With energy costs rising, and increasing pressure from stakeholders for businesses to reduce their carbon footprint, it’s never been more important to understand your business’s energy consumption. There’s no better way to achieve this understanding than through an energy audit – and there are plenty of other benefits to be gained from auditing your consumption, too.
How is an energy audit carried out?
During an energy audit, our team surveys your site and analyses your energy consumption data to discover exactly how, when and where your business is using energy. Once this information is collected, we then identify areas in which you can improve your organisation’s energy efficiency, and recommend practical and cost-effective energy saving measures for your business – along with the estimated costs and benefits of implementing these measures.
What are the benefits of an energy audit?
By taking stock of how and when your organisation uses energy, your business can…
Increase energy efficiency
When you have a clear view of exactly where your organisation uses energy, it’s much easier to spot areas for improvement. During your audit, you might discover that your air conditioning and heating systems are running simultaneously in the same area, for example, causing each system to waste energy because they are working against each other. Or you may notice that a specific piece of machinery is using much more energy than your other machines, which could indicate that it needs maintenance or replacing. Once you understand where you’re wasting energy, you can take action to address these issues and improve your organisation’s energy efficiency.
With wholesale energy prices climbing higher and higher, we’re advising every business to look at how they can reduce their energy consumption, because using less energy is the best way to keep your energy costs down. By identifying and improving your energy efficiency in the areas highlighted in your audit, you can ensure that you’re only paying for the energy you need.
You should also use your energy audit to review when your organisation uses energy, as wholesale costs are higher during peak demand periods (such as 4-7pm, when many people arrive home from work). Look at the areas and/or assets that are using energy during these peak periods and consider whether you can shift this energy use to a period of lower demand, when wholesale costs will be cheaper.
Achieve sustainability goals
Auditing your energy use can also help you to work towards your sustainability goals, from wider net zero and carbon neutral goals to more specific targets, such as reducing wastage across your business. If you can reduce your energy consumption by any amount, there will be an associated reduction in your carbon emissions.
When reviewing your energy audit, you should also consider whether your business has any room to be more flexible in its energy consumption. If you find that you do have the capacity to turn your energy consumption up or down slightly without impacting your business operations, you may be able to get involved in balancing services. Under these schemes, your business can get paid to turn its energy use up or down at certain times – and sometimes simply for being available to do so. As we come to rely more heavily on intermittent renewable sources to provide our energy supply, flexibility from businesses will be crucial to ensuring supply can always meet demand. By embracing your flexibility, you can show that you’re committed to supporting a low-carbon energy system, and boost your sustainability credentials.
Simplify the compliance process
If your business is required to comply with the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS), then you will be required to carry out a comprehensive energy audit for each four-year phase of the scheme. You must meet strict criteria to create a compliant ESOS energy audit – it must contain 12 consecutive months of energy data, for example, and cover at least 90% of your total energy consumption, among other criteria. For ESOS Phase 3, your energy audit’s reference period must include the qualification date of 31st December 2022.
While you’re only required to carry out one energy audit under ESOS, undertaking yearly energy audits can help you to smooth the ESOS compliance process for your business, as it will mean you have the tools and processes in place to audit your energy with ease. Regularly auditing your energy usage enables you to identify opportunities for cost and carbon savings and make continuous improvements to your energy efficiency. This may not yet be required by ESOS – although the Government is consulting on widening the scheme – but it is a crucial element of the Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) scheme, so it’s worth undertaking if your organisation is required to report under SECR.
Need some expert support?
Inspired Energy’s energy audits are completed in accordance with the principles of BS EN 16247-1:2012 and BS EN 16247-2:2014, and their expertise covers a wide range of technical building services, from HVAC to lighting and renewables. So if you’re looking for support when it comes to auditing your consumption, they’re the best people for the job – find out how they can help your business by calling 01772 689 250 or emailing email@example.com today.