What are the simple 4 steps required to build an Energy efficiency system?

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Article summary:

In the previous articles we talked about the importance of setting energy management system and the required 7 detailed steps needed to build this system.

In this article I will try to simplify those steps into main four steps to make it easier kick start, and then gradually improve the energy management system in your facility.

 

Background

  • Energy efficiency is not a one-time project; it’s a continuous cycle. And that’s good, because it means we can approach the problem gradually and phase our actions according to our available budget.
  • You need to start from a firm foundation. Beginning with an energy audit allows you to prioritize your actions effectively.
  • At the beginning simple data from the utility bill and some expert observations can discover a lot. If you have more detailed measurements available, that can increase confidence in the choices that you make.
  • Temporary measurements may be enough to kick-start your program and generally, your energy audit will identify some low-hanging fruit in the area of passive energy efficiency.

 

Step 1: Audit and measure

  • Taking a systematic approach maximizes savings and avoids unnecessary cost. It ensures you create utility savings without compromising facility reliability, comfort or safety.
  • A facility audit will provide you with a comprehensive energy analysis. Experts examine the energy usage patterns and demands of a facility and identify the best opportunities to improve energy efficiency.
  • Projects are then prioritized based on the initial cost and expected payback period, and those with the greatest potential savings and quickest payback should be among the first to be undertaken.
  • Without this, you may select the wrong project and make expensive mistakes.
  • A critical input to your energy program is energy data. You may be able to get started with analysis from utility bills, but quickly you will find they lack the detail crucial to effective analysis and decision making. Investment in meters now can prevent errors later.

 

Step 2: Fix the basics

  • Once the audit has identified the low-hanging fruit, the next step is to fix the basics.
  • Examples of this are stop steam venting, insulating steam pipes and adjusting excess O2 content for boilers in the industrial applications and employing energy efficient light bulbs and fixtures with lighting retrofits, high-efficiency motors, adding insulation, and replacing windows for buildings applications.
  • It is also important to address power quality and power reliability issues as low power factor may be impacting your bill, and the effective utilization of the capacity of your electrical network. Harmonics may put you at risk of unexpected shutdowns, and shorten the life of your equipment.

 

Step 3: Automation and control

  • It’s good to have low consumption devices, but that doesn’t mean you have to leave them on all day!
  • In the industrial applications leaving the batch furnace working on high load to produce small batches of products every month or running the boiler with very high excess of oxygen is not a good saving example the same as keep pumps running on circulation mood for log time without a reason.
  • Good resolutions to shut off those systems when they are not needed or optimize their running as shutting down HVAC systems and lights when you leave a room or office, hence the need for automation and proper control system as:
    • Building Management Systems
    • Lighting Control Systems
    • Motor control systems
    • Smart advanced Process control systems
  • These systems can ensure that equipment is only on when it needs to be on. And sometimes, you can save on cost by changing when you use energy. These systems can schedule consumption at times of day when cost is lower if you have different pricing for power or energy (peak load rate and off-peak load rates).

 

Step 4: Monitor and improve

  • If you never maintain your car, it will consume more and more fuel. The same is true for your electrical installation, HVAC system, boilers, process heating equipment and automation systems.
  • Continuous commissioning practices, such as monitoring and improvement, ensure that the results achieved will stay and that your new installation is profitable and sustainable.
  • Energy management software or remote monitoring systems are critical you can’t manage what you don’t measure so, further investment in metering will reveal more detail to help you continue the improvement cycle.

Other important parameters:

  1. An energy program cannot succeed without effective leadership. success starts with a commitment from executive management and a powerful indication of that commitment is appointing a champion of energy efficiency (Energy Manager).
  2. This person will be the driving force behind the project, the person who will consistently monitor and maintain progress.
  3. Executive management must formulate, communicate, and embrace an energy management policy.
  4. The champion is the person committed and responsible for achieving the results, collecting, analyzing, and reporting energy information. Prioritizing projects, securing approval and driving implementation
  5. Getting approval to undertake energy efficiency projects is not always an easy task and you need to be familiar with the financial model that is used to make investment decisions in your company.
  6. Financial models are used to make investment decisions. Return on investment and simple payback are typical industry measurements that need to be included in the project business case together with other project benefits as reduction in CO2 emissions.
  7. Investing in people awareness and energy efficiency training is very important and will endure the success and sustainability of the achieved savings.

Magdy Aly

Energy manager, Energy efficiency consultant Passionate to help others to save Energy and Environment.

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