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 audits is vital to a strong energy management program; without audits it is difficult to continuously improve energy efficiency and demonstrate savings.
Energy audits help managers to:
Regular plant energy audits are most effective when they are part of a strategic corporate energy management program. Corporate energy programs are ideal for replicating the savings opportunities identified through plant energy audits at other facilities. Through the corporate energy network, information can be shared, and savings multiplied. Read more about the role of plant audits and technical 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 audits obtained through energy service professionals, or a combination of both.
Regardless of the type of audit, it is recommended that the audit team represent varied expertise, including: process engineers, maintenance experts, systems managers, energy specialists, etc. Support from outside your 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 (254KB)
The U.S. Department of Energy offers audit assistance to qualified industrial plants. DOE’s Industrial Technologies Program offers options for small, medium and large industrial facilities at ITP BestPractices: Plant Assessments .
Various self-assessment guides are available through non-profit organizations, trade associations, and in print. The following organizations offer free assessment guides.