Energy Audit; a Legal Requirement in Kenya

Energy auditing

In Kenya today, it is mandatory for industries to perform an energy audit every 3 years. This is in line with the legal requirements by the Energy Management Regulations. Energy audits ensure energy saving measures is put into place to reduce on utility costs and also to curb any misuse of the same. Energy auditing in Kenya must be carried out by licensed auditors who then submit a report of their findings to the Energy and Petroleum Regulation Authority (EPRA).

So what exactly is an energy audit? This is the process of inspecting, surveying and analyzing the flow of energy in a building in order to identify where there is misuse or loss of energy, and also to find out ways of conserving energy. It is a process of identifying how to reduce the amount of energy being used without necessarily affecting the output.

Types of Energy Audits

Energy audits are a powerful tool used to uncover operational and equipment improvements that are geared towards saving more energy and reducing the costs while still maintaining higher performance.  Energy audits produce low cost recommendations and a general road map for future planning. For sustainable energy saving, there are three types of energy audits namely:

Walk-through Audit

The main purpose of a walk-through energy audit is to identify any slight opportunity you can take advantage of to save energy in your firm. It usually involves a professional energy auditor visiting the building to survey and discover energy saving opportunities and conservation measures. The auditor also analyses the energy data available like the billing information, operational data and also the equipment in the building.

The billing data are useful because they help the auditor to benchmark with similar firms/buildings so that they can easily recommend something that is feasible and aligned to the long-term goal of the business. Also, during walk-through auditing, the auditor will need to understand the financial criteria the facility manager expects for energy projects and formulate a list of opportunities for conserving energy.

energy audit in kenya
Energy auditing ensures effeective energy consumption and low utility costs

General Energy Audit

General energy audits include a site visit where an auditor verifies the dimensions and inventory the building’s windows, doors and light fixtures. Armed with this inventory, the energy engineers also visit the building to evaluate the systems and assess where there is need for a capital improvement. During this process, the key staff in the building have to be interviewed to ascertain any current energy specific issues that the building may be having. An evaluation is then done on the building’s enclosure, heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems, lighting, fans, motors, pumps, equipment and appliances in the building.

Based on the data collected, the auditor will then come up with an analysis of operations and maintenance procedures complete with the projected costs, savings and payback metrics. A written report is then presented to the building owner with recommendations for energy conservation measures.

Investment Grade

This involves a detailed analysis performed on both energy and financial strength of the industry. The recommendations here are meant to help the business owner to make some capital investment decisions based on the data collected and the outcome of the inspection. The energy auditor works hand in hand with the building owner to ensure they understand the project goals vis-à-vis the available budget.

This type of energy audit requires intensive improvements and rigorous analysis in order for the building owner to understand how their activities impact the cost of energy and how they can reduce gas emissions. An experienced auditor facilitates open discussions and explores solutions that benefit the organization. Investment grade audits, due to their detailed analysis, may take up to several months to complete and deliver.

The Requirements of Energy Management Regulations

The following are the requirements of energy management regulations that every industry is expected to adhere to:

  • To develop an energy investment plan after an energy audit is performed. This will show the timelines and budget allocations for the projects proposed during an energy audit.
  • To develop an energy policy which has the minimum requirements as stipulated in the energy act, 2019.
  • Develop an annual implementation report covering the projects implemented and the savings achieved. This should be filed with EPRA.
  • Keep records for the utility bills and production/occupancy for a period of at least 5 years.
  • There should be an energy officer and energy committee in charge of the energy matters in every facility.

Generally, the purpose of an energy audit, and the reason why it is a legal requirement in Kenya, is to determine where, when, why and how energy is being used within an industry, and the measures that can be taken to save more energy. It focuses more on specific projects that are likely to consume higher amounts of energy and consider the costs as well as identify avenues of saving. Auditing typically starts by reviewing historical and current utility data, and also benchmarking with similar industries. The main outcome of an energy audit is a list of energy efficiency measures geared towards an energy savings potential without affecting the outcome of the activities within the industry.