ENERGY AUDITS: INCREASING THEIR VALUE TO CLIENTS
As an engineering consulting firm that performs energy audits, our job is to help our clients understand how their building uses energy and steps they can take to improve their energy consumption. It is important to be able to convey our findings to our clients in ways that are accessible for them. We are ultimately responsible for providing our clients with the information they need to make decisions regarding how to improve their building.
We have made a number of changes to our energy audits to assist them in their decision-making process. The first step is to help them understand how their building uses energy. The graph below was created to help demonstrate this clearly.
The graph shows electricity consumption over time. It separates base load electricity consumption and electricity consumption used for the purposes of heating and cooling. This consumption is plotted alongside degree days (a function of outdoor air temperature) to demonstrate how outdoor air temperature affects electricity consumption. This visual makes it easy to understand how energy is used in the building and can also highlight whether consumption is disproportionally higher or lower relative to the weather. This graph is produced for each utility analyzed.
Once we analyze the building and recommend ways to reduce their energy consumption, it’s important for us to help our clients move forward in making the best decisions possible. We do this by grouping similar measures together and recommend a year to begin the implementation of these measures. Grouping the measures take advantage of economies in scale and help avoid paying additional fees to contractors to mobilize on-site.
Once the measures are grouped together and have been assigned an implementation year, the results from our analysis are plotted on graphs to highlight how their energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions decrease over time. Examples of how these graphs are shown below.
This information gives our clients an understanding of what effect the recommended energy conservation measures will have on their buildings and provides them with the most cost-effect strategy in implementing them.
In our role as consultants, it’s important to move beyond the energy audit report and to help them make decisions about their buildings – decisions we would make if the buildings were ours.