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Your Energy Audit in 4 Easy Steps

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Your Energy Audit in 4 Easy Steps 

Conducting your own energy audit is a great way to save money – both on your monthly energy expenses, and on the upfront costs associated with hiring an auditor. But to be successful, you need to have a plan and clearly defined goals that you can track over time. While you may be able to conduct your audit in an afternoon, it’s important to watch your progress across weeks and months to make sure changes are saving you money.

Step One: Perform Your DIY Energy Audit

You can read more about why a DIY audit is a good choice for small businesses in our recent post. Then use our DIY Energy Audit guide to complete your own!

Step Two: Create a Plan

As you performed your audit, you probably observed some things that are wasting energy. Now, it’s time to form a plan to make sure these items get checked off your list. 

Divide your to-do’s into categories, differentiating between easy wins – the small changes that you can make quickly – and the more complex changes that may disrupt operations or require a larger budget, professional assistance, or more research. You may end up with a spectrum of changes to make over a prolonged period, but this can be a good strategy to spread out any upfront costs. 

Next, consider which changes will make the biggest difference - whether it’s bang for your buck, remedying a safety hazard, gaining a convenience, or making an update before the seasons change. You may find that something more complex is actually a higher priority than something that would be easy to complete today. 

Finally, it’s time to compile your timeline. Consider what resources will be necessary to implement high-priority changes throughout your space. Some changes may need to be completed during off-hours, and other changes may require buy-in from employees or stakeholders, which may take more time. After you’ve placed the highest priorities on a timeline, add medium and low priorities, too. 

Creating a plan enables you to see exactly how you're going to improve energy efficiency in your business. When you set expectations at the beginning, you’re more likely to get the results you’re hoping for.

Step Three: Get Other People Involved

Unless you’re a one- or two-person business, you probably can't make sweeping energy improvements to your building by yourself. Get buy-in from stakeholders who are involved in budgets, facility upkeep, general operations. You can also get your employees involved and make everyone part of the solution. 

If policies or procedures are changing as a result of your audit, explain the changes – and why they’re happening – so employees know what is expected of them. 

Some employees may also be interested in helping, from changing out lightbulbs to researching equipment replacements. You may be able to offer incentives to show appreciation to employees who are onboard. 

Don’t forget to share results and progress with everyone as you see savings roll in.

Step Four: Monitor Results

It's one thing to close drafts around windows and doors. It's another thing to actually see your heating bills go down. Throughout the process, it’s vital to watch your energy bills for signs of your savings. To get an accurate understanding of your progress, ask yourself:

  • Did your energy use go down this month compared to last month?

  • Did your energy use go down this month compared to this time last year? In many cases, this is a better measure than looking from one month to the next, when temperatures (and heating and cooling needs) may be changing. 

  • Did your operations or headcount grow, scale back, or change, requiring more or less energy on a day-to-day basis?

  • Are there certain months or times of the year when your operations speed up, requiring higher energy consumption? Have your hours of operation changed?

  • How much are you saving at the one-month marker? Two months? Six months? One year? 

  • Which improvements created the biggest dip in your energy consumption?

When referencing your bill, be sure that you're looking at kilowatt hours for electricity usage and therms for natural gas. While month-to-month price comparisons may seem helpful, it can also be deceiving. Depending on what kind of plan you’re on, your rate may go up and down depending on the season. That’s called a variable rate energy plan. Conversely, fixed rate energy plans cost the same amount every month for the length of your contract. And they can often give you the peace of mind of budget certainty.

If you're ready to dive in and start making big changes to your business's monthly energy usage, there's no time like the present. Our DIY energy audit will help you determine where your business excels and where it needs extra help. 

Start My Energy Audit

 

Posted: April 24, 2018

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