Everyone has a plan, right? “Fail to plan and you plan to fail.” We have probably all heard that before. It makes sense. If you have a plan, you will have success, everything will go smoothly, and the goals will be achieved. However, when it comes to paying energy bills we know they continue to show up every month, according to the electric or gas company plan. The result is almost never a cost as low as you plan on paying or a smooth ride through the budget meeting. Additionally, the ongoing battle goes something like this:
You: “Wow, wasn’t expecting that this month!”
Utility bill: “Glad somebody left those lights on, or was that from the old cooling system…no wait, the big boiler downstairs, behind closed doors, you should see what is going on in there!”
You: “I will go take a look at…”
Interruption occurs. Business continues. Unforeseen events occur. Life happens.
How do you prepare for this monthly struggle with the electric and gas bills? An energy audit, or energy assessment, is your first step to achieving your energy/ environmental/ economic goals. Energy assessments are an action-oriented plan where you can prioritize capital project spending, operational improvements, and see what financial tools are available to help you further your organization's mission and achieve your goals.
Equipment decisions only happen every 5, 10, or 15 years so you want to get it right.
The important aspects are -
Do you know what you need?
Are you getting what you expect?
Does this meet my budget?
We all know that you get what you pay for - but there are programs out there to make sure you get a quality energy audit at a price you can afford. There are grants, rebates, on bill funding, loans, etc. that can be used for energy audit costs.
Different levels of energy audits can help develop an Energy Plan. The right plan will help you identify where energy costs are going, what actions can be taken to lower the expenses, and the correct replacements when you replace energy using equipment.
Consider this: while conducting a Level I Energy Audit, sponsored by Ohio Interfaith Power & Light, with a Church's Green Team in 2016, a freezer was found with a chain and a padlock on it. Inquiries all around found that no one in the church or regular users had any idea who chained it or why. When the chain was cut and the refrigerator was opened, the block of ice in the picture was found. The freezer was costing the church over $250 per year that is now being directed to the church's mission in the community.
Question everything, as you may be surprised what you find.