Energy Audits Are A Critical Step To Cost Savings & Energy Management

Northmore Gordon

An energy audit provides enormous benefits. If you are determined to maximise energy and carbon performance while minimising operational costs, then an energy audit underpins strategy, tactics, and investment decisions.

Energy waste is invisible. The common expression ‘out of sight, out of mind’ makes it all too easy for those operating homes, buildings, and industrial facilities to go about business as usual without optimising energy use.

The energy audit

A formal energy audit will provide an end-use energy breakdown for a whole site, which underpins strategic energy and carbon reduction management decisions. The audit provides valuable insight into energy improvement opportunities, capital cost estimates, projected annual savings, cost-benefit analyses, greenhouse gas savings, tariff analysis, and other benefits.

Our specialised team of energy experts and engineers are highly experienced in large-scale commercial and industrial operations and can provide the trained eye necessary to deliver an audit that upholds standards set out in AS/NZS 3598:2014.

Implementing energy efficiency measures directly reduces operating costs and lowers emissions. Yet it takes a trained eye and a thorough inspection to identify waste, inefficiency, and opportunities. This makes energy audits a fundamental part of any effective energy management plan.

Reduce energy costs

We find that businesses that haven’t conducted an energy audit in several years are likely spending 10-30% more on energy costs than necessary. This could be from inefficient equipment, poorly sized or specified equipment, poor control strategies, operations and maintenance practices, or a combination of these.

Technology is developing rapidly. Equipment that used to be efficient is now old or outdated, and modern plant control systems can better maintain efficiency at part loads. Plant services are a great place to look for these opportunities. For example, steam, compressed air, and chiller systems are commonly found to be running at low efficiencies. An energy audit provides performance benchmarking to evaluate their efficiency and determine steps for improvement.

Maintenance practices have a big part to play. For instance, a cooling tower system might have degraded fill, fouling, or poor maintenance of the temperature or pump control systems.

Operational procedures can be a cause of energy waste. For example, a facility with two boilers will operate more efficiently by running one boiler at 100% capacity with the other on standby than by having both boilers running at 50% capacity.

Sometimes relatively simple behavioural adjustments can allow for load shifting that results in significant energy cost reductions. For example, it may be cost-effective to stagger turning on equipment to avoid significant spikes in energy demand. Recognising and determining the impact of such adjustments requires a holistic understanding of the plant’s mechanical equipment, operational procedures, and utility rate structure.

The cheapest energy source is a facility’s unused energy. Energy audits are a critical step to identifying the flow of energy through a business, highlighting energy-intensive users and areas of waste, providing advice on the best energy tariffs, and recommending strategies to reduce overall costs. 

Lower emissions

Maximising energy efficiency is a cornerstone strategy for minimising your carbon footprint. When a facility improves efficiency, it lowers its Scope 1 emissions from onsite fuel combustion and Scope 2 emissions associated with purchased electricity.

Strengthen Energy Management Plan

Addressing energy efficiency is the best starting point for an energy management plan. It promotes measurable onsite improvement and reduces the scale for more costly decarbonisation pathways, such as electrification, fuel switching, or equipment replacement. Because of its direct effect on carbon emissions, energy efficiency measures should always be considered before purchasing carbon offsets. With energy efficiency optimised, a business has less need to purchase carbon offsets to address residual emissions.

Ultimately, executing on energy efficiency recommendations from a formal energy audit demonstrates a strategic and thoughtful approach to energy management and decarbonisation.

Partner with Northmore Gordon to simplify energy management

Northmore Gordon provides a full-service energy management consultancy and supports businesses at all stages of their energy and decarbonisation journey. A partnership with us will help you get there ahead of your competition.

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