A new integrated procedure for energy audits and analyses of buildings
Geyser, Martinus Fredrik
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A rapid growth in the national electricity demand is placing an ever-increasing demand on the national electricity supply utility, Eskom. Projections show that the load demand in South Africa may exceed the installed capacity by as early as 2007. This is mainly due to the increase in demand in the residential sector as a result of the electrification of rural and previously disadvantaged communities. However, the industrial and commercial sectors also have a role in this increase. In an attempt to reduce the demand for electricity Eskom has adopted its Demand Side Management (DSM) initiative. This initiative is aimed at lowering the electricity demand in peak times through energy efficiency (EE) or load shift, out of peak demand times. Eskom is implementing the DSM strategy by financing Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) to reduce the demand load of major electricity end-users during peak times. Buildings consume a large percentage of the total energy supply in the world. Most of the energy consumed in buildings is used by the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems, as well as lighting. However, a large potential for energy savings exists in buildings. Studies have shown that up to 70% of the electricity consumption of a building can be saved through retrofit studies. However, to capitalise on these opportunities, the ESCOs require tools and procedures that would enable them to accomplish energy savings studies quickly and efficiently. It should be a holistic approach to the typical ESCO building audit. A study of current available software programs showed the lack of holistic tools aimed specifically at retrofit audits, and therefore also the need for such a program. The building simulation program most suited to the retrofit study was chosen and it was used in a retrofit audit. By emulating a retrofit audit with this software, its performance in the field, both positive and negative, could be established. With the experience gained from the retrofit study, as well as input from ESCOs in the industry, a need for such a retrofit tool was established. The simulation program that was tested in the retrofit study is the tool Quickcontrol, as well as the newer version of the program, entitled QEC. The case study showed that even though these packages are well suited to ESCO work, they have certain drawbacks in view of the holistic project approach. The ESCOs require a simple, fast, and integrated procedure for energy audits. This procedure should be embodied in a software program. This study proposes a new integrated procedure for energy audits and the analyses of buildings, in the form of a software tool. This new tool is geared towards the ESCO building audit, in both South A6ica and internationally. It is designed to enable a diplomate engineer to accomplish a building energy and retrofit analysis in two weeks, leading the user through all the main project steps, from data acquisition to writing of the final project report. This is a significant improvement, since it normally takes 50 man-days for an experienced and trained engineering team to complete a full building audit. This tool was used in a case study to test its validity and accuracy. It was found that certain situations would arise in which the criteria that were set for the program would not be adequate. The results from the case study were favourable and satisfied the criteria that were set for the procedure.
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