Data can give energy professionals lots of valuable information about their energy estate, but don’t underestimate the importance of getting out and about and conducting a walkthrough survey of your buildings. Physically surveying buildings will give you a better understanding of their energy performance, identify where energy and water efficiency savings can be made and reveal insights to support your energy management strategy.
It is likely that the current COVID-19 situation will affect how your organisation’s buildings are operating. However, if they are still using energy it can be a worthwhile activity to seek out opportunities to improve the energy efficiency of your buildings. These improvements can help you to reduce overheads, keep the property in good working order, and inform your long-term energy and environmental strategy.
Before you conduct your survey, we recommend studying the energy data for your buildings first. Identifying peaks and troughs, or anomalies in your consumption data before completing the survey, will help you define where you can look to make the biggest impact on reducing wastage, improve efficiency and make savings.
Data from AMR or Smart Meters is particularly useful for showing trends and changes in your consumption over a period of time, and can explain increases such as a cold winter or an installation of new equipment that required more usage at the time. If the change cannot be explained, then it would be beneficial to investigate further with a survey.
Analysis of data will highlight key areas to assess when you’re conducting the survey, to help you get to the root of the problem and identify opportunities for lowering consumption or being more energy efficient.
For example, if you have concerns over your heating energy consumption, it’s a good idea to investigate the insulation of the building, if it’s not sufficient you could be using more energy to heat the property. Also, check the HVAC system; the condition and age of the system could be affecting how efficiently it is functioning. Finally, check for window leaks and drafts, these will affect the performance of the system and drive up consumption costs.
If you establish irregularities in electricity use, you could look at the following areas:
Water can often be overlooked during site surveys, but it is important to consider analysis of your water data to understand your consumption, and be able to spot anomalies and potential problems. Much like when you are examining your electricity use, there are a number of key areas to look out for when conducting a water site survey:
So, now you have your data and have conducted a site survey, what have you learned? You may need to embed changes to your energy strategy around driving down consumption, invest in new equipment or technologies, or fix existing equipment. Look at your whole energy estate to help guide you. For example, you may have a building in your estate that has brand new LED lighting and uses less energy than the rest of your estate. That alone provides a readymade business case to upgrade the lighting across all of your organisation’s sites.
Do not forget to make assessments of the energy saving equipment and controls that may already be in place to save energy. Where they are in place, make sure they are operating as they should be and suitably for the building use, and have not been adjusted or overridden. You’ll be surprised how often this can happen!
There are a few things that you can do to avoid any dramatic spikes in over-consumption and utility overspend, these include:
If you are looking to begin an energy saving journey to lower costs and improve efficiencies, our consultants can offer energy surveys and audits and an opportunity identification report to help you. Call our team today on 01908 690018 or contact us.