1462 Walk Through Audit

The first step in analyzing energy usage in your materials handling and storage system is to find out what equipment is being used to move material and, when it is turned on, to check the conditions that are being maintained for material. Then determine where the people are located in the system and what conditions are being maintained for their benefit. To do this, three walk-through audits are recommended. The first audit is performed during working hours in an attempt to find practices that can be improved. For this audit, you should be equipped with an industrial light meter (about $20 to $30) and a pocket thermometer ($10 to $15). As you walk around the facility, you should write or record potential improvements for later analysis. These improvements can be found in answer to questions such as these:

1. Does equipment need to be idling when no one is using it, and, if so, what is a reasonable maximum for an idling period?

2. Is the temperature being maintained unnecessarily high or low—is it necessary to air-condition this space in the summer or to heat it in the winter?

3. Is all the lighting necessary? Standard guidelines for warehouse lighting in the IES Handbook16 range from 5 to 50 footcandles, depending upon whether the storage is in active use and upon the amount of visual effort needed to distinguish one item from another.

4. Is a great deal of conditioned air lost whenever trucks unload at the facility?

The second walk-through audit is performed when office personnel have left for the day. The intent of this audit is to discover equipment and lights that are on but are not needed for the security of the building or its contents. This audit should focus on equipment, lights, and unnecessary heating and cooling of office spaces. The use of a night setback—setting the thermostat to 55°F at night—can save as much as 20% of the bill for office heating and cooling.

The third audit is the 2 a.m. audit, performed sometime after most people have left the building. In this audit, look for motors that are on unnecessarily, for lights that are on but are not needed for security purposes, and for temperatures that are higher or lower than they need to be.

Completion of the three walk-through audits gives a qualitative survey of the equipment being used, lighting levels and temperatures being maintained, and some operating improvements that can be instituted. This is a good start. More information is necessary, however, before an energy management program can achieve its potential, and this is provided by the next step.

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