How is an energy audit carried out and what are the most important steps to consider?
An energy audit refers to all the investigations that are carried out on a property to assess where and how energy is consumed. The analysis, also called energy audit, accurately assesses the quantity and quality of energy used for different purposes such as heating, cooling, lighting and in industrial transformation processes.
It is a systemic procedure aimed at gaining knowledge of the energy consumption profile of a building or group of buildings, an industrial, commercial, public service or private activity or facility, with the aim of identifying and quantifying energy saving opportunities.
An energy audit, or energy diagnosis, should be considered as the first step in any energy efficiency initiative, since without a thorough knowledge of the building’s characteristics, it is not possible to propose effective improvement solutions.
The procedures in this area are regulated by legislative decree 102/2014 and the UNI 50001 standard.
Every 4 years, large companies and energy-intensive SMEs (i.e. companies with high energy consumption) are obliged to carry out an energy audit to improve efficiency and minimise consumption. Non-compliant companies can be sanctioned with high fines of up to 40,000 euros.
It is important to emphasise that the cost of such a service, if combined with a redevelopment intervention, is quickly paid back thanks to the savings obtained from energy improvements. The diagnosis, in fact, is among the interventions subject to tax relief, such as the deduction for energy renovation and the 110% super bonus.
What the main objectives of an energy audit should be
We have grouped together the 5 main steps of a proper energy audit.
- PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS OF THE BUILDING’S USAGE DATA
i.e. an in-depth analysis of:
- How the building is used, indoor temperatures, air changes, unheated rooms.
- Energy source used for heating and hot water production
- Average annual consumption (methane, wood and/or pellets …)
- Viewing any technical data sheets relating to boilers and/or renewable energy systems
- Vision of any graphic drawings of the building
- Weather and radiation data of the location (average).
- Survey of the stratigraphy of floors, walls, ceilings, roofs and walls towards cold rooms
- Survey of windows and doors and analysis of the type of frame, glass and shading systems of windows and doors
- Analysis of shading
- Analysis of temperatures and humidity using non-invasive instruments.
- DATA PROCESSING
- Creation of the virtual model of the building
- Comparison of real consumption with that estimated by the virtual model.
- INTERVENTION HYPOTHESES
Depending on the location of the dispersions and the efficiency of the systems, possible improvements will be presented in terms of thermal insulation (roof insulation, external coat, etc.), modification of the thermal energy generation systems (installation of thermal solar panels, replacement of existing boilers, etc.), combination of architectural and system solutions.
For each intervention the following will be reported:
- Brief indication of the work (type of insulation material and sizing, characteristics of the heating system, etc.).
- Estimate of implementation costs
- Analysis of possible tax breaks
- Estimate of the return on investment.
- SUMMARY OVERVIEW
The energy diagnosis will conclude with a comparative outline of the various interventions to facilitate the choice by optimising the cost/benefit ratio, also in the light of the possible economic benefits provided and the available budget.
Procedures for an energy audit in the industrial sector
Energy audits are carried out in both the civil and industrial sectors. Art. 8 of Legislative Decree 102/2014 stipulates that companies subject to the obligation carry out Energy Diagnosis at “production sites” located on the national territory.
A “production site” is defined as a geographically defined location where a good is produced and/or a service provided, within which energy use is under the control of the company. Sites need not be owned by the enterprise, but the enterprise must have control over their use and energy.
For large transport companies, production sites include both the places where activities complementary to transport take place (workshops, warehouses, offices, etc.) and the transport itself, which is considered as a single virtual site, even if spread over the national territory and abroad.
An energy audit is a systematic assessment of how energy is used from the point at which it is acquired to its point of final use and, therefore, how it is managed and consumed.
In detail, it analyses
- How and where energy enters the plant, factory, system or part of equipment.
- Where it goes and is used.
- Any conversion between input points and its uses.
- How it can be used more effectively and efficiently.
In addition, the “company energy structure” (also known as the tree structure) is defined, which, by means of a structured multi-level process, provides a complete and exhaustive picture of the company’s situation. In concrete terms, the company is divided into functional areas, for which energy data is acquired.
The tree structure must follow the path of each energy vector and not the sequence of the production process.
The energy diagnosis carried out by Vactis
In the field of cooling systems for Data Centres and TLC rooms, the energy diagnosis carried out by Vactis focuses on reducing costs and improving performance. This is the first and fundamental aspect to identify the margins of improvement achievable with our interventions.
In fact, a careful and meticulous analysis is the basis for the first phase of our approach to each new project we are called upon to carry out. This allows us to be true partners for those who decide to turn to us. In fact, we do not limit ourselves to diagnosis, but we implement tailor-made and efficient 360° solutions for any type of need.
If you have any questions or would like more information about our solutions, please contact us and we will get back to you as soon as possible.