline for completion. The plan will also outline the responsibilities of different stakeholders, such as building owners, occupants, and contractors, and provide a budget for the implementation of the measures.
The Recommendation & Implementation plan is an important tool for ensuring that the energy-saving measures identified during the audit are successfully implemented and result in significant energy and cost savings. By providing a clear roadmap this plan can help create a more sustainable and cost-effective building environment.
Monitoring & Evaluation
Monitoring & Evaluation helps to determine the effectiveness of the energy-saving measures implemented. It involves regularly monitoring the building’s energy consumption after the energy-saving measures have been put into place and evaluating their effectiveness in reducing energy consumption and costs.
This process can be done through various methods, such as collecting data from utility bills, meter readings, and building management systems, or by conducting periodic inspections of the building. The data collected during monitoring and evaluation can be used to determine whether the energy-saving measures are having the desired effect, and to identify areas where further improvements can be made. The results of Monitoring & Evaluation are important for ensuring that the building is operating as efficiently as possible, and for making data-driven decisions about future energy-saving measures.
Energy Audits are a long, but necessary, process for reducing costs and increasing your buildings energy-efficiency. Companies like EnergyServ Solutions understand how complex this process can be and strive to simplify the Energy Audit experience for its customers. Not only can EnergyServ Solutions provide you with a complete audit, but they can assist with the energy procurement process.