How to Perform an Energy Audit on Your Business
If you own or manage a business, it likely uses energy every day. However, do you know how much your business consumes? Or what kinds of energy-efficient measures your business should implement to lower costs and operate more efficiently? If you answered no to either of those questions, then you’re not alone. Roughly two-thirds of U.S. businesses don’t perform an energy audit on their business premises. This is a shame because an energy audit can be a useful way for businesses to identify how they can save money and operate more efficiently.
What is an energy audit?
An audit is a complete evaluation of a property’s energy use. Audits can be conducted by a professional engineer, a third-party service provider, or a business owner. Typically, an energy audit will include a review of the building’s current energy use, an estimate of what the building will use in the future, and a look at ways to reduce electricity and gas consumption now, to reduce costs later.
Why Conduct an Audit?
A lot of people think of an audit as just a way for an engineer or service provider to make money by charging businesses for service. However, audits are also an important way for businesses to manage their energy use and costs. Doing an audit can help you identify areas of your business that are using a lot of energy, and help you prioritize areas where you should focus efforts first. For example, if your business is currently using 6,000 kWh per month, but you know that you’re currently planning on installing new equipment, you may want to first look at ways to decrease consumption.
How to Conduct an Audit
First, let’s talk about where to start your audit. Before you even think about what to look for in your audit, you should first know what your business is currently doing. When you start your audit, you’ll have a better idea of what to look for and what to ask your business employees about. Open any cabinets, desks, or other areas in your business that may contain equipment, as these are a common source of energy waste. Take a look at the types of equipment your business uses and whether there are any areas where the equipment might be using a lot of energy, even if it isn’t being used often. For each area that you find that is using a lot of energy, ask yourself these questions: What is the source of the energy?
Things to Look For in a Business Energy Audit
– Building Energy Use – The building itself is usually a major source of energy use. For example, an empty office building may be using more energy than an active office building. If the building is old, inefficient, or has poor insulation, it may also be one of the most expensive things your business is spending on energy. – Energy Sources – Some businesses use a lot of energy because they have bad habits around their energy use. For example, if you have a coffee machine running almost all day, you may be wasting a lot of energy. – Energy Efficiency – If your business is using a lot of energy, it’s important to find areas where you can reduce or eliminate those costs. Energy efficiency is a common way to do just that.
Tips for Getting Started in Your Business Energy Audit
– Know Thyself – Don’t try to audit your business in a vacuum. Before you start looking for ways to save energy, you should know what you’re spending it on and what you’re using it for now. This can help you identify where you might be wasting energy. – Don’t Overcomplicate Things – Energy audits are often complicated. Don’t make them more complicated than they need to be. Instead, focus on the simple things you can do now to save money and save money later in the long run. – Be Open to Ideas – If your audit comes up with ways to reduce energy in certain areas of your business, don’t just accept that. Instead, ask yourself if those areas are still necessary and if there are other ways to do what you do now. – Start Small – It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re starting your audit, so start small.
At the end of the day, there’s no such thing as a perfect business. However, there are a handful of ways for you to take action and make your business more efficient, save money, and operate as efficiently as possible. A business energy audit is one way to get started. Keep in mind that audits are helpful, but they’re not a silver bullet. With any change, there will be challenges. There will be days when you feel overwhelmed, and there will be days when you feel like you can’t make any progress. Keep going, keep trying, and above all else, keep learning. Your business will be better for it.