More and more companies are beginning to shift priorities and take the initiative to be more environmentally conscious. But have you ever wondered how it is that companies go green? Most businesses can’t reduce their carbon footprint on their own. They need the help of an energy efficiency consultant. These consultants are hired by businesses to reduce their carbon footprint and energy usage.
What Does an Energy Efficiency Consultant Do?
Reducing a company’s carbon footprint is no small task. It takes a lot of work and can be a long process. Before you can start changing the operations of a business, you first need to understand how it operates. That is why the first thing to be done is to inspect and analyze.
1. Inspect & Analyze
You can’t fix something until you know what’s broken. Before a company’s energy consumption can be reduced you need to know how much energy is being consumed. This is done by looking at all of the company’s sources of energy.
The goal is to create an energy profile that will reflect how much energy is being consumed and when that energy is being consumed. The consultant needs to understand how the company is using energy and how the business runs on a day-to-day basis. They will also need to understand how the building is operated. If they know this then they can link patterns of energy uses to the operations of the building. Here are a few of the things the consultant may look at.
It is important to know when the building is being occupied. Are there workers coming in from 9-5? Is there a day or night shift? These questions need to be asked to determine when energy is being used the most.
HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Condition)
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning use an incredible amount of energy. When examining heating a consultant will need to look at the fuels being used, and how the heating is being controlled.
For example, they would need to know whether the heat is gas or electric. They would also need to know if the heat is on a timer and when it is set to turn off and on. For air conditioning, they may examine how it’s being used. Whether it is used to keep the equipment cool and whether it Is used year-round will both factor into the client’s energy profile.
Buildings normally have a variety of lights used for different purposes. The lights used in the warehouse, meeting rooms, the main office, and outside are all different. All of these lights will need to be examined.
Some of the important factors that are looked at when determining light energy are, whether the lights are automatically controlled, whether they’re controlled by motion detectors, and whether they stay on when they’re not being used.
Office equipment that is always left on also needs to be noted. The consultant will need to be aware of employees leaving their computers on after work. They also need to know whether office equipment such as photocopiers and printers are turned off when not in use. To determine factors such as these a wattmeter can be plugged in between the equipment and the wall socket to monitor the equipment’s energy usage.
Other Energy-Consuming Processes and Equipment
This category consists of all the other miscellaneous equipment and processes that are consuming energy within the company. Industrial processes can often dominate all of the other types of energy consumption in a building.
This can include things like production line equipment or items being used in a printing room. Making small changes to these items and processes can make a big difference to a company’s energy bill.
Poor Automatic Control
The use of energy such as HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) should be tied to the hours the building is occupied.
If an entire building is being heated when no one is in it, or when there are only a couple of rooms being used, a considerable amount of energy will be wasted. This is why all aspects need to be examined closely. So that the full amount of energy can be researched and calculated. Things like utility bills, equipment, machinery, and the company’s current and previous years’ energy usage all need to be inspected and analyzed.
2. Strategize Energy Plans
Now that everything has been inspected and analyzed it’s time to develop a plan. The goal is to create a long-term energy policy. The consultant now needs to identify all the variable options to reduce the company’s energy consumption. The full amount of energy wastage needs to be researched, calculated, and prepared in concise reports displaying the results of the research. Once that is done, the consultant can start figuring out what systems need to be put in place.
The systems that need to be put in place will differ from organization to organization. Very few clients will have the same needs. So, for every company, the consultant will have to start from scratch. There are a few factors that go into putting this plan together. The first is technical assessment.
One of the first steps in orchestrating an energy plan is identifying the right technologies and capacity for your client. This job requires a degree not just in environmental science but in environmental engineering. You need to have the ability to process large amounts of data and use all of that data to put a plan into place.
An energy efficiency consultant has to have the knowledge to know what technology is needed to obtain accurate electricity and heating consumption data. Some of the tools that they may use include radiation detectors, biological and water sampling equipment, traffic monitors, computers, industrial emission monitors, and chemical analysis equipment. A consultant needs to be knowledgeable in the many different kinds of energy, both traditional and renewable. From electric to solar to natural gas, they need to be well versed in them all to advise their clients on which options are best for them.
Cost & Savings
Alongside reducing a client’s carbon footprint a consultant will need to help their client cut costs. A large factor of this job is helping clients spend less money on their energy bills. In order to do this, a consultant needs to thoroughly review the business’s project costs and savings.
It is often easier for an energy consultant to make more of an impact when a company has a large budget to put towards improving its energy systems. Larger corporations like these also consume much more energy overall and have larger energy bills. This means that they also have the most to gain financially from becoming energy efficient. But more often than not, that isn’t the case. In most cases, the consultant will need to focus on all options to finance their initiative and cut costs.
Permission & Regulation
Before making any system recommendation, it is crucial to check whether planning permission is required. The systems being put in place need to comply with all building regulations. It is also crucial to stay up to date with government legislation. Environmental policies and regulations are constantly changing, especially as new warnings about the impact of climate change continue to arise.
No plan can be put into place if it does not comply with the latest legislation. A consultant will need to work with government agencies to obtain all of the necessary certifications. A few other issues a consultant may need to address are health and safety regulations, waste management policies, sustainability and energy solutions, soil assessments, and much more.
3. Recommend Materials
Now that the plan is developed it’s time to take action and recommend all the materials they have settled on. This job doesn’t just require a strong eye for detail: it also requires the ability to communicate those details clearly without making things overly complicated. The information and technology used to reduce a business’s carbon footprint can be complicated. So the energy consultant must have the ability to create easy-to-understand audit reports for their client.
When taking action a consultant may recommend changes like, replacing old machinery, implementing alternative energy sources, or exchanging one type of technology for another.
Simple changes like these can reduce carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency. Though consultants often recommend new machinery that wastes fewer resources, not all companies have the money for new technology. In cases like these, the consultant may have to get creative in the materials and methods they are recommending. They can make changes such as altering business hours or increasing awareness amongst employees, as long as they are not affecting productivity within the company.
The beauty of working as an energy efficiency consultant is that you are not only having a positive impact on the environment, but you’re also having a positive impact on the economic well-being of every company you work with. If you are looking to make some environmentally conscious changes in your home or business, call the McIntosh Corporation today.