An energy audit comprises a detailed analysis of the energy performance of a company, equipment, system(s) or process(es). It includes the appropriate measurement and observation of energy use, energy efficiency and consumption and ranks recommendations for improvement also in terms of financial benefits.
Companies should get an Energy audit to identify and prioritize opportunities to improve energy performance, reduce energy waste, reduce running costs and obtain related environmental benefits.
The different types of Energy Audits
Depending on the needs of the company and the funding available for the audit, there are three types of assessments which may be carried out. The level of detail of the energy audit can be adjusted between the three types:
Type 1 is sometimes also referred to as a Walk-Through. As the name suggests, this consists of a walk-through inspection of a facility to identify maintenance, operational or deficient equipment issues and also to identify areas that need further evaluation. The results of a Walk-Through include an identification of energy saving opportunities, a qualitative analysis of the implementation of energy saving measures and an estimation of its potential energy saving. The final report is usually accompanied by basic comments on a project’s feasibility. For small companies or facilities this can be considered as an energy audit however it is usually recommended that a deeper assessment takes place to reap the full benefits of an audit. For larger companies/facilities it can be a preliminary audit.
Type 2 If the company intends to invest an amount of money in energy efficiency measures, an Investment Grade Audit would be needed. This audit is a detailed account of energy use, including a quantitative study of the implementation with detailed investments, operational and maintenance costs, and an analysis of the investment model. The results of an Investment Grade Audit include the real energy demand and an energy balance. Likewise, the audit suggests a number of energy saving measures, including the calculation of energy savings and the investment needed to carry them out. This audit proposes bundled measures, with a financing plan as well as implementation and savings verification plans.
Type 3 can also be referred to as Energy Diagnosis, because a company can obtain enough information about its facility to start working on energy efficiency, with a very good quality-to-price ratio. This audit includes performing economic calculations and may include using some metering devices to identify actual energy consumption and losses. The results of an Energy Diagnosis include an energy balance (energy uses breakdown) and a list of energy efficiency measures derived from performance or building facility. The results also include financial analysis for each of the identified measures in order to categorize and prioritize the implementation of these measures.
How to benefit from the SME Audit scheme – Step by step
Below is a step by step guide on how to benefit from the SME Audit scheme, but before any of the following steps are carried out, the company would need to apply for a grant under this scheme through an application form found on The Energy & Water Agency website. Following the completion of the energy audit, the enterprise will be required to submit the detailed report compiled by the auditor and a claim for reimbursement.
- The company engages a registered Energy Auditor - you can find a list of registered auditors with REWS here.
- A preliminary meeting is then held between the auditor and company management to agree on an Energy Audit Plan. Based on information about the company size and operations a plan is drafted on what areas will be monitored, what support staff is needed (if any) and if there are any particular concerns the management wishes to tackle.
- Data collection will then commence, where the auditor will look at data that is available on energy consumption, water consumption, company size, list of energy consuming assets, etc. From this step the auditor will also identify what data is missing and needs to be collected.
- The auditor and the company will agree on a measurement plan that will cover actual metering of certain points in the electrical system along with areas of major consumption. This will allow the auditor to confirm data collected and identify patterns/issues in energy consumption.
- Site visits are then carried out for the auditor to be able to install/monitor/change metering equipment. During these visits the auditor will also observe in detail the company operations and systems to study patterns and possible areas of concerns.
- The auditor will then analyse the information collected to confirm the energy performance of the company, identify improvement opportunities and evaluate these opportunity improvements both from an energy savings perspective, but most importantly from a financial aspect.
- A final Energy Audit Report is then compiled by the auditor including all the information collected during the energy audit process. This document will contain the analysis of energy performance and suggested improvements including detailed technical and financial analysis.
- Following the submission of the report a closing meeting is held with the company, whereby the auditor explains the outcomes of the audit and the suggested improvements. At this stage the company might discuss further actions to be taken such as the implementation of some suggested measures. The audit report can be used as a basis for energy investment grants offered by the government or financial institutions.