Energy auditors play an essential role in helping you understand the entire picture of your business or home’s energy condition. Properly conducted utility energy audits followed by a solid implementation plan often results in massive energy savings.
Conversely, unprofessional utility energy audits result in increased energy use, less-than-average savings, and a bad investment, regardless of how good the implementation plan is. Professionalism and expertise are crucial requirements for auditors to ensure accurate results. Below is a comprehensive guide on utility energy audits and the common errors that experts often uncover in utility energy audits.
What Is a Utility Energy Audit?
A utility energy audit is an inspection, analysis, and survey of a building’s energy flow as part of energy conservation. It often involves a system or process to minimize the amount of energy input into a system without impacting the output negatively.
Whether commercial or residential, a utility energy audit serves to reduce energy expenses and the property’s carbon footprint. While a do-it-yourself energy audit is possible, experts recommend hiring a professional for utility energy audits, especially for commercial establishments. An energy audit, when done professionally, can unmask certain errors that you ought to rectify as part of energy conservation.
Types of Errors Typical in Utility Energy Audits
1. Missed Improvements
This is a common error in over 80% of audits. A comprehensive utility energy audit is critical for several reasons, the top one being economy of scale. Unfortunately, most establishments are still missing readily available improvements.
Energy auditors often miss evaluating such practical improvements for avoidable reasons such as:
- Insufficient budgeting
- Lack of proper training
- Little time spent within the premises
- Directives from property owners to neglect such improvements
An energy audit needs to have neglected at least three of the following to qualify as having missed an improvement:
- Fenestration improvements
- HVAC controls
- Roof/wall insulation
- High-efficiency lighting
- Lighting controls
- High-efficiency domestic hot water
- High-efficiency HVAC
Professional energy auditors should then give property owners a reasonable selection of improvement options for them to choose from.
2. Weak Improvement Scope
A utility energy audit should accurately convey the scope of the notable improvements. The energy auditor should also share a clear description with the property owner and the contractors hired to implement the improvements.
If there’s a failure to provide a clear improvement scope, then the property owner and contractors may implement an incorrect or incomplete scope. Consequently, they will not achieve the desired level of energy savings.
3. Poor Improvement Selection
For this to qualify as an error, the audit should have an improvement with a payback that is longer than the expected or predicted life of the improvement. Unfortunately, while long-payback improvements may seem appealing to property owners, for non-energy reasons, there is a chance of missing possible future vital improvements.
Other common errors associated with utility energy audits also include:
- Poor building descriptions
- Inadequate reviews
- Inadequate billing analysis
- Overestimated savings
- Improvement life not provided or too long
Auditors should be well-trained and licensed to ensure an error-free auditing process. If your company wants to save money on utility auditing, then consider hiring professional auditors with years of experience and certification to prove expertise. As part of cost containment, companies should consider hiring utility auditors with expertise and business-friendly pricing.
Internal auditing also helps to discover such errors beforehand. However, there is a need to ensure internal auditors get the proper level of training and expertise in the field to reduce the likelihood of errors uncovered during utility auditing.
Benefits of Utility Energy Audits
Regardless of the business type you run, a utility energy audit is better than simply writing off changing utility costs as seasonal fluctuations. Additionally, using an energy audit helps to keep a business cost-effective, energy-efficient, and compliant. An energy audit for a business includes:
- Energy contract management
- Expert energy management advice
- Business consumption analysis and recommendation
- Water tariff review
- Business electricity and gas tariff review
Below are the benefits of your business having an energy audit. Your organization can:
1. Identify Energy-Efficient Cost-Saving Opportunities
The audit will help you identify where your energy is going to waste. With this data, you can then work on an implementation plan to reduce extra expenses.
2. Rectify Carbon Emissions
Generally, several industries still run on coal power, which emits massive carbon volumes into the atmosphere. This is an environmental disadvantage and may put a business in trouble with relevant authorities. Under the Clean Air Act, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the authority to monitor and regulate gas emissions.
3. Claim Back on Historic Bills
Part of your energy audit should include rigorous bill validation. A comprehensive past utility bill audit allows a business to claim any possibly remaining dues from suppliers.
After an audit, ensure you report it on your Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) and Display Energy Certificates (DECs). This is to ensure transparency and ongoing compliance.
Are you tired of mediocre energy audits by unprofessional auditors? Then Util Auditors is here to change the narrative. We provide top-tier utility energy audit services for different commercial entities.
We serve you passionately and professionally, with your end goals in mind. With us, rest assured that you will notice an improvement in energy efficiency, and ultimately, a reduction in utility costs. Contact us for reliable utility energy auditing services.