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Energy Audits: Developing a Plan
September 10, 2010
This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor of Print & E-Media with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip is developing a game plan for an energy audit.
Energy audits vary in complexity, so determining the exact scope and content of the audit is an important step for maintenance and engineering managers. Managers need to make sure those conducting the audit look for ways to optimize systems and reduce energy where possible.
The following four tasks help properly focus the auditors' efforts:
Understanding the building and building systems. Performing a walk-through survey of the building provides a better understanding of the facility's construction, equipment, and energy-consuming systems. Managers need to identify opportunities for equipment replacement and upgrades, as well as identify system modifications that might improve the overall performance of a major building system, such as the chilled-water system.
Understanding operation and maintenance. Talk with the engineering and operations staff regarding the operation and maintenance of a building's energy-consuming systems. Identify maintenance problems and practices that affect energy efficiency. Use the building-automation system or energy-management system to better understand the facility's operation.
Analyzing building energy use. Start with a review of utility bills. Managers can use these bills to understand a building's current energy use and, if possible, the trend of energy consumption in years past.
Reviewing utility rate options. Review current utility rates, including monthly demand and consumption charges. Managers also should identify on-, mid-, and off-peak charges.