Energy Audits Are Changing
The field of Energy Auditing is changing.
Energy Audits are a standard practice for companies embarking on energy efficiency projects and investments. The process is essential for the Consultant in order to establish a meaningful inventory of all the mechanical systems consuming gas, water and electricity throughout a facility. Utility payments history, weather data, production, management practices, and infrastructure information are then overlaid to create a baseline profile of how and where utility-related costs are being spent in an operation. Once the “table is set”, system recommendations can be simulated to assess the bottom line cost-effect. Based on this information a Consultant will recommend a suite of efficiency modifications to best lower utility and water charges to improve system-wide efficiency and performance. Efficiency projects are typically a 3-6 year return-on-investment, far faster than most renewable power investments.
These studies, however, can be huge, and expensive. Although valuable, they can be tough to justify because the savings are unknown at the beginning of study.
Energy Audits are changing.
Conventional Energy Audits are inherently “static”. They represent a point in time for a facility operation. Material costs, financing, ROI estimates and implementation schedules all have a window of opportunity. Depending on a company’s internal decision process and budgets, recommendations can linger for months – even years. By the time a decision is reached, calculations must often be updated to reflect changing utility costs, interest rates even material costs.
Consensus Energy has developed a Strategic Energy Management system whereby circuit level data, water metering and utility rate monitoring is mapped and uploaded – real time -- into the cloud along with systemwide inventory information. This creates a “dynamic” platform for energy auditing: systems performance, utility costs, financing terms, weather and technology trends are no longer stuck in a point in time but are instead dynamic and constantly updated. Companies can make decisions when market circumstances are right. Also real time baseline information makes performance contracting (PC) and Evaluation, Measurement and Verification (EM&V) a breeze. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) can also be integrated into the system so that future costs are forecast and quantified, further improving cost efficiencies.
Big Data is changing the way energy is being used in the country. Energy Efficiency is a primary beneficiary of affordable circuit level monitoring and cloud storage. There are many excellent software platforms that can be programmed to alert property managers of cost deviations, system malfunctions, weather changes, technology simulations -- even tax and rebate incentives and more. Mechanical modifications and their returns-on-investment are based on real time pricing and market trends.
Don’t get stuck behind a stack of paper! If you’re going to do the important baseline work of energy auditing, be sure and leave behind a system architecture that will keep all of your inventory information relevant to up to date market data and technology costs.
Call me to learn more.