By Cory Peterson
LED Lighting Supply
A recent study by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) revealed that the industrial sector accounted for 35% of end-use energy consumption and 33% of total energy utilization in the US.
These statistics may not be surprising for facilities managers as they are aware of the real-time energy consumption in industrial operations.
However, to keep their facility running efficiently, they should identify the massive energy draws and take steps to cut them down. This can also help in reducing energy costs and carbon footprint.
The best way to achieve this goal is to perform an energy audit.
In this post, we will share what an energy audit is, the best time to do it, and the best practices to minimize energy consumption.
What is an Energy Audit?
An energy audit is an assessment that helps organizations understand their electricity usage and efficiency. A registered energy auditor visits the firm and prepares a detailed report on energy utilization.
For instance, the findings of the report can include:
- Heavy usage of computers, heaters, machines, and other industrial equipment
- Air leaks in equipment connections
- Inefficient and outdated lighting
- Poorly performing air compressors
With energy audit reports, organizations can pinpoint trouble areas and identify practical ways to improve energy performance, thereby reducing carbon footprint and saving money.
According to a survey in 2020 by Stony Brook University, only 9% of respondents have performed energy audits, which is alarming. No wonder, energy usage has increased massively in the past decade.
What’s the Best Time to Perform an Energy Audit?
Any season of the year is suitable for industrial energy audits.
However, energy audits work best in winter because the cold temperature helps the auditor get precise insights about heat escaping from the building and cold air coming in.
Facilities managers who want to conduct energy audits in summer should consider afternoon time as air conditioning can help compensate for additional heat.
What’s Involved in Energy Auditing?
An energy audit is performed in the following three steps.
- The Initial Walk-through
The energy audit begins with a walk-through. An experienced auditor or an audit team visits the organization and overviews the daily work processes and utilities.
For instance, they analyze the heating and cooling systems, the number of doors and windows, and other measurements. This helps them gauge energy consumption and problematic areas.
Based on the observations, they create a list of data required to audit the space precisely.
- Collection of Energy Bills and Available Data
The facilities managers need to collect and share energy bills and various data with the auditor. The purpose is to help the auditing team understand the operating procedures in the organization.
Here’s the data to consider.
- Energy bills and invoices (including fuels) for the past 2-3 years
- Monthly production data for the last couple of years
- Climatic data of the auditing period
- Engineering plans, year of construction, renovation, operating hours of the plants
- Equipment-related data
The auditor may also ask to submit data about energy-saving measures (if any).
- Conducting the Final Analysis
During the final analysis, the auditor prepares a flowchart to highlight the energy usage of the systems. It comprises an overview of the operations, areas of energy usage, sources of wastage, and best practices to follow. This analysis helps organizations implement tactics to boost their organization’s energy efficiency.
6 Best Practices to Save Energy
Here are the top 6 best practices that can help organizations save energy.
#1: Reduce Equipment Idling
The industrial equipment that needs to be operated for long hours is usually left idle after usage.
So, the professionals should keep a tab on their operating hours and shut them down when not in use. This can help improve the life of the equipment, thereby minimizing energy costs.
#2: Unplug Electronics
Electronic devices like computers, coffee machines, fax machines, and others consume energy when plugged in, even if not in use.
Replacing traditional applications with energy-saving electronics can prove beneficial. The organization can even opt for motion-controlled devices for smart usage.
#3: Increase Efficiency with LEDs
High-intensity discharge (HID) lights, including metal halides, take time to warm up and thus consume more power. They can cost organizations hundreds of dollars.
On the other hand, LEDs have high lumen output and a five times longer lifespan than metal halides. So, industry experts recommend replacing traditional bulbs with LEDs can be a great move. Industrial facilities can even install LEDs in exterior spaces like signage, exit signs, and more. This can further help them achieve an energy-efficient workplace.
#4: Replace Air Filters
Facilities managers should replace air filters every couple of months, especially when they are used to processing heavy particulate matter.
#5: Install Programmable Thermostats
Programmable thermostats can help maintain the right temperature in the industrial setting throughout the day. So, managers should install them for temperature control.
#6: Apply Cool Roof Coatings
White-colored paint absorbs less sunlight compared to traditional roofing. So, facilities managers can use highly reflective white paint coating to reduce heat.
Besides providing better energy performance, energy audits help minimize carbon footprint, thereby providing health benefits to professionals in an organization.
At Sustainable Investment Group (SIG), we have a team of professionals that help organizations with energy audits. Our team visits the specific location to understand the design and layout of the system. Our engineers walk through the rooms, the roof, and other spaces to track the energy consumption. We can help fill in any gaps in the daily operations by outlining a detailed plan.
By implementing our recommendations, organizations can save massive money and experience better energy performance.
We provide services across the globe from our offices in Atlanta, Boulder, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and New York.
If you need an energy audit for your building, contact us for a free estimate today!
Cory Peterson is Director of Sales & Marketing at LED Lighting Supply where he focuses on improving customer experience and revenue operations. Cory writes about commercial, industrial and sport lighting, along with topics important to contractors and facility managers. In his free time, Cory enjoys traveling, snorkeling, boxing and cooking.
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