Energy use consulting services help businesses design energy-efficient buildings, evaluate current energy usage, and develop energy management plans. They perform design reviews, energy audits, energy procurement assistance, project financing, litigation support, planning assistance, renewable energy project development, and technology training. During the design review process, energy consultants may propose changes to proposed electrical and mechanical sys are surveys of existing structures that examine the condition of lighting, heating, and cooling systems in existing structures. Energy use consulting services that provide energy procurement assistance can help clients select vendors and negotiate contracts. Government agencies and municipalities may also require independent review and project financing. For projects that involve litigation, energy use consulting services can serve as expert witnesses at both deposition and trial. Planning assistance enables facility managers to establish maintenance guidelines for energy conservation plans. Energy consultants who specialize in renewable energy may examine potential uses for wind energy, solar energy, biomass, or geothermal power. Technology training consists of on-going educational programs and materials for engineers and maintenance staff.
Energy use consulting services can provide assistance regarding energy accounting, life cycle costing, electric rate structures, fuel switching, waste heat recovery, cogeneration, steam generation, and insulation. Energy accounting determines where energy is used in buildings. An analysis of electric rate structures can identify incentive programs and better rate plans. Fuel switching examines alternative energy sources and technology choices for boilers, heaters, and HVAC systems. In some cases, heat exchangers and other waste recovery systems can be used to transfer energy and provide heating or cooling. For example, cogeneration systems use heat energy that would otherwise be wasted. Energy use consulting services that specialize in steam generation may suggest improvements to boilers such as improved combustion controls or steam traps. Selecting insulation requires an analysis of heat flow calculations and passive thermal energy.
Energy use consulting services can help businesses comply with building codes, quality standards, and legislative requirements. Organizations that maintain energy standards include the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME); the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE); and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). In the United States, federal legislation includes the National Energy Act (NEPA) of 1978 and 1992, as well as Clean Air Act Amendments (CAAA). NEPA of 1978 consists of the Natural Gas Policy Act (NGPA), the National Energy Conservation Policy Act (NECPA), the Public Utilities Regulatory Policy Act (PURPA), the Powerplant and Industrial Fuel Use Act (PIFUA), and the Energy Tax Act (ETA). Energy use consulting services may also be able to provide advice about compliance with applicable international guidelines.