Facility Audits

Facility Assessments & Energy Efficiency Audits

The Audit Process

Independent Energy Consultants employs practical means to lower energy costs in commercial and industrial facilities. The work entails detailed analysis that will help identify your best and worst performing facilities. We then focus on the poor energy-performing facilities and through a series of steps to identify cost-saving measures that will provide rapid paybacks. These measures may involve equipment changes and/or operating practices.

The Certified Energy Managers (CEM from the Association of Energy Engineers) begin their work before ever arriving at your site. This is done to gain valuable information about your facility that will enable us to make the best use of our time, and yours, while at your facility. The offsite work includes reviewing your utility bills (electric, natural gas, water, steam, propane, etc.), and other pertinent information, such as a master motor list and a description of your operations and maintenance issues. The steps are shown below are typical of the services we offer for commercial and industrial customers wanting to reduce their energy costs and consumption.

Prior to Arrival

Utility Bill Review: The first step in virtually any attempt to reduce your energy and cost consumption should be a thorough review of your historic utility bills. These bills provide utility tariff information and help identify a client's energy load profile. This information can help spot abnormalities and serves as the basis for additional reviews. We will be able to determine key performance metrics such as your energy consumption per square foot and benchmark that to similar facilities. Learn more about our Energy Accounting and Bill Auditing services.

Power Factor Penalty and Correction Analysis: Power Factor is a measure of how efficiently you use electricity. For example, if your facility operates with a Power Factor of 85%, you can conclude that 85% of the electricity you pay for is being converted into useful work, and the remaining 15% is paid for but is being wasted, usually in the form of heat. Most utility companies penalize commercial and industrial customers for operating with low power factors. To learn if you are being penalized, what it is costing you, and how much of your electrical system capacity can be freed up, complete the power factor analysis request form. IEC will show you how to improve your Power Factor and provide a cost/benefit analysis of the same. Here is an example of the cost/benefit of performing power factor correction.

Utility Tariff Analysis: Your utility company assigns you a rate schedule based on an estimate of your anticipated use of electricity or natural gas. Sometimes they guess wrong and often conditions change after a rate schedule is assigned. Your rate schedule determines how much you are billed. Often a facility qualifies to be billed under one of several rate schedules. IEC will calculate your bill under each acceptable rate schedule and show you which is best for your situation.

Upon Arrival

Interview Key Personnel: The onsite work begins with a brief interview of key operations and maintenance staff. This allows us the Certified Energy Managers (CEM) from IEC to gain a better sense of how your facility operates, what metrics are important to you and any ongoing maintenance issues you’ve been incurring.

The Walkthrough: Once any safety and/or security training is complete the walkthrough begins. Depending on the size of your facility and your desired scope of the walkthrough (ASHRAE level 1, 2 or 3) this phase can take 1-3 days.

The Certified Energy Managers from IEC with assistance from a company employee will walk through your facility to examine non-production areas of energy consumption such as lighting, steam, compressed air, HVAC, etc. We will examine the building envelope and all mechanical and electrical systems. Readings of voltage, current, power factor, temperature/thermography, system pressures, luminance, etc. may be taken during the walkthrough. If so, it will only be done with the utmost caution and usually by company employees.

Following the Walkthrough:

Report of Findings: Armed with data and information the Certified Energy Managers of IEC return to our office to continue the analysis and prepare our report of findings and recommendations. We present our findings in a report detailing each possible Energy Conservation Measure (ECM). The report will include a cost/benefit estimate including payback period for possible projects. Our audit recommendations will follow an integrated approach because one change can affect other downstream decisions. Our recommended sequence for implementing such measures are:

  • Recommissioning
  • Lighting upgrades or retrofits
  • Power Factor improvements
  • Building envelope
  • Load reduction
  • Distribution systems
  • Plant upgrades

Request for Proposal (RFP)

After reviewing our Audit Report, you may decide to proceed with an RFP for projects that meet your financial criteria. If you onsite staff is not able to implement the recommendations, IEC Consultants can assist with the preparation of an RFP and the review and selection of a qualified contractor.

Financing

IEC can help clients who are interested in minimizing or eliminating the up-front costs of paying for an energy efficiency project. We assist our clients in accessing federal, state and utility grants and/or low-cost loans that are reserved to fund energy efficiency projects. We can help you obtain financing with a properly structured lease that delivers immediate positive cash flow, i.e. the savings on your utility bill more than offsets your project lease payments. Then at the end of your lease, you will own the equipment and receive all the energy cost savings. Finally, on bill-financing is also often an option whereby the cost of implementing ECMs can be incorporated into an electric supply contract rate brokered by IEC.

Cost Avoidance Program

If you have retained a vendor to perform an energy efficiency improvement project, ask IEC to provide independent verification that the ECM is producing the expected results. Before proceeding with any conservation project, you should obtain an accurate assessment of your current energy use and determine what influences that consumption. If this is not done beforehand, you can expect difficulties when attempting to determine future energy reductions and savings. Also, if you have signed a Performance Contract and/or obtained an energy loan or grant, this verification may be required. See our Energy Accounting and Bill Auditing page for more information about cost avoidance verification.

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