Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Getting the Most from an Energy Audit: Five Tips

1. As tempting as it may seem, think carefully about “free” energy audits. If the auditor is not working for you, then they are working for someone else. That MAY work to your disadvantage. Don’t be surprised if a window installer’s free energy audit concludes that your first priority is to install new windows! Decisions that shape your energy bills for the next 10-15 years should be free of commercial bias.

2. Have an agenda for your energy audit. That agenda is shaped by the questions you ask. For example:
• How much can I save on utility bills without spending money?
• How can energy-saving features be incorporated in my procurement criteria for vendors and suppliers?
• What energy saving opportunities are directly linked to tax incentives or utility rebates?
• How can a re-classification of energy-related assets improve my overall depreciation performance?
• What energy-saving opportunities will directly contribute to my ability to market “green” products and services?
• What impacts will energy efficiency have on safety, productivity, or material waste?

3. Prepare your key staff for the energy audit. Surprises make people get defensive. Organize stakeholders ahead of time to plan the scope and expectations of an energy audit. Be prepared to explain what’s in it for them (see point 2). Invite staff participation in the audit itself—this helps to make the experience transparent to all who care to observe.

4. Seek a draft report for review before it becomes final. Review this draft with key managers to ensure the technical and “political” validity of the recommendations.

5. Make sure the final report has an executive summary that is in plain English—keep it free of jargon and acronyms. Use compelling financial performance measures. Are you showing simple payback? That's great. What about the cost of doing nothing? Or the cost to buy vs. save a unit of energy? Or, how much revenue would have to be generated to compensate for a dollar lost to energy waste?

Feel free to add your own comments… after all, this is a blog.


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