Five benefits of an energy assessment
An energy assessment is the first step toward improving the overall health and optimizing the energy performance of your facility.
The first step in cutting energy bills, operating costs, improving comfort and optimizing efficiency in your building may be to have qualified professional engineers perform an in-depth energy assessment of your building.
This assessment will help you in determining the overall health and performance of your building and where needed, provide suggestions for means of improvement. Consider these five benefits of performing an energy assessment on a building:
1. Lower utility bills and operating cost. An energy assessment provides recommendations to eliminate energy waste in your building and lower energy bills. Sometimes simple, low cost changes like scheduling lighting, equipment or tweaking HVAC control setpoints can have a major impact on reducing energy use, without sacrificing occupant comfort.
2. Optimize equipment efficiency and increase longevity. Reducing equipment operating hours, preventative maintenance, and implementing energy conscious control strategies can improve efficiency of equipment, reduce wear and tear, and make equipment last longer.
3. Uncover hidden energy ‘hogs’. Energy waste doesn’t always jump out at you with loud noises, like a blown relief valve or a cavitating pump. It can be a brand new air handler quietly heating up air and cooling it right back down again for no apparent reason, but going unnoticed because the temperature in the space is just fine. Or, it can be equipment that’s supposed to shut off every night, but no one’s around to verify that it is indeed, shutting off.
Building automation systems rely on a multitude of sensors for proper control and cycling of equipment. When they’re not calibrated or maintained, energy can be wasted unknowingly. These types of corrections can have quick paybacks with big savings.
4. Improve building comfort. Having a professional engineer examine your HVAC systems as part of an energy assessment isn’t a bad idea. Deficiencies contributing to poor space temperature control, drafts, and indoor air quality can be identified, and corrections can be made by building maintenance staff or by hiring a qualified contractor. Although sometimes these items do not save energy, they can improve occupant comfort and moral.
5. Utility incentives are available. Some utility companies will cover HVAC energy assessment fees for qualified customers, in exchange for an owner’s commitment to spend a fixed amount to implement the items identified in the assessment. These programs follow the process through implementation and provide a method of measurement and/or verification so the actual savings after implementation can be validated.
A major portion of energy consumption in a building is due to HVAC systems. Therefore, it is beneficial to have an assessment performed by seasoned engineers who are experienced in designing and troubleshooting HVAC systems, have an intimate knowledge of how they use energy and are diligent in finding deficiencies.