08 May Benefits of an Energy Consultant: Increase Profits, Reduce Carbon Footprints, and Improve Occupant Comfort, Health and Safety
When seeking larger profits, lower carbon emissions and improved occupant comfort, health and safety, businesses, and institutions may find an energy consultant a valuable resource for achieving these goals. Implementing energy saving projects and reducing energy waste in buildings, facilities, and across portfolios, can lower utility bills which results in increased profits and lower carbon emissions. This is also called energy efficiency.
An energy consultant works with your organization on identifying and implementing energy cost saving opportunities in your buildings and portfolios that meet fiscal and payback requirements. Energy consultants can support your team from procurement through implementation and beyond to maximize energy savings and ensure ongoing success.
What is an energy consultant?
Like any consultant, an energy consultant supplements exiting teams providing specialized building energy optimization expertise and an outside perspective. An energy consultant’s domain of expertise includes identifying and implementing energy saving projects in your buildings and portfolios. By optimizing building operation of energy using systems, energy consultants can help reduce energy use and increase occupant comfort health and safety. Less energy consumption results in lower utility bills which translates to increased profits and reduced carbon emissions.
What does an energy consultant do?
Energy consultants help optimize building and portfolio energy use to reduce energy consumption, which results in lower utility bills and carbon emissions. Aligning with organizations’ needs and constraints, energy consultants perform a variety of tasks during the three major phases of energy savings projects, which are planning, implementation and on-going monitoring. Activities accomplishing these goals include, but are not limited to:
- identifying energy saving or improved occupant comfort, health and safety opportunities through utility bill analysis, building equipment and controls inspection, and monitoring of building/equipment energy use. This industry term for this process is called an energy audit.
- identifying water savings opportunities through the same avenues noted above.
- identify available no-cost resources or financial incentives available for eligible activities.
- developing strategic energy action plans to meet goals.
- identifying renewable generation and building resiliency options.
- identifying building electrification projects and strategies.
- implementing low-cost, energy saving actions through changes in operation, schedules, or controls. Energy consultants call this retro-commissioning.
- assisting with procurement.
- advising during implementation.
- commissioning retrofits or new construction projects to ensure equipment installation and operation matches design specifications.
- measuring and verifying energy savings post-installation, which is formally called measurement and verification (M&V).
On-Going Reporting and Monitoring
- providing ongoing, remote energy monitoring after project implementation to ensure lasting savings.
How does energy efficiency increase profits?
There are several ways implementing energy efficiency projects can yield higher profits.
Lower Operating Costs
The equation for increased profits with energy efficiency is simple.
Using less energy (or water) results in lower utility bills. Spending less on your building operations translates to lower operating costs. With reduced operating costs comes increased profits (with all other variables staying the same of course).
Occupant Productivity Benefits
In addition to profit yielded over time due to energy saving, studies show better air quality, temperature comfort, and lighting can result in increased occupant productivity. If your employees are more productive, that can result in increased output, and profits as well.
For additional building health and safety practices to ensure safe building operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, read more here.
Increased Value of Building Stock
Studies also show a positive correlation between certified, high performing, energy efficient buildings and rents. Meaning if you invest in green building development and energy efficiency retrofits, you can enjoy the financial benefits from higher rental income.
Can you benefit from an energy consultant?
If you are a small business or organization with straightforward utility bills, it is likely investing in an energy consultant will not provide the desired return on investment.
However, small, medium or large sized businesses or organizations with complex energy bills, multiple facilities, or different types of operations can benefit from engaging an energy consultant.
1. Expand staff capabilities without full-time costs with personalized service.
When you or your staff is busy with other operational demands and lack the time to support energy saving activities, an energy consultant provides valuable resources. They can also be less costly than hiring an energy manager full-time.
So when your staff is time constrained, knows what needs to be done but don’t have the time to do it or follow up, an energy consultant can provide to ensure efficient building and equipment operation and on-going energy savings.
You will also benefit from personalized service and strategic planning. A high quality, energy consultant will always work to understand your needs, goals and constraints, and act as if they are a member of your team. Any proposed projects and activities will align with your objectives and expectations to realize your desired outcomes. They can also help you form strategic plans for long-term energy use and sustainability goals.
2. Bring unique expertise and point of view.
Experienced energy consultants have knowledge and expertise in a variety of unique areas.
Not all staff may have the expertise to identify and implement equipment retrofits or control changes in your buildings. Energy consultants bring their specialized training and expertise of complex building operations and knowledge of different types of energy using systems, from HVAC to lighting, and various control systems to optimize your buildings and portfolio energy use. Many energy consultants can also identify water saving opportunities.
Optimal energy saving projects can look very different across sectors. There are industry specific best practices and energy saving opportunities that energy consultants can identify and implement of which internal staff might not be aware. For example, a grocery store will have different energy saving needs and opportunities than a school district or office building.
Billing Analysis Tools
Using specialized tools and analysis, an energy consultant can easily and quickly identify utility billing errors or anomalies that may lay hidden to in-house staff.
Procurement and Implementation Experience
Energy consultants know what products and companies perform well. Choices involved in sourcing reliable, cost-effective, and accurately sized equipment and choosing quality installers can be overwhelming to procurement staff that may not deal with these types of purchases regularly. Energy consultants can support your staff through this process from bidding through implementation and beyond. This can take on many forms from helping issue a request for proposal, evaluate bidders’ responses, and advise in-house staff during implementation.
With limited in-house staff, organizations can benefit from third-party verification of installation and energy savings.
Commissioning equipment after installation ensures operation as designed. It is a valuable energy consultant service and helps ensure your project meets expected returns on investment.
Measurement and verification also provides peace of mind that your investment will pay off as intended. Using industry-approved techniques and tools, energy consultants will monitor energy use following equipment installation or control changes to verify expected energy savings.
On-going remote energy monitoring is another unique energy consulting service which relieves your staff’s time and helps maintain or even continuously improve your building’s energy performance.
3. Identify and apply for financial incentives for better returns.
You may also be able to shorten payback on energy efficiency investments with no-cost services and financial incentives for eligible activities and projects. Good energy consultants are intimately aware of these services. There are many utility energy efficiency programs available through utilities and third parties across the country that can help reduce the out-of-pocket costs to invest in energy saving projects. An energy consultant can identify and help navigate sometimes complex incentive applications to ensure you receive the maximum, eligible funding.
Hiring an Energy Consultant
You can engage an energy consultant for any phase of your energy saving journey from planning through post-installation. If you are looking for a trusted partner and expert to help manage your energy use, we can help. You can contact us anytime through our contact page. If you’re in Northern California you can reach us at 510.834.6420. We also have regional offices in Southern California, Boise, Salt Lake City and New York. You can find those phone numbers and office locations here.