Energy Audit: A Best Practice Guide for your Commercial needs

Energy Audit A Best Practice Guide for your Commercial needs - Rotric

With the increasing cost of energy in Australia and demands placed on business by stakeholders to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, there has never been a better time to consider undertaking an energy audit of your workplace. 

 For most organisations’ energy is the second largest expense, so it’s critical for businesses to have a good understanding of how they are currently using energy and to identify areas of wastage and opportunities to save energy and reduce operating costs. 

What is an energy audit?

Energy Auditing was created to provide businesses with an understanding of their current situation in relation to energy usage, energy efficiency and to provide guidance on which area to focus resources and investment.

The term ‘Energy Audit’ is the official industry term and it refers to an assessment conducted to the Australian and New Zealand Standards AS/NZS 3598:2000 Energy Audits or AS/NZS 3598.1:2014 Energy Audits Commercial Buildings.

What are the different types of energy audits and which one is right for my business?

It’s important to consider the different types of audit to ensure you make the right decision for your business.

Type 1 (Basic Energy Audit) – A simple, cost effective, high level audit, best utilised for small sites or when budgets are tight. It will provide you with broad estimates of energy savings opportunities so you can begin improving your energy efficiency. Some companies commission a basic energy audit as a first step before committing to a detailed energy audit.

Type 2 (Detailed Energy Audit) – The standard ‘go to’ for a site-wide energy audit. It will provide you with specific recommendations with a medium level of accuracy – enough to underpin informed investment decisions on a range of available energy conservation measures.

Type 3 (Precision sub-system audit) – This is a specialised audit you can commission if you need to do a ‘deep dive’ on a particular sub-system that uses a lot of energy on your site. It will provide you with precise information on specific energy saving measures related to that sub-system.

What does an energy audit involve?

A typical energy audit involves an investigation of the following to provide the basis of the audit report: 

  • Energy consumption analysis of utility bills
  • Assigning energy consumption to end-use areas
  • Analysing trends and irregularities
  • Observing and reviewing specific plant and equipment to establish energy use profiles
  • Energy saving analysis
  • Identifying, analysing and providing recommendations of viable energy saving opportunities (LED lighting upgrade or Solar Panel roof installation)

For the auditor to provide an accurate report, they will need access to the following:

  • Visual observations from site visit
  • Energy billing data
  • Interviews with operational staff
  • Visual inspections of the building materials and building services
  • Operating practices in place at the time of the audit
  • Engineering drawings where available

Based on analysis of the above data the auditor will then detail and quantify each energy saving opportunity and provide guidance and recommendations as well as an estimate for the implementation costs.

Energy Savings Estimates

  • All costs and savings are presented in a summary table.
  • Dollar Saving estimates are based on energy rates as listed in the utility bills.
  • Power Saving Estimates are present in a summary table illustrating existing consumption vs proposed consumption following infrastructure upgrades.
  • Savings estimates are typically accurate to within ± 20% (for Type 2 Energy Audits).

Type 3 “energy audits” carried out for the specific purpose of developing a proposal to implement a performance-based energy savings project are usually calculated to ± 0% accuracy, especially when the service provider is prepared to offer guarantees in terms of energy savings.

Ongoing Cost Savings Estimates

  • The ongoing cost saving is the sum of energy savings estimates and any potential maintenance cost savings. Please note that the maintenance cost savings in energy audits are derived by calculating the benefit of replacing existing equipment with long life and energy efficiency alternatives. Budget cost estimates do not include associated consulting fees or in-house time, if applicable.

Implementation Cost Estimates

Implementation cost estimates associated with the recommendations allow for supply and installation of equipment (excluding GST). 

Energy Audit A Best Practice Guide for your Commercial needs - Rotric

Why energy audits don’t always lead to energy efficiency?

Energy audits don’t always lead to energy efficiency because whilst most energy consultants and auditors can provide valuable insight and guidance on the areas to improve, very few of them specialise in the design and implementation of energy saving solutions.

This is where the benefits of implementing the proposed energy and cost savings can be swallowed up in the procurement process with the time spent engaging various suppliers, contractors, manufacturers etc. 

The solution is to engage an energy service company as your one-point of contact and to let them handle the coordination and implementation of the trades and services.

This is where it’s important to speak to a Commercial Electrician.  

Our energy management and LED lighting team at Rotric have the knowledge and capacity to undertake an audit of your facilities and to make recommendations on where you can save on energy and costs and where your business can avoid wastage.

We can provide an obligation free proposal for a lighting upgrade from your existing fittings to an energy efficient LED alternative, which may also qualify for the subsidy provided by the NSW Energy Saving Scheme.

With the financial incentives provided by our State Government – there has never been a better time in NSW to consider an upgrade of your existing infrastructure to new energy efficient alternatives available in the market, so get in touch with our team now.