“Generating Energy efficiency is like having the availability of the biggest oil field in Italy”

16/09/2015 11:51:00 | News

How to pursue energy efficiency: energy audit

In the last few decades, energy management increased its importance not only for big industries, but also for small and medium companies.

A better management of consumption generates benefits both for companies (lower management costs) and collectivity because energy saving is often proportionally connected to an abatement of CO2 emissions in the atmosphere. 

Energy saving must become an essential “procedure”. Therefore, it can become a big resource available for companies, with shorter investment recovery compared to other energetic technologies. Energy efficiency can be referred as the cheapest energy field. 

In this regard, Energy Audit is one of the key factor in an energy efficiency program.

What is an Energy Audit?

“Energy Audit” means a systematic and documented process done in order to obtain a report with all the energetic features of a building (industrial settlement, productive process).

What are the objectives of the Energy Audit? How this process looks like?

In summary the objectives of the Energy Audit are:

  • define the energy balance of the structure under consideration;
  • identify interventions of technological requalification;
  • evaluate technical and economical opportunities for each action;
  • reduce operating costs.

Energy Audit is the first step to start every Energy Efficiency process. It allows evaluating if an intervention could be worthwhile and convenient, both in technical and economical terms.

There are two different types of Audit:

  • preliminary Audit;
  • detailed Audit;

The preliminary Audit is directed to the energetic analysis of macro systems, such as the status of electrical system (both enlightenment devices and motive power machineries), thermal (both for heating/cooling and for the manufacturing process) and the building structure. Its main purpose is to provide the greatest number of information on the macro topics of energy efficiency. The inspection of the manufacturing site and data sourcing on energy consumption allow to identify the possible areas of intervention and to evaluate the return on investments over years.

Interventions can be of technical nature, such as the replacement of obsolete equipment, or administrative, such as the adoption of a more convenient energy pricing.

The detailed energy audit takes specific measurements of all equipment within the site facility and all energy saving measures are meticulously calculated and quantified in financial terms. Detailed energy audits usually consist of six main steps:

  • Analysis of the diverse energy supplies (e.g. electric energy, fuels, self-generation, other sources of energy);
  • Analysis of the manufacturing process (analysis of different processes and their weight in terms of energy consumption as well as main energy consumer equipment);
  • Analysis of the horizontal technologies and services (e.g. lighting, air conditioning and ventilation systems, production and distribution of heating and cooling etc.);
  • Energy accounting (distribution of the energy consumed by the organization among the different equipment, systems, operations or other divisions);
  • Identifying and quantifying opportunities for reducing energy consumption and increasing energy efficiency and their repercussions on energy costs and maintenance, in addition to other benefits (environmental);
  • Energy audit report.

There are different type of possible interventions in order to pursue the objective of Energy Efficiency. The most important are the following:

  • Installation of energy production from renewable sources, such as:
    1. Photovoltaic systems
    2. Solar thermal systems
    3. Geothermal systems combined with heat pumps
  • Installation of high-efficiency cogeneration for the streamlining of electricity and heat
  • Power factor Interventions for reducing reactive power
  • Installation of high-efficiency enlightening devices based on LED technology
  • Installation of inverters on electrical machine operators
  • Interventions of building renovation
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