Improving energy efficiency can lead to substantial cost savings and new opportunities to improve competitiveness, increase profits and secure growth.
The first step is to identify and prioritise your organisation’s energy-saving opportunities by conducting an energy audit.
You don’t need a technical background to conduct an energy audit – whether you are a business owner, facilities manager, health and safety manager, office manager or green champion, this guide will take you through the process.
All of the downloadable guides mentioned on this page can be found within the bottom section ‘handy guides’ for your convenience.
Successful energy audits follow these four steps:
Conducting an energy audit using this process will help you identify all energy saving opportunities across your organisation. It will also help you to prioritise your opportunities, and where necessary, secure the support and funding you need to make them happen.
Getting a clear picture of where and how you use energy will help you to focus your audit on the key areas of your organisation, for example, identifying areas that use the most energy.
Once you start to implement energy reduction projects, this information will enable you to clearly demonstrate to managers and staff the savings you have achieved. Our free energy usage tracker will help you to better understand energy use in your organisation, providing a simple way to collate your energy meter readings and oil purchase figures and to analyse energy consumption against your KPIs. Your energy provider may be able to help you with this kind of analysis.
Assessing your energy use will arm you with information to guide the next stage of the energy auditing process.
Having a clear framework for your site walk round will ensure that you cover everything you need to during your energy audit. To help you achieve this, we have created a downloadable energy audit checklist for you to use.
This checklist will allow you to audit all areas of your organisation to identify and prioritise the best places to save energy and money. You can choose which sections of this checklist apply to your organisation.
Use the checklist to conduct a systematic walk round of each area of your organisation, inspecting the processes and equipment which use energy, and making note of any potential saving opportunities.
It is important to cover as much of the organisation as is possible. This can help you identify smaller savings opportunities that can be quickly implemented, making it easier to get your colleagues on board. Opportunities that may not be a priority can be re-assessed at a later stage.
Before beginning your site walk round, make sure you have access to all areas and equipment that you need to inspect. For some organisations, it will be useful to conduct more than one walk round, to gauge usage at different times of the day or at different stages in your processes.
Having completed your site walk round, you are ready to develop your action plan.
To do this, you need to quantify the potential savings from each of your identified opportunities. You can do your own calculations using estimated energy savings and calorific values (the amount of energy per unit for any given fuel, costs and carbon factors), or by engaging with equipment suppliers and installers.
By comparing potential savings with estimated costs for the work, you can calculate payback times for each potential project and begin to prioritise actions for implementation.
Our free energy audit action plan template will help you to do this.
Once you have developed your action plan, it is likely that there will be no-cost and low-cost projects that you can begin to implement.
Some projects will likely require finance before work can commence and savings can be achieved.
A simple write up of your recommendations in an energy audit report is often sufficient to secure internal funds. This report could include:
A more formal business case may be required, particularly if you’re applying for finance from external sources.
Conducting an energy audit should not be viewed as a one-off event.
The best way to continually improve your organisation’s performance and reduce energy costs is to conduct audits at regular intervals.
If you are new to energy saving, you may want to focus on delivering the quick wins identified in your initial audit.
This is a great way to build momentum for your energy saving initiatives and allows you to build the confidence of senior management – which in turn can unlock support and finance for larger projects.
Once you have started to realise the benefits of your quick wins you can look to more advanced projects which will realise bigger savings. The guides listed below will help you to identify and implement further savings.
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