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What is Energy Management Consulting?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 18 May 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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The field of energy management consulting is a relatively new one, having been developed in the late 1990s in response to growing concern over the warming of the earth's atmosphere. The primary goal of energy management consulting is to evaluate current energy use, devise strategies to reduce usage, and minimize wasted energy. This field is forecast to experience steady growth in the next five to eight years, as companies begin to see energy management as a low impact way to reduce overhead costs.

There is no formal educational training program to become an energy management consultant. Consultants have a range of backgrounds, from mechanical engineer to heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) technicians. There are specialized courses available in energy management concepts, but they are non-accredited and may not be relevant or useful.

Energy management consulting is a service that the organization purchases. The length of the consulting engagement and the total cost varies, depending on the size of the company, number of locations, and the level of internal organization. For example, a retail store chain with detailed schematics of all their locations, specifications for their HVAC, lighting, and other units that require electricity will have a shorter engagement than a firm that requires the consultants to collect this data.

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The process for evaluating current energy use includes collection of actual usage data and evaluation of the ideal usage level for all the different equipment and systems. Additional calculations are done to determine usage patterns, customer and staff habits, and client response to different options for reducing energy use. This information is all part of the final recommendation that will be provided by the energy management consulting firm.

The different strategies for reducing energy use vary widely, based on the amount of funds available to invest in new equipment, renovations, or other changes. Common strategies include lowering lighting, increasing the standard room temperature in the summer and reducing it in the winter. Other strategies may include building an enclosed receiving dock to avoid heat loss through large shipping doors, underground storage of cold items, and using the roof for solar panels.

Wasted energy is typically defined as energy that is used but serves no specific purpose. An example of wasted energy is full lighting for a washroom with minimal usage. Other examples of wasted energy include poor insulation, half empty refrigeration units, machines continually running, and the use of automatic door openers where not required.

The report provided by the energy management consulting firm will identify areas of strength, weakness, and recommendations to meet the company’s energy goals. Always ask for a cost and benefit analysis of the recommendations, so that management will have all the data required to make a decision. In addition to the final recommendation report, be sure to ask for copies of all the data, so that results can be compared over time.

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