Challenges and opportunities of the energy audit
The business magazine markt & wirtschaft westfalen interviewed Eva-Maria Metz, Manager Market Energy Efficiency Solutions at Kieback&Peter, about the benefits of energy audits.
Energy audit vs energy management system
Energy efficiency as the main pillar of resource and climate protection is changing our energy infrastructure landscape sustainably. It’s not entirely up to the individual market participants to decide whether they want to act energy-efficiently or not. The legislator provides clear guidelines that regularly pose enormous challenges to the affected companies. One example is the Law on Energy Services, which was amended in 2014. This obliges companies with more than 250 employees or an annual turnover of more than € 50 million and an annual balance sheet total of more than € 43 million to carry out an energy audit in accordance with DIN EN 16247-1 every four years.
Alternatively, an energy management system according to ISO 50001 or an eco-management system according to EMAS can be introduced. All companies that have opted for the energy audit will soon be recertified. The controlling authority BAFA – Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control – audited more than 9,000 companies in the last commitment period and demanded the energy reports resulting from the audit, according to the annual report. Increased obligations will not make it easier for affected companies to meet the requirements in the coming inspections.
The energy audit is more than a burdensome obligation. The potential savings are often underestimated.
What will change for affected companies?
The audit report shall be based on current and verifiable operational data for twelve consecutive months. A simple evaluation of the main consumption meters will no longer be sufficient in the future. The companies have to go deeper into the energy analysis through sub-metering. Another challenging change lies in the more restrictive interpretation of the multi-site procedure: this allows similar locations to be clustered, thus reducing the number of external assignments of the energy auditor. This naturally has a positive effect on the costs of the audit. In the 2019 commitment period, this regulation will be interpreted much more strictly and may no longer be applied to technically complex locations such as hospitals or production sites.
How can affected companies benefit from the energy audit?
At first glance, the energy audit may appear to be a burdensome obligation for many companies. The potential savings slumbering in buildings and facilities are often underestimated. A systematic analysis of consumers – as carried out in a high-quality audit – provides the basis for uncovering, evaluating and implementing potential savings. A valid (energy) data basis provides the necessary investment security for the evaluation of renovation measures.
What role does AI play in energy-efficient buildings?
Thanks to artificial intelligence, major efficiency improvements are often possible even in existing buildings without major retrofits or conversions. Using a machine learning approach, existing data collected by the building management system in the past can be combined with forecast data such as weather or occupancy. Intelligent algorithms learn the complex and very individual behaviour of buildings and systems at different operating points. The energy demand of the respective building can thus be precisely predicted.
Kieback&Peter supports the planning, implementation and maintenance of building automation and provides comprehensive advice on energy efficiency and energy management in buildings. Our goal remains to always achieve maximum efficiency with unlimited comfort for the customer.
The interview was published in the June issue of markt & wirtschaft westfalen.