Most of us have heard about energy audits – a process in which your building’s energy consumption pattern in analysed to identify improvements.
At the same time, only a few appear to take it seriously, with most feeling that it is just a feel good thing and not really super useful.
So, the question arises: Are energy audits really useful?
You bet! In my opinion, energy audits are one of the smartest investments a commercial or industrial unit can make to save on energy and consequently on power and heating bills.
There are multiple levels of energy audits.
The most basic level of energy audit is one in which the expert will just walk through your building and suggest some really simple changes that can be made immediately at almost no additional cost. These changes alone could save 2-3% of energy in many industrial and commercial sectors.
The second level of energy audit usually comprises a more detailed review of your heating, cooling and power equipment. This level usually results in suggestions for some replacements to be done. Such replacements could cost a bit, but can can save a further 3-5% of energy.
The third level of energy audit does a thorough review of every aspect of your energy use and could suggest some fundamental changes – such as replacing the insulation material used for the building, or replacing some large and inefficient machinery that could incur a significant capital cost. Implementing suggestions from this level could result in energy saving of up to 50%!
Even assuming you are not able to implement Level 3 owing to the investments required, implementing Level 1 and Level 2 changes alone could save 6-8% in energy consumption. Not bad at all given that you will be spending only marginal amounts, and requiring little time, to implement suggestions given in these two levels.
One of my friends, a well known energy auditor in fact says that the Level 1 of energy audit does not even require a specialist. Just general knowledge and awareness on the part of the building owner alone are enough to do that commonsense evaluation!