How to Conduct an Office Energy Audit

The main goal for nearly any business is to make money. Even those not-for-profit organizations that have some worthy cause as their cornerstone are looking to raise the funds that will keep their staff paid and ensure progress towards their goals. And part of keeping the cash flow positive is ensuring that money isn’t being wasted in other areas. For this reason, many companies conduct regular waste assessments in order to find leaks and plug them. But if you’re not running energy audits, as well, you could be overspending where your electrical efficiency is concerned. So here are just a few tips to help you conduct an energy audit in your office and potentially save some money in the process.

The easiest way to get the job done is to hire a professional auditor. In some cases you could hire on a contractor, but this is a little different than say, a financial audit. It really doesn’t take that long; even if you have a large corporate space, the auditor should be able to spot problem areas within just a few days (the average home energy audit only takes a few hours, for the purpose of comparison). In truth, your best bet is to start by calling your power provider. If they don’t have technicians on hand to complete this task for you they can no doubt recommend reputable services in the area that will meet your needs. Just keep in mind that most of these vendors only offer audits, which means that while they can point out problem areas and perhaps even make recommendations for changes to improve energy efficiency, they rarely provide the actual manual labor to make these alterations. In short, you’ll probably have to hire someone else for that portion.

Of course, not all companies have the cash on hand to conduct an energy audit. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t get similar results by doing your own inspection. And there are a few areas you’ll want to focus on. If your office uses heat or air conditioning, for example, you might want to look for areas where the bought air could be escaping, thus raising your utility bill. If doors, windows, vents and the like are not properly sealed you could be overspending on air. So check for leaks by pressurizing the atmosphere (turn on fans) and holding a candle or incense near frames. If the smoke wavers you’ve got a leak. At least, that’s the easiest test. In most cases, simple weather stripping or insulation will solve this issue.

But what about even bigger power draws like lighting and computer equipment? If you think that you could be wasting money in these areas you should look into options that allow you to minimize your expenditure. You can easily start by using natural lighting when possible and replacing energy-sucking incandescent bulbs with CFL or LED options. As for computers, think about using a program like Faronics that allows you to monitor and regulate energy usage. You don’t necessarily have to bank on a solar power rebate following the pricy installation of panels in order to cut energy usage (although this is a great way to support clean, alternative energy production). With an energy audit you can find problem areas in your office and make the changes that will help you to conserve energy and save on your utility bills.