In today’s world, energy conservation has become a top priority for individuals, businesses, and governments worldwide. With the increasing demand for energy and the depletion of non-renewable resources, it is important to find ways to reduce energy consumption and improve energy efficiency.
This is where energy audits such as BASIX and NatHERS come into play. In this blog, we will discuss what an energy audit is and why it is necessary.
What is an Energy Audit?
An energy audit represents a comprehensive assessment of a building’s energy use, including its electrical, mechanical, and thermal systems. It identifies the areas where energy is being wasted and recommends ways to reduce energy consumption and improve efficiency.
The audit involves a detailed analysis of energy bills, building design, equipment, and operations and includes an inspection of the building envelope, lighting, HVAC system, and other energy-consuming systems.
The primary objective of an energy audit, such as a BASIX certificate, is to identify opportunities to reduce energy consumption, save money on energy bills, and improve the overall energy efficiency of the building.
The audit report provides a detailed analysis of the building’s energy consumption, identifies energy-saving opportunities, and recommends measures to improve energy efficiency.
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Why is an Energy Audit Necessary?
There are several reasons why an energy audit is necessary, including the following:
- Cost savings: An energy audit can identify opportunities to reduce energy consumption, which can result in significant cost savings on energy bills.
- Improved energy efficiency: An energy audit can identify ways to enhance the energy efficiency of the building, which can reduce energy waste and improve the overall performance of the building.
- Reduced environmental impact: Energy consumption is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. An energy audit can identify various ways to minimise energy consumption and help reduce the building’s environmental impact.
- Greater market value: With the government and citizens getting conscious of the environment, energy-efficient, BASIX, or NABERS-compliant buildings have greater market value.
- Compliance with regulations: Many governments and local authorities have regulations regarding energy consumption and efficiency. An energy audit can help ensure compliance with these regulations.
- Improved occupant comfort: Improving the energy efficiency of a building can also improve occupant comfort by reducing temperature fluctuations, improving air quality, and reducing noise levels.
What are the categories in an energy audit checklist?
An energy audit checklist typically includes the following categories:
- Building envelope: Inspection of the building’s roof, walls, windows, and doors to identify any areas of air leakage or insufficient insulation that may be contributing to energy waste.
- Lighting: Analysis of the lighting systems in the building, including the type of lighting used, the age of the fixtures, and the lighting controls.
- HVAC systems: Inspection of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems in the building to identify opportunities for improving the energy efficiency of these systems, such as upgrading to more efficient equipment, improving maintenance practices, and optimising control strategies. This category is an important component of the BASIX certificate.
- Water heating: Inspection of the building’s hot water systems, including the type of equipment used, the age of the equipment, and the water heating controls.
- Plug loads: Analysis of the electrical devices and equipment in the building that are not part of the lighting, HVAC, or water heating systems.
- Renewable energy: Analysis of the potential for installing renewable energy systems, including solar panels or wind turbines, to reduce the building’s dependence on grid electricity.
- Building management: Analysis of the building’s energy management practices, including the use of energy management software, the effectiveness of energy monitoring and reporting, and the implementation of energy-efficient policies and procedures.
What are the energy audit systems in Australia?
In Australia, there are several energy audit systems available that can help building owners and managers improve the energy efficiency of their buildings.
- Building Sustainability Index (BASIX): BASIX is a mandatory environmental assessment tool that applies to all new residential developments and renovations in New South Wales. It aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption in buildings. BASIX assesses the energy efficiency, water efficiency, and thermal comfort of a building and requires the use of sustainable design principles, such as passive solar design and rainwater harvesting.
- Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (commonly known as NatHERS): NatHERS is a national rating system that assesses the energy efficiency of residential buildings. It uses computer simulation to estimate the amount of energy required to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature in a building. The rating is expressed as a star rating out of ten, with ten stars being the highest rating.
- National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS): NABERS is a national rating system that evaluates the environmental performance of buildings, including their energy use. It provides a rating out of six stars based on the building’s energy consumption, water usage, waste management, and indoor environment quality.
- Green Star: Green Star is a rating system conceptualised by the Green Building Council of Australia, which assesses the environmental performance of buildings and communities. It includes criteria related to energy efficiency, as well as other environmental factors such as materials, water use, and indoor environment quality.
- Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) Program: The CBD program requires commercial building owners to disclose the energy efficiency of their buildings when they are sold or leased. This includes obtaining an accredited energy efficiency rating, such as a NABERS rating or a Building Energy Efficiency Certificate (BEEC).
Energy audits are available at different levels, depending on the level of detail required, and can be conducted by trained professionals. If you’re interested in improving the energy efficiency of your building, consider scheduling an energy audit today.
James Martin is a passionate writer and the founder of OnTimeMagazines & EastLifePro. He loves to write principally about technology trends. He loves to share his opinion on what’s happening in tech around the world.