Energy Audit Schools and Commercial Businesses

Whether at a school or a business, the aim of an energy audit is to provide insight in to energy usage and its distribution across appliances over time.

The motivation could be:

• Saving money
• Complying with stakeholder requirements
• Identification of opportunities from energy efficiency and energy conservation as well as the actions needed to achieve these
• Minimising environmental impact, or
• Displaying expected energy use profiles after implementation of energy efficiency and energy conservation measures

Many organisations are motivated by a combination of these factors.

The Balanced Sustainability approach includes research and data from:

• A desk-top audit of available bills and data
• All appliances which use energy
• A walk-around energy audit to each room of a defined area, and at schools incorporating student assistance in information gathering
• Individual meetings with staff and during group based learning program
• Monitoring power consumption on a number of individual electrical appliances over set periods using a power meter, and
• Measuring light levels using a Lux meter

Information is analysed and translated into recommendations presented in an energy audit report that is accompanied by an action plan. The energy audit identifies opportunities in relation to energy efficiency and energy conservation. It also prescribes regimes in using an organsiation’s current assets that will ensure more efficient energy usage. The outcome from the energy audit supports a percentage reduction in energy expenses, presenting the equivalent reduction in environmental impact, i.e. Greenhouse Gas emission.

The action plan proposes specific projects, which result in achievements for a reduction in energy cost and environmental impact going forward. The details of the action plan are supported by a summary of quantifiable recommendations.

Example of energy savings uncovered during energy audit

Summary of Recommendations

The energy audit report displays energy usage by building, which can be an advantage due to the age distribution of building stock. The energy audit report also displays energy consumption by type of appliances, where categories can include: Lighting, Electrical and/or Gas Heating and Cooling, Printing, Other Office Appliances, Refrigeration, Other Kitchen Appliances, Hot Water, IT and Machinery.

Example of electricity consumption by building

Energy Audit graph

Activities for Engaging Staff 

Balanced Sustainability runs a group-based learning program “Energy Audit – Purpose and Benefits” to employees. The session increases skills and knowledge of the upcoming energy audit as well as presenting the organisation’s energy baseline, environmental impact, energy consumption and it’s distribution over time. Employees also participates in providing details about hours/days usage of individual appliances. This practice increases the integrity of an energy audit report, such that the recommendations for energy savings become tailored to the individual organisation.

Example of electricity distribution at a school

Energy distribution by time

Student Engagement Learning

Student engagement is important for driving motivation. Consequently students are invited by Balanced Sustainability to participate in the data collection process of the energy audit. The energy auditor briefs students about the ResourceSmart Schools program (if such has been introduced at the school), reasons, method and benefits of conducting an energy audit.

Engaged Students

During data collection students are asked to examine all appliances, which use energy in a defined area of the school. They are also asked to conduct an investigation whether all rooms in the nominated area have sufficient lighting. Students use a Lux meter and a lighting levels table from Australian Standard AS1680:1990 showing the recommended Lux level for various tasks and activities.

Based on the data collected, scenarios for energy efficiency and energy conservation are established, calculating energy consumption and saving opportunities. These scenarios provide applied numeracy exercises for the students. Students are also asked to provide their suggestions on how to save energy at the school.

Each day 10 to 12 students in groups of four are involved in sessions of one to two hours. At Timboon P12 School, 32 students from Grade 6 have successfully been included in the process bringing excitement, engagement and awareness to TP12’s sustainability journey and integrity to their energy audit report.

How Much Does an Energy Audit Cost?

The cost of an energy audit is generally based on a free site visit and a written quote. The expense of an energy audit from Balanced Sustainability can also be allocated to areas such as staff development, student education and/or as an incursion project.

Balanced Sustainability conducts energy audits to the principals of the Australian and New Zealand standard for energy audits – AS/NZS 3598

Testimonials

“Balanced Sustainability has prepared a detailed and thorough Energy Audit for our school, in preparation for the Core Module work we wished to carry out with ResourceSmart Schools initiative. Heidi Fog worked with a variety of students from grades 3-6, educating and involving them in the data gathering process. Students, teachers and administration staff were all involved in the process and had input into the detailed workings of their environment. Follow up presentations to School Council and Staff were provided by Heidi, along with work and an excursion with our newly formed ‘Green Team.’ Six months from the time of the Energy Audit we see a 24.80% (Latest saving = 39.87%) saving on our electricity bill and we have set a 40% reduction as our target. We cannot thank Heidi enough for the work she has done for our school and the passion she has passed to our school community” School Council, Fyans Park Primary School

Balanced Sustainability was a recipient of City of Greater Geelong’s Community Engagement Award 2015 for actively working to create a sustainable future for the Geelong region.

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