The electricity prices in Australia have been rising unabatedly. While large businesses typically have the pricing power and staying ability to either absorb or pass on the rising energy costs, most small and medium enterprises are unable to do that. A small or medium enterprise is defined as one that employs up to 200 people and has an annual energy consumption of up to 16 Mwh. If you are a small or medium-sized business owner, conducting an energy audit can help you discover ways to cut down on electric consumption and save money.
What is Business Energy Audit?
The goal of a business energy audit is to get a bird’s eye view of the current energy usage across the organisation and discover inefficient energy habits. An energy audit need not be time-consuming. The eventual goal is to discover areas where more efficient ways of using energy, such as solar power, can be implemented thus resulting in cost savings and a reduction in your carbon footprint.
An energy audit focuses on every single thing including the exterior of the building, interior, fixtures used inside and outside as well as ways systems interact with each other.
Why Carry out an Energy Audit for Your Business?
Here are a few reasons why every business should carry out an energy audit:
- Reduction in energy expenses
- Identification of malfunctioning equipment
- Enhanced employee comfort
- Know about more energy-efficient systems
- Reduction in carbon footprint
- Enhanced equipment service life
One of the most obvious benefits of carrying out an energy audit is saving money in the long term. There have been several reports suggesting that an energy audit can help an organisation bring down their energy usage by up to 30% with the use of more energy-efficient business practices and technologies. It also helps you in identifying problems early. For example, if your HVAC system is leaking air, an energy audit can help you discover and fix this problem thus saving you a ton of money in the long run. It also helps in enhancing employee comfort by creating a more balanced working space for the employees.
Innovation is always happening in the energy space as more homes and businesses look for ways to save money on energy costs but most business owners usually aren’t aware of the latest innovations. With an energy audit, it is likely that you will become aware of more energy-efficient technologies available in the market.
It will also help you reduce your carbon footprint which is becoming a big factor in terms of consumer preferences. Increasingly, consumers prefer to associate with businesses that care about their carbon footprint and take action to reduce their energy usage. Investing in more efficient systems also allows you to enhance the useful service life of the equipment as it doesn’t have to work as hard as older units.
Tips to Conduct Energy Audit for Your Business
An energy audit can be conducted in many ways. First and foremost, you should know that every business is different and their energy needs are also different. Ideally, you should engage the services of a professional energy auditor but there are ways to get started on your own. Here are a few tips to help you with the same:
- Check the maintenance schedule of various equipment and whether you are following the maintenance instructions provided by the manufacturer
- Check whether the equipment is serviced regularly
- Find out the age of your heating and cooling appliances and whether they need replacement
- Check whether only the rooms that are being used are being heated or cooled
- Check whether timers are installed in various parts of the building
- Check whether there is any air leakage
- Check if a programmable thermostat is installed in your heating and cooling system
- Set the temperature of your heating or cooling appliance between 24 and 27°C in the winter, and between 18 and 21°C in the summers
- Make sure thermostats are installed in proper places and there is no direct sunlight or other heat sources nearby
- Check whether the ductwork is insulated to reduce energy loss
- Check if it’s possible to replace constant speed motors with variable speed equipment
- Check if something is obstructing airflow across the building
- Check how much energy is being spent on water heating and whether it’s in line with expected usage
- Engage the services of an expert to figure out whether appropriate lights are installed at appropriate places
- Check whether task lighting can be used to avoid unnecessary lighting in large areas
- Make sure you are using LEDs across the business
- Check if there are ways to maximise natural sunlight in the building.
These are some of the ways for you to get started with a DIY energy audit. However, it’s always better to engage the services of a professional to carry out a thorough check of all the equipment and appliances being used in your business. Professional services do cost money but you will come out on top in the long run. Interacting with the experts will also help you learn more about other energy-efficient equipment available in the market and how it can help you save money in the long run.
Best Practices for Business Energy Audit
If you are planning to conduct a DIY energy audit for your business, here are a few tips to help you cover almost everything and save more money:
- Begin by establishing benchmarks. Gather information about your energy consumption, energy bills and other things into a spreadsheet. Try to include as many metrics as you can.
- Make sure to check for the presence of any air leaks. Just put your hand in a place to feel for any airflow.
- Make sure you check your insulation levels as low insulation levels are synonymous with energy loss.
- In most cases, heating and cooling account for almost 50% of energy usage. This is why you should check the accuracy of thermostats as well as their positioning to ensure accurate capture of data.
- Take a close look at the lighting. Make sure you are using energy-efficient LEDs in place of fluorescent or incandescent lighting.
- HVAC systems, as well as lighting, should have timers.
- Engage the services of a professional to identify inefficient energy habits across the organisation and to get recommendations for replacements.
The goal of a business energy audit is to figure out how the energy is being used across the business and whether there are more efficient solutions that will help you save money in the long run. These tips should help you carry out a thorough energy audit and discover ways to make the system more energy-efficient.
On average, a business can expect to bring down its energy usage by around 30% with a thorough energy audit. Smart business owners are always looking for ways to cut down costs and energy usage is one of the more significant costs for businesses these days, especially with the rising electricity prices. If you cannot afford to engage the services of a professional to carry out an energy audit, you should seriously consider doing it on your own. Even a cursory walk-through audit might help you discover inefficient energy usage practices across your business.
Save Money for Your Business with Solar Power Systems
Solar power systems have already changed the residential energy usage landscape across the country with Australia becoming one of the leading countries in rooftop solar installations. Businesses too can take advantage of the ongoing solar power resolution by investing in high-quality and high-efficiency solar panels.
GCR Electrical Systems has been at the forefront of solar panel installation, repair and services in the Hervey Bay area. Our experts can help you find ways to keep your energy costs down.
Please contact us today on (07) 4120 7004 or leave an enquiry if you would like more information about our solar installation services.