During an energy efficiency audit, a trained engineer conducts an analysis of your facility’s energy use and identifies opportunities for enhanced efficiency that are likely to save your organization money and improve your environmental performance.
Many utilities provide free energy efficiency audits for large commercial operations. Contact your energy provider to find out if they offer a free or subsidized energy audit or other low cost options for evaluating your facility’s energy use. Many utilities will also assist your organization in finding rebates, subsidies and other incentives for energy efficiency improvements.
Your organization may also want to consult an energy service company (ESCO), which can conduct an energy audit and finance and install energy efficiency improvements, sometimes in exchange for a share of the energy cost savings. For a directory of ESCOs, visit the National Association of Energy Service Companies database.
ENERGY AUDITS SAVE MONEY
Reducing your energy consumption is smart business.
Through the installation of energy efficient LED lighting and electronically-commutated motors (ECMs) on refrigeration systems at stores and warehouses, Stop & Shop has saved $4 million in cost savings and utility rebates between 2008 and 2011. With the assistance of Bluestone Energy Services, these upgrades have saved over 46 million kWh in four years, with an average payback period of two years.
Between 1990 and 2008, IBM avoided 5,000,000 MWh of energy, yielding savings of over $340 million in direct energy expenses through energy conservation initiatives. IBM’s energy strategy now aims for even more reductions through efficiency and conservation, targeting a total reduction of 1.1 million MWh between 2009 and 2012. As of 2011, IBM has already made progress towards that goal, reducing electricity use by 523,000 MWh and saving an additional $50 million.
Between 2000 and 2006, with the assistance of Avista Advantage (now Ecova), an energy consulting company, Food Lion reduced energy consumption in its stores by 25%, even though its total number of stores increased. Through a variety of upgrades to lighting, HVAC, and refrigeration systems, the company has saved $105 million. Case Study
WHAT IS AN ENERGY EFFICIENCY AUDIT?
An energy efficiency audit analyzes and evaluates your organization’s existing energy use with an eye towards financial savings. Individual audits can vary, but they are likely to cover the following items:
- Available incentives
- Equipment rebates
- Time-of-use discounts
- Tax rebates and credits
- Baseline energy use profile
- Building envelope improvements
- Heating, Ventilation, and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) systems
- Retrofit and replacement
- Improved schedules
- Improved placement of thermostats and air sensors
- Improved computer programs
- Installation of timers and automatic sensors
- Replacement of light fixtures and bulbs
- Improved scheduling
- Plumbing improvements
- Identification of leaks
- Improved pipe insulation
- Overall design of your organization’s energy management program
- Solar and wind power feasibility studies
Electric power plants are the country’s largest industrial source of the pollutants that cause global warming, acid rain, and mercury poisoning in lakes and rivers. By conducting an energy audit your organization can identify ways to reduce its consumption of fossil fuels and its emission of greenhouse gases, as well as other pollutants such as sulfur dioxide (causes acid rain), nitrous oxide (creates ground level ozone and causes respiratory disease), mercury (poisons streams and lakes and causes neurological damage), and fine particulate matter (causes respiratory disease).
Step by step example of auditing methodology
EPA – Greenhouse Gas Emissions Calculator
EPA – Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Environmental Benefits and Cost Savings Calculator for Purchasers
Energy Star Savings Calculators
Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency