Preparing for an Energy Audit: Five Things to Do Before the Contractor Comes

In your efforts to create a more eco-friendly work environment and save money on your building’s utility bills, are you

In your efforts to create a more eco-friendly work environment and save money on your building’s utility bills, are you teaming with an energy consultant? If so, you’re already on the right path.

Doing so can help you identify ways your company can reduce its carbon footprint, conserve valuable energy and protect your bottom line along the way. When you team with a consultant, one of the first steps will be an energy audit of your existing operations.

To expedite the process and ensure it’s as thorough as possible, it’s helpful to take care of a few things before it occurs. Today, we’re sharing five steps to take to ready your organization for this transformative deep-dive into the world of sustainability.

Ready to learn more? Let’s get into it.

1. Note All Existing Pain Points

Do your employees complain that it’s still freezing, even when you turn the heat on full blast? Likewise, are they still sweating when you blast the AC? If so, make a note of this concern, as it likely means your building isn’t as energy-efficient as it could be. Or, maybe your power bills have spiked in recent months for no plausible reason. Again, write it down.

From the physically obvious issues such as window condensation and mold to the more ambiguous complaints including draftiness and chill, there is nothing too insignificant to note. Also, detail any current pest problems or strange odors at your locale. Even if you aren’t sure the culprit is energy-related, it’s better to have too much information than not enough.

2. Get Your Bills Ready

Your energy consultant will need to see copies of your recent energy bills, dating back at least one year. Ensure your records include all charges incurred for power, heating and air conditioning.

Don’t have these records on hand? Contact your local utility provider to request them. If applicable, your fuel provider should also have the details you need.

If you do contact your fuel dealer, be sure to get details on the amount of fuel your company uses each month, reported in total gallons. Prices are helpful to include, but the meat of actionable data will center on the quantity you consume rather than the premium you pay. The same applies to any alternative fuel source you utilize, including wood.

3. Learn Your Building Inside and Out

Put simply, the more information you can present to your energy consultant, the less time he or she will have to spend gathering it. Instead, those valuable hours can be spent helping your company revolutionize the way it approaches energy savings.

That said, it’s critical to become well-versed in your commercial building. You should have hard data on its current number of occupants, heating and cooling zones, heat sources, standard thermostat settings, and any appliances or devices that draw a notoriously large amount of power.

4. Make Plans to Be There

An energy audit will normally take place during business hours, so the consultant can get a view of how the building operates under typical conditions. If you’re the stakeholder responsible for scheduling and overseeing this project, it’s important that you be present for its duration.

Why? The consultant may need your assistance with accessing difficult-to-reach areas including crawl spaces. You can provide the needed resources, as well as answer any questions that may arise. You can also be on hand to answer any contractor inquiries during the audit.

5. Safely Discard Any Ashes

Does your building operate on a wood-burning heat system? If so, it’s a good idea to clean up any residual soot or ashes before the contractor arrives.

One, you’ll help to establish a clean work zone in which the energy audit can take place. You’ll also help to ensure that a blower door test doesn’t stir debris into the air.

During this process, the contractor mounts a fan into an exterior door frame. As it pulls air out of the building, the fan, in turn, lowers the air pressure within. That pressurized outside air then seeps back in the property through any cracks or unsealed areas in the building, revealing areas vulnerable to energy loss.

Making the Most of Your Energy Audit

You’ve already taken the first step toward a greener and more future-focused workplace. As you work one-on-one with your consultant, you’ll identify even more areas where you can improve efficiencies and cut down costs.

To make sure you see a positive return on your energy audit investment, take the time to tend to these simple steps in the days beforehand. When you do, you’ll help set your company up for the kind of long-term success it deserves. In the meantime, check out our post on ways to discern if you’re spending too much on energy — and what to do about it.

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