The optimization of the energy performance of an organization is the achievement of specific actions ordered in a sequential manner. Beginning with the management of the entire process, going through the definition of the required technical actions, up to the implementation, and subsequent economic quantification, achieving energy efficiency can become as complex an issue as the facilities under study. In this article, the details of an energy audit will be discussed to propose the actions required by an organization to reduce its consumption.
As part of the family of standards for Energy Management Systems (ISO 50001:2011), the ISO 50002:2014 standard was developed: Energy Audits: Requirements with Guidance for their Use. Here, it is established that “an energy audit is a detailed analysis of the energy performance of an organization, equipment, system or processes…Energy audits are planned and conducted as part of the identification and prioritization of opportunities to improve energy performance, reduce energy losses and obtain related environmental benefits”.
Mechanisms for the Identification of Improvements in Energy Performance
From what has been stated above, it can be glimpsed that standard 50002 establishes the basic requirements to be met for the determination of potential energy savings by conducting an energy audit. To do this, the study phenomenon is divided into three levels or categories: 1, 2 and 3.
Level 1 studies are the most economical and include activities based on the determination of macro potentials, found through the analysis of the connected load (type of service, energy use), evaluation and/or development of energy indicators. through the review of service billing, production or other important variables, as well as visual inspections of the installation.
At level 2 , the deliverables made at level 1 are included, but they go deeper into the electrical distribution system through the installation of load recording equipment, with which parameters such as power factor, load, demand, among others, of the installation. With this category, recommendations of a higher degree of investment can be made than the previous one, since more detailed information is available on the status of the system.
Level 3 includes the other two previous ones and is the most expensive and in-depth type since it complements the study of energy use with the mechanical phenomenon that it motorizes. For example: a level 3 study on a pump system studies not only energy consumption, but also includes mechanical variables such as pumped flow, pressure and pipe networks. Its use makes it possible to identify the exact point where the investment should be made.
In conclusion, implementing an energy audit is the best strategy to improve the organization’s energy performance, as opposed to isolated and decoupled analysis. ISO 50002 proposes three levels of studies for all types of facilities, level 2 being recommended from my experience to start an analysis with the most cost-effective information possible. It is important to highlight that the degree of success of an audit will depend enormously on the support that the consultant has from the management and operational staff of the facility, who are the ones who live with it on a daily basis.
Published in: Factor de Éxito Magazine, Edition VII, 2017, page. 52 ( See more of the magazine )