Answer by Helen Santalla (Creara)
The first thing to consider is the scope of the energy audit to be performed, the size and the complexity of the facility and the skills and knowledge of the in-house auditor about the equipment to be analyzed.
When should I perform an audit in-house, when to outsource?
If you have some technical skills, you are knowledgeable about the facility’s energy consuming equipment and you follow some basic recommendations, you can potentially save up to 15% on your energy costs by doing some of the work yourself.
However, if the facility has sophisticated equipment and it is not easy to calculate their consumption or perform the energy balance, you will require professional contractors. The calculations for some energy saving measures also require the use of specific software, so you will require an expert to complete the job.
In addition, to perform the energy balance and determine the potential savings of some energy saving measures, it is sometimes necessary to use some metering devices such as thermal imaging cameras, power analyzers, lux meters etc. which are not usually available to everyone. In these cases it is necessary to enlist the help of a professional auditor.
What tools exist for a quick self-audit?
- Websites: there are many websites available on the internet that help us to calculate energy consumption, estimate energy balance, calculate potential energy savings, etc. Such applications allow estimations that can help you while conducting an energy audit. They are usually based on simple questions about the equipment in your facility and the hours of operation. For example, by entering basic data about appliances, lamps, heat pumps, etc, these web applications give results as to whether it is advisable to replace equipment from a cost point of view.
- Electricity metering: there are some specific metering devices available to measure the consumption of equipment in your facility. These metering devices operate in a very simple way by connection between the equipment you want to study and the network. They will give you a reading of the consumption in real time, cumulative historical consumption, etc. You can then monitor the equipment in your facility which consumes more energy and estimate an energy balance.
- Bibliography: there are also many publications and guidelines for energy efficiency. There are specific guidelines for both the methodology of energy audits and also on how to calculate specific energy saving measures for different sectors: dwellings, hotels, hospitals, shopping centres, etc. These can help you when calculating an energy balance and estimating the most common energy savings measures.
However, the best solution is to request a specialist’s services to successfully perform these studies.