Undertaking an energy assessment can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be if the energy expert can understand and follow an impact analysis. This column will cover this methodology and cite a few examples of how to undertake an impact analysis while doing energy assessments.
Published ASME standards for energy assessments provide a good starting point and offer guidelines for conducting these assessments. Nevertheless, our resources — budgets, human resources, and time — are always limited. Hence, there’s a strong need to undertake energy assessments from an impact-level perspective and increase the cost-effectiveness of these efforts. We are still talking about a systems approach; I’m not suggesting cutting any corners while performing energy assessments.
Impact analysis refers to a study that represents the impact (savings or increase) due to changes in operating conditions, best practices, energy efficiency projects, etc. The question you should always ask: “Is this system or component going to see a difference in its operation if we implement a project?” If the answer is “yes,” then it should be included in the impact system. If the answer is “no,” then it doesn’t matter whether you include it or not, and I recommend excluding it. Below are two specific scenarios we come across while undertaking energy assessments that help significantly illustrate the concept.