Best Auditing Practices

Energy Auditors have many technical and human challenges to overcome in meeting the client’s expectations for an energy audit. The facility systems are more sophisticated than ever before and often include fuel switching technologies and energy recovery systems. Clients are under increasing pressure to balance cost-saving vs. emission reduction targets and simple payback calculations do not present the most convincing argument for obtaining cash for projects.

 

These increasing pressures require the energy auditor to understand the client objectives and assemble the correct team as energy audits no longer simply involve a light fixture count and simple payback calculation.

 

In my view, the most important step in performing a successful audit is in clearly establishing the client objectives. Many clients do not really understand the correlations between power, energy, cost, and emissions. Spending a few hours reviewing the objectives of the audit is time well spent. I suggest that a good way to confirm the audit scope should perhaps include a presentation of a table of contents of the final report. The auditor must carefully listen to the client team in order to understand the existing level of knowledge and be prepared to target the audit report content maximum effect. Training may be required either as part of the report delivery or part of the energy and water management opportunities identified.

 

Once the objective has been clearly understood a preliminary audit is a valuable tool in order for the auditor to establish the condition of the facility and evaluate documentation. The preliminary audit also includes a benchmarking process to indicate the magnitude of savings that can be identified from an audit.

 

Following the preliminary audit, the auditor should have a good idea of the owner’s objectives and the target system to be examined in the energy audit. At this point, the audit team members can be selected and the full scope of the audit developed. Having team members who are experts in their respective fields is essential to a successful outcome. LED lighting retrofits, for example, require extensive knowledge of the science of lighting which the auditor may not have.

 

Energy audits can consume person-hours at an incredible rate if the execution is not well planned and controlled. If audits are AHSREA level 2 or greater, a project plan with detailed resource allocation is essential if the auditor is expecting to complete the entire scope and manage the funds available for the scope.

 

Finally, a successful energy audit clearly explains the audit findings and includes an appropriate education process as part of the audit delivery. There are thousands of very good technical reports produced and filed for a later date because the presentation is unclear and explanations presume an advanced knowledge by the reader. The final report must be structured to present the results in such a way that the CFO, CEO, Manager and operations staff have a clear understanding of the recommendations.

 

-Steve Taylor

 

About Steve Taylor

Steve Taylor is the Senior Technical Specialist at SNC Lavalin O &M Toronto. His current duties include the preparation of life cycle replacement and energy management plans for a national portfolio of P3 projects.

 

Steve is active in the application of energy management, predictive maintenance and optimized replacement strategies to increase asset life cycle value. He has held positions in property management, facility operations, commissioning and facility auditing. Most recently, he is providing training to facility operations and maintenance staff to help them obtain maximum energy efficiency from building systems.

 

Recent projects include Auditing of Five-star hotels and resorts, Commissioning of International Airports, Commissioning of Computer Centres, Expansion of Health sciences and long term care facilities. He holds designations including; OCxP Commissioning Process Provider, RPA Real Property Administrator, Certified Energy Manager, LEED AP O and M, Marine and Stationary operating engineer.

 

Steve has worked with the Canadian Institue for Energy Training over the last 5 years to deliver instruction for the Certified Energy Auditor and Building Operator Certification programs. He is driven by the conviction that we can obtain better value from real estate assets by providing enhanced training to improve operator and maintenance staff performance.

 

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