Conduct an Energy Survey to Identify Energy Saving Opportunities

clipboardAn energy survey is a simple assessment of the energy use in your organisation and the aim is to identify and correct bad energy habits and practices. Start by forming a small team to conduct the energy survey, appointing an energy manager as the team leader and recruiting staff from different departments as team members.

The team will conduct the energy survey by taking a walk around the offices, building and facilities to observe what is happening on the ground, identify bad and wasteful energy use and habits, and identify opportunities for energy saving.

The survey should be conducted at different timings so as to find out the different energy usage throughout the day and at different periods. Surveys can be carried out:

  • At a normal weekday during office hours
  • At busy and peak hours
  • At lunchtime
  • After office hours
  • During weekends

Use past and current utility bills, meter data, maintenance records and other energy information to help keep track of the energy usage in your organisation.

Here are some areas to take note of during the energy survey:

Office Equipment

  • Are office equipment left on standby after office hours and during weekends? Can we switch them off easily?
  • Does the computers, printers, photocopiers and other equipment have built-in energy saving features? Are we using these features and do we know how to use them?
  • Can we use software to switch equipment off after office hours?
  • Are vending machines and water coolers left on at night? Can we use timers to switch them off after office hours?

Lighting

  • facade-lightingAre lights switched off in unoccupied areas or if there is sufficient daylight? Can we reduce unnecessary lighting?
  • Can we use motion sensors for the stairs and carpark?
  • Are lights switched off when no one is in the room or office? Who is responsible to switch off the lights after office hours?
  • Are external and facade lighting switched off during the day? Can we adjust the timers to switch off the lighting earlier?
  • Are light fittings arranged strategically and light switches labelled properly?
  • Are we still using inefficient lighting? Can we change to energy efficient light bulbs and tubes?

Air-Conditioning and Ventilation

  • Is the office too warm or cold? Can we adjust the air-conditioning temperature up to about 25 degree Celsius or at a comfortable high temperature?
  • When is the air conditioning switched off and on during the day?
  • Are the windows and doors open when the air-conditioning is on?
  • Are the air-conditioning and ventilation system maintained and serviced regularly? Are the settings optimised and correct?
  • Are there obstructions at air inlets and outlets?

Industrial Equipment

  • Do boilers, pumps, fans and other equipment have the correct and optimised settings?
  • Are the equipment serviced and maintained regularly?
  • Are the equipment misused by operators who are not trained properly?
  • Are there any compressed air, refrigerant or steam leaks?
  • Are there opportunities to tap waste heat from equipment and exhaust gases?

successAfter the energy survey, look at the findings and decide what actions to take. Implement the no-cost or low-cost actions first, such as educating employees, changing habits and practices, proper maintenance of equipment, changing energy settings and removing unnecessary lighting.

Next, consider the higher-cost actions such as installing new energy efficient lighting and equipment, and using energy saving technologies.

Remember to keep the management and employees informed of the energy survey findings, actions taken and energy savings.

Image credit: dlnny; olimohd; lockstockb.

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