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The UAE-based technology and sustainability-driven facilities management (FM) company Farnek will now use virtual platforms to audit energy consumptions of commercial buildings
The virtual audit system, working remotely due to COVID-19, will provide recommendations about how to use energy more efficiently and cut costs, other than supporting businesses in assessing energy usage and utility patterns.
Nadia Ibrahim, head of consultancy, Farnek, said, “A virtual energy audit is much like a traditional audit, where we analyse the data and develop a list of recommendations for reducing consumption and associated cost savings. Identification of energy inefficiencies in commercial buildings relied on physical audits, until recently, where a team of trained auditors visited a building to perform a series of tests with specialised equipment. A virtual energy audit will be cheaper and more efficient than its physical alternative. It will lower the barrier for building owners to find out exactly how much energy they are wasting.”
According to the research carried out by Farnek, the average occupancy of 12 Dubai hotels between March to May last year was 73%, which has slipped to 25% this year, due to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic.
Hence, their corresponding energy consumption fell to 23,000 MWh this year, compared to last year’s 32,000 MWh. If hotels had used an effective energy management system, they could have reduced their combined consumption to 19,000 MWh, and saved 4,000 MWh or 17.4%, and saved US$3,94,751.
On an average, a hotel with 300 rooms could have reduced its energy consumption by 200,000 KWh during March, April and May, resulting in cost savings of US$21779.38.
“Imagine how hard hotels have to work today to generate a net profit of US$21779.38 per quarter, compared with an energy audit that can identify the equivalent in savings,” said Ibrahim.
Farnek has developed two variations of audit, both of which have been developed in line with the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) standard auditing process.
The first is a virtual walkthrough audit of the facility, to benchmark water and electricity and compare consumption with similar facilities locally and globally. It also establishes energy and water baselines using monthly energy usage, and parameters affecting the consumption, to predict future energy and water consumption. It defines consumption limits while outlining conservation measures.
The second energy audit involves the same consumption assessment; however it also provides a detailed analysis of the performance of major equipment within the building, and identifies ways which can enhance operational efficiency and decrease maintenance costs. The second audit will also provide detailed energy conservation measures with simple payback calculations.
The audits deliver full benchmarking statistical analysis and can support facility engineers when assessing their system performance, by using the data sheets and methodology, to provide year-on-year comparisons.