Plant energy auditing
Plant energy audits are comprehensive evaluations of the actual performance of a plant’s energy using systems and equipment compared against the designed performance level or the industry best practice. The difference between observed performance and “best practice” is the potential for energy and cost savings. ENERGY STAR partners have found that conducting plant assessments is vital to a strong energy management program, for without them, it is difficult to continuously improve energy efficiency and demonstrate savings.
Energy assessments help managers to:
- Identify actions for improving energy performance;
- Prioritize projects; and
- Track progress.
They are most effective when part of a strategic corporate energy management program. Corporate energy programs are ideal for replicating the savings opportunities identified through assessments at other facilities. Information can be shared among plants and savings multiplied. Read more about the role of plant assessments as part of a strategic energy program in the ENERGY STAR Guidelines for Energy Management.
Energy audits can be self-assessments conducted by company staff, external assessments obtained through energy service professionals, or a combination of both.
Regardless of the type of audit, it is recommended that the team represent varied expertise, including: process engineers, maintenance experts, systems managers, energy specialists, etc. Support from outside a company can be helpful and provide missing expertise (e.g. compressed air systems expert). More information on outside service providers is available at Industrial service and product providers.
Plant assessments vary in their focus and depth of involvement based on the program needs and resources available to energy managers. For more information on various levels of audit detail, view this presentation: Assessing Plant Performance for Energy Savings
Sources for assistance
The U.S. Department of Energy offers assessment assistance to qualified industrial plants through its Industrial Assessment Centers.