The current world’s energy problem has prompted us to create new energy-efficient structures. Existing buildings, on the other hand, use a lot of conventional energy, and reducing it will help us save it for the future. It would also assist us in meeting the Energy Efficiency criteria.
The initial expenses of this switch would be expensive, but lower energy bills over time would offset them, allowing the sector to make significant profits while also helping the environment. The systematic gathering and analysis of energy data from a specific facility in order to adopt energy conservation measures is known as an energy audit.
An energy audit determines where and how energy is consumed, as well as the possibility of energy savings. It involves a walk-through assessment, an examination of energy-using systems, a study of energy use, and the creation of an energy budget, as well as a baseline against which future energy use may be measured. An audit can be carried out by a company employee with the necessary competence or by a specialised energy auditing firm. An energy audit report also offers actionable recommendations that will save energy and money. It should also include the costs and savings associated with each suggested action, as well as a priority order for implementation.
Energy Audit is defined as “the verification, monitoring, and analysis of energy use, including the submission of a technical report containing recommendations for improving energy efficiency with cost benefit analysis and an action plan to reduce energy consumption” under the Energy Conservation Act of 2001.
TYPES OF ENERGY AUDITS
Building energy audits can range from a quick walk-through to a comprehensive computer simulation of the investigation. In general, there are four different types of energy audits, as listed below.
1. Conduct a walk-through audit
This entails a quick onsite visit to inspect the facilities. Simple, low-cost activities for immediate energy savings can be implemented as a result of this. Repairing broken glass windows, decreasing the preset temperatures of HVAC systems according to utility, and altering boiler-air fuel ratios are all examples of this. This is normally a routine maintenance activity that is carried out on a regular basis to increase the efficiency of energy systems.
2. Analysis of Utility Costs
This type of audit entails a thorough examination of the facility’s operating costs. Energy bills, peak demands, energy use patterns, and weather effects are found using data collected over a long period of time. This aids in the establishment of a cost-utility relationship. Typically, this stage entails:
Checking utility charges and verifying that the monthly energy bills are calculated correctly. This is critical since energy rate arrangements for industrial facilities might be complicated.
Another aspect of this analysis is determining the main charges in energy bills. Peak demand accounts for a large portion of the cost of power usage. As a result, supplemental energy measures can be proposed to reduce peak demand.
Examining whether the facility could benefit from alternative fuels that are less expensive than the ones now in use. This will result in huge energy bill savings. Furthermore, by evaluating utility data, the energy auditor can decide whether or not the facility is ready for energy retrofit initiatives. Indeed, the facility’s energy consumption can be standardised and compared to indices (for example, energy consumption per unit of floor area for commercial buildings, or per unit of product for industrial facilities).
3. Energy Audit (Basic)
The standard audit includes a thorough examination of the facility’s energy systems. The standard energy audit includes the development of a baseline for the facility’s energy use as well as the evaluation of energy savings and cost effectiveness of appropriately selected energy conservation measures, in addition to the activities described for the walk-through audit and the utility cost analysis described above. The standard energy audit has a similar step-by-step approach to the detailed energy audit.
In a conventional energy audit, simpler technologies are typically used to construct baseline energy models and anticipate the energy savings of energy conservation measures. The degree-day approaches and linear regression models are two of these instruments. In addition, to estimate the cost-effectiveness of energy conservation measures, a basic payback analysis is commonly used.
4. Comprehensive Energy Audit
This is the most thorough, but also the most time-consuming, sort of energy audit. The use of devices to measure energy use for the entire building and/or for some energy systems within the structure is part of the detailed energy audits (for instance, by end uses: lighting, office equipment, fans, chiller, etc.). In addition, for extensive energy audits to analyse and recommend energy retrofits, sophisticated computer simulation programmes are commonly used.
There are a variety of approaches for performing measurements for an energy audit. Hand-held and clamp-on devices can be used during an on-site visit to assess the variance of some building metrics such the indoor air temperature, brightness level, and electrical energy use. Sensors are often employed when long-term measurements are required, and they are connected to a data collecting system so that recorded data can be stored and accessed remotely. Techniques for non-intrusive load monitoring (NILM) have recently been proposed. Using only a single pair of sensors at the facility service entry, the NILM approach may identify the real-time energy use of important electrical loads in a facility. When compared to the traditional method, the NILM methodology requires less effort.
The NILM is a particularly attractive and economical load-monitoring approach for energy service businesses and facility owners since it does not require a separate set of sensors to monitor energy usage for each end use. The energy use distribution by load type is often provided by the computer simulation programmes used in the full energy audit (i.e., energy use for lighting, fans, chillers, boilers, etc.). They’re frequently based on the dynamic thermal performance of the building’s energy systems and necessitate a high level of engineering knowledge and training.In a full energy audit, a more thorough economic assessment of energy conservation strategies is usually carried out. Specifically, rather of a simple payback period study, the cost-effectiveness of energy retrofits can be estimated using a life-cycle cost (LCC) analysis.
When you buy a commercial or industrial facility, you must do a regulatory energy audit in order to comply with the current European law. The overall goal of this diagnosis is to assess the buildings’ energy efficiency. The energy audit of a building follows a certain procedure that is described in a set of specifications.
The energy audit starts with a thorough inventory of the structure. Following that, there is an energy evaluation and a set of recommendations aimed at improving the site’s energy efficiency. Finally, the energy audit’s purpose is to estimate the cost of any proposed renovations or equipment. The ADEME (French Environment and Energy Management Agency) has established the major steps in conducting an energy audit.
Examine the structure
Before going through the building, the expert gathers all of the information needed for the energy audit. The idea is to gain a sense of how much energy the building uses. It’s also a good time to start thinking about how to improve things. On the job, the operator takes a variety of measurements that allow him to establish a “zero point,” which corresponds to the existing elements that still need to be upgraded. The building energy audit examines the facilities’ performance at a certain point in time. Knowing where to start permits efforts to increase the building’s energy efficiency to be as cost-effective as possible.
The specialist can measure the house’s energy losses with the use of a thermal camera. He also creates an initial report using existing papers (invoice, technical data sheet, dpe, etc.). The thermal analysis serves as a foundation for establishing an improvement strategy. Following the audit, the expert has a collection of information from the building’s owner or purchaser, as well as the results of several research. He double-checks the data’s working conditions, ensuring that they match the planned improvements and issues identified in the building energy audit.
The building renovation plan or energy improvement program
The expert determines a renovation plan or action plan based on the results acquired at the end of the audit. This entails the creation of a number of scenarios aimed at lowering building energy usage. Whatever the case may be, improving building performance takes into account both your expectations and demands, as well as the steps taken throughout the audit and the findings reached at the end. Financial analysis is also part of the energy improvement programme. It allows you to not only estimate the cost of renovations and other improvements, but also to calculate the return on investment for each of the possibilities for improving the site’s energy management. It allows you to keep track of which workstations you’re using.