Energy consulting firms are a type of business support services that aid companies in evaluating their current levels of energy consumption and aid in determining the true level of energy needs that would allow the company to function at peak efficiency. In many situations, this type of consultant firm would look closely at not only how various forms of energy are being utilized, but also ways to modify that usage so that it is more cost-effective and environmentally friendly. To that end, a firm that is involved in energy consulting will often employ engineers who can provide insights on how to improve structures used by the client so that the energy consumption is more efficient.
There are several ways that energy consulting firms can be of help to a company. One basic service is to simply evaluate the current level of usage of various forms of energy, including electricity, natural gas, or any forms of alternative energy that are used to operate production lines or other facilities owned by the client. Here, the goal is to help customers understand the true costs associated with the use of various forms of energy.
From there, energy consulting firms often move on to making suggestions on how to enhance the usage of various forms of energy. Here, the goal is often to aid clients in developing more efficient methods of using energy, making it possible to lower energy costs. For example, a consultant may note that energy is being expended to maintain lighting in a section of the operation that is rarely occupied. Installing sensors that automatically turn the lights on and off when employees enter and exit the space helps to reduce energy consumption and thus lower the client’s energy costs.
Many energy consulting firms employ engineers who can evaluate the structures owned by clients, and make suggestions on changes such as the addition of insulation in walls and ceilings, changing from single to double paned windows, or replacing outdated heating and cooling equipment that is inadequate for the space. In some situations, this type of firm will oversee the implementation of the changes for a client, taking care of such details as the selection of vendors and new equipment, and even obtaining any local permits that may be required before the changes can be made.
In general, energy consulting firms utilize a structured schedule of fees for the types of services they offer. Simple inspections and recommendations for changes are often based on flat fees, while more long-term involvement in the implementation of those changes may require the establishment of a contract. The contract helps to define the number of hours that will be charged for the effort and the specific tasks that the firm is agreeing to perform on behalf of the client. While hiring an energy consultant can mean a fair amount of expense on the front end, the cost is often recouped in a short amount of time, based on the difference in energy costs once the work of the firm is complete.