The threat of climate change is looming over Earth and all of its living creatures. The earth’s average temperature is expected to go far beyond 1.5 Degrees Celsius by the end of the 21st Century, which can cause an increase in the frequency and intensity of natural disasters, such as cyclones, hurricanes, floods, droughts, extinction of many species of living organisms, rising sea levels due to melting glaciers which may result in disappearance of many island nations. The rate of climate change is accelerating due to mainly one factor- the increasing energy demand due to the rapidly increasing population. Every day, each one of us consumes a large amount of electricity at our homes to lead a comfortable lifestyle due to which a large amount of fossil fuel has to be burnt, spewing tons and tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which is the main greenhouse gas responsible for climate change. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that we become aware of how much electricity we consume, which of our daily activities use a lot of electricity and what are the various ways through which we can conserve energy or use energy more efficiently if we are to eliminate the threat of climate change.
What is Energy Audit?
Energy Audit is defined as carrying out an inspection or survey of residential/commercial buildings or industries in order to find out the amount of energy flowing in and out of the premises and to come up with measures to conserve energy or use energy more efficiently.
The main objective of energy auditing is to ensure that energy is used in an efficient manner both at our homes and industries as much as possible. Energy efficiency refers to the minimal usage of electrical energy by a device to generate the same amount of output as a old, traditional device, which uses comparatively more energy.
The basic principle of energy auditing is to decrease energy consumption to ensure maximum energy efficiency of an occupied building or industry while maintaining or improving human comfort, health and safety.
Home Energy Audit
An analysis of the energy efficiency of a house with the objective of identifying the best ways to enhance energy efficiency is called home energy auditing. Various building envelope characteristics are recorded in home energy auditing . The area and resistance to heat flow (R-value) is measured for each of the building envelope components . Evaluation of the efficiency, physical condition, and programming of mechanical systems is also done. Factors affecting energy use are user behavior, climate, and age of the home. An interview of the homeowners is also conducted to assess energy consumption patterns over time.
Industrial energy audit
The HVAC, lighting, and production equipment use the most energy in industries and hence are more focused upon during industrial energy audits.
Steps in industrial energy audit:
- Data collection:
Important preliminary information is collected which contains detailed information about the energy consumption of the residential/ industrial facility.
The necessary information for completing the report is gathered during field visits.
- Analysis of Equipment Energy Consumption:
In this step, an analysis is performed on the equipment and the usage of the equipment by the organization. This analysis enables the auditor to determine energy usage by various equipment.
- The Formulation of Energy-Saving Measures:
The auditors will try to work out ways by which they can make the organization both energy efficient and save them money.
- Formulation of The Energy Audit Report:
The energy audit report contains the following details
- The collected data and the analysis conducted
- The devices and the methodology used
- Energy-saving measures recommended
- The results and conclusions
Types of Energy Audit
The aim of benchmarking is to determine what is meant by good, average and bad energy performance across a range of situations. It involves comparison of the energy consumption pattern between two similar buildings.
- Walk-through / preliminary audit:
Walk through audit is the type of audit which can be performed in a short time. It involves lesser number of interviews with the organization members, a walk-through of the facility to become familiar with the operations taking place within building and to identification of areas of energy waste or inefficiency.
- General audit:
The general audit is a more detailed form of preliminary audit by collecting more detailed information about facility operation and by performing a more detailed evaluation of energy conservation measures. It involves detailed interviews with the organization members.
- Investment-grade audit:
These audits are conducted to ensure that a large amount of projected operating savings is generated from the implementation of energy audits so that organization members are satisfied with the energy audit.
Benefits of energy audit
- The entire facility is assessed during energy audits.
- Financial analysis is also provided by energy audits.
- Energy audits provide us with detailed information regarding the various measures suggested to conserve energy.
- Energy audits also help us to reduce greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere which will help to mitigate climate change.
Energy audits are extremely essential in today’s scenario to reduce carbon footprint of homes and industries and eliminate the threat of climate change through implementation of various measures to improve energy efficiency.