In many cases kicking off the process of energy audits deals with the only interest (almost unique except «savings») to comply with the energy efficiency regulatory schemes (i.e. European Directive of energy efficiency); and in many of those cases that fact helps designing proposals lacking of a structure that delivers the right set up for the transition between the “energy audit” and the “energy efficiency vision” overall target (decoupling productivity and energy use, gaining resilience through energy management, increased quality due to more accurate energy standards introduction and practice). Whichever the system or organization we are dealing with, above mentioned circumstance could provide room for improvement as well as room for disaster and waste of resources.
And room for improvement or disaster (sometimes both in different areas) might happen, despite of ISO50001 offering an integrated management system. Meaning may be that kind of “integration” that you get when moved either high enough in abstraction into the management and administrative processes, or far enough in figures cooking to disconnect from the physical processes in which energy is used. Probably robust quality systems in place will contribute to avoid an excessively disconnected implementation, and, if already there, environmental management systems as well as accounting and risk (related to physical systems) assessment will also play a relevant part in the game.
For the sake of “mirroring” (the physical and the managerial levels), harmonizing and balancing materials and energy management, as well as enlarging the scope of existing management systems and models that impose too narrow views for modelling the ongoing processes, I did introduce the “energy modality” concept when dealing with energy efficiency in different organizations. This energy modality concept has also contributed to distinguish energy (as a natural resource “either traditional or renewable”) from the energy market product (invoices and costs related), from the overall energy in the system (capacity to accomplish a work). As well as sometimes from the manufacturing equipment, processes and technologies which follow other productivity schemes. At the same time energy modalities are remaining in the multidimensional ecosystem of energy efficiency as a countable and measurable connector allowing sounded benchmarking among different systems.
As for the “energy audits”, whichever the methodology, if it ever happen to be one different of a fix list of questions and tables aiming to comply with an administrative procedure, I used to be targeting from the preliminary stages, in addition to “energy savings and energy quantification” (most of the lifecycles oriented methods do not get much further from this approach) the following:
- Finer detail in equipment and processes performance, energy related parameters or variables in mainstream and downstream processes, as well as a basic structuring in overall energy efficiency processes
- Development and consolidation of energy efficiency program in buildings
- Energy systems integration (operational, managerial and directive levels) and clean technologies deployment in solutions proposals
- Organizational development for energy efficiency management as upcoming strategic area in operational excellence
- Transitional analysis in management systems as a result of energy efficiency
- Deployment of concept maps and concept models used to stimulate process reengineering
- Deepening knowledge on different physical, management and information systems in regard to energy use
- Development of an overall management structure operating in energy systems (energy modalities and energy services) enabled with ESCO management model
- Orienting process safety and standardization initiatives to the role of energy and energy efficiency within the process management environment
- Identification, quantification and assessment on opportunities related to the circular economy concept in which recycling, reusing and recovering do apply among and within the different energy modalities
- Clarification and prioritization on the spectrum of energy services in the widest sense as a mechanism to develop further steps for energy efficiency cultural shift in the organization (financial services, energy modalities supply and management, energy storage, demand management and the like)
- Energy audit concept design, enabling benchmarking, mirroring and adaptation mechanisms that facilitate auditing model and process replication
- Organizational landscape setup and long term perspective for change management
- Results transfer, dissemination opportunities and communication consistency facilitating systems management and management areas coordination and integration