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Virtual Energy Audits During COVID-19 Social Distancing

May 05, 2020

Virtual Energy Audits During COVID-19 Social Distancing

Synopsis
7 Minute Read

A virtual energy audit may be the answer to a leaner, greener, more cost efficient business after the COVID-19 crisis has passed.

Social distancing requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic have put a hold on typical building energy audits — particularly site visits from energy professionals to evaluate facilities and equipment. However, your organization can still get value from a virtual energy audit to kick-start an energy efficiency and conservation plan. In fact, the slowdown in normal operations may even offer the advantage of allowing your building operations and finance teams to connect more frequently and discuss energy opportunities that were previously overlooked during busy periods.

Virtual Energy Audits During COVID-19 Social Distancing

Kick-start your energy efficiency and conservation action plan.

Social distancing requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic have put a hold on typical building energy audits — particularly site visits from energy professionals to evaluate facilities and equipment. However, your organization can still get value from a virtual energy audit to kick-start an energy efficiency and conservation plan. In fact, the slowdown in normal operations may even offer the advantage of allowing your building operations and finance teams to connect more frequently and discuss energy opportunities that were previously overlooked during busy periods.

What is a virtual energy audit?

A virtual energy audit is the perfect place to form an initial understanding of your energy consumption patterns and anomalies, annual costs and greenhouse gas emissions. It is an effective, cost and time efficient means to identify energy savings opportunities and begin addressing inconsistencies, reducing costs and improving your carbon footprint.

Virtual energy audit process

A typical virtual energy audit includes an engagement with a trusted consultant who will analyze your energy consumption information, a virtual team interview to review the results and the creation of an introductory energy efficiency and conservation action plan.

Energy consumption data review

A consultant will begin the process by gathering and analyzing your historic energy consumption data from your local utility provider(s). Usually this includes electricity, natural gas and sometimes water, which will provide insights into:

  • Annual energy consumption patterns and / or anomalies
  • Data visualization
  • Energy costs and annual budgets
  • Local weather effects on energy consumption
  • Greenhouse gas emissions and their associated costs

Virtual team meeting

After analyzing the data, the consultant will generate a preliminary report and present their findings during a virtual meeting. The first phase of this discussion will serve three key purposes:

  1. Bring the consultant and key stakeholders within your organization on the same page regarding the raw consumption data review
  2. Help the consultant become more familiar with basic building operations and costs prior to diving deeper into building operations
  3. Allow your organization’s key stakeholders to ask questions about data anomalies or concerns.

The second part of the interview involves a more detailed discussion about your building’s characteristics and operations, which will inform the framework for potential energy savings opportunities. These include:

  • Building size, operating hours and functions
  • How employee roles and responsibilities affect energy efficiency
  • High-level details around building equipment

Final report and recommendations

Once the consultant has formed an understanding of your organization, as well as its unique variables and energy consumption characteristics, they will issue a report summarizing the engagement. This simplified energy efficiency and conservation action plan may include quick wins like:

  • Understanding how much energy your building consumes and the associated cost per year
  • Determining whether your facility is opted into the proper utility rate classes
  • Solving consumption anomalies found in the data analysis
  • Identifying the required employees and roles to form an energy efficiency action team.
  • Potential equipment modifications or improvements that are available (which we can further refine through site visits after COVID-19 has passed).

MNP’s Energy & Utilities team

Our experienced and qualified Energy & Utilities Consulting team has the capabilities to guide your team through the entire virtual energy audit process.

To learn more about our services or to get started on your virtual energy audit, contact Greg Young, P. Eng, EIT, Energy and Utilities Consultant, at [email protected]

Learn more at MNP's COVID-19 Business Advice Centre Strategies and tools to help your company navigate the coronavirus crisis, stay resilient and take the next steps towards recovery. Learn more

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