Energy Management & Efficiency
“Energy Efficiency” and “Energy Management” are terms that have a number of meanings. Here, we’re mainly concerned with the terms that relate to saving energy in the commercial/institutional building sector. Additionally, we’re speaking only about energy-saving efforts that focus on making better use of existing buildings and equipment – not the behavioral aspects of energy saving.
Energy efficiency is defined as using less energy to provide the same level of energy service, where energy management, the practice of monitoring, controlling, and optimizing your buildings energy use, is the means used to reach your energy efficiency goals. By implementing different energy efficient and management technologies into new and existing buildings, owners and society can reap many economical and environmental rewards such as:
- Reduced Operating Costs – Energy efficiency leads to drastic reductions in overall energy and resource use, which allows for long-term savings in financial capital. Money previously directed toward utility costs may be used for other purposes. Greenway Middle School Project
- Decreased Equipment Strain – Efficient buildings exert less demand on your heating and cooling system, thus reducing maintenance and extending the life of your equipment.
- Greenhouse Gas Mitigation and Emissions Reductions – Nearly 40% of all U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide are the result of using energy to heat, cool, and provide hot water for buildings. These pollutants contribute to global climate change, cause air quality issues, and pose risks to human health. Implementing energy efficient technologies and techniques reduce harmful emissions.
Companies have been managing their energy consumption for years, but only until recently has it become a corporate priority. Energy management is no longer viewed as a cost center, but rather a profit center. Corporations today are starting to focus on how effective energy management can help their business become more profitable and moving the energy discussion from the facility into the boardroom.
The trend above often results in the creation of an Energy Management Program (EMP). Actions that generally need to be taken in order to address energy use in an EMP may include one or more of the following:
- Developing and approving an energy policy and strategy.
- Training and actions to raise knowledge and awareness.
- Energy audits to identify and evaluate opportunities.
- Developing and employing improvement opportunities.
- Implement an Energy Management System (EMS) often referred to as a Building Automation System (BAS).
Energy audits are traditionally the foundation of an organization's energy management plan. An energy audit is an inspection, survey, and analysis of a single building or campus, which indicates how and where that building or campus can reduce energy consumption and save energy costs. Typically audits are carried out by experienced engineers who conduct their audits in accordance with the standards developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and include preliminary energy use analysis, walk-through analysis, energy survey and engineering analysis, and detailed analysis of capital-intensive modifications. These measures may be low or no-cost changes or require capital investments.
Once opportunities are identified, they need to be developed into projects that can be justified and implemented. Developing the project includes accurate estimates of costs and benefits as well as assessments of practical, safety, and environmental issues. These opportunities can include equipment tune-ups, process modifications, and equipment replacements. However, the opportunity most often implemented is the installation of an Energy Management System (EMS). An EMS is the key element to effective energy management. A modern EMS will be a tightly integrated software and hardware solution designed specifically for the automated control and monitoring of the heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC), lighting, and other subsystems of a building or group of buildings such as university campuses, office complexes, or factories. These systems are used to ensure that benefits are achieved and sustained through monitoring, performance analysis, and effective reporting to all levels of an organization.
There are many key deliverables of an EMS. Examples are:
- Early detection of poor performance.
- Support for decision making.
- Effective performance reporting.
- Auditing of historical operations.
- Evidence of success.
- Support for energy budgeting and management accounting.
It is important to recognize that an EMS does not stand alone. It needs management commitment, procedures, organization, training, and appropriate technical expertise. Training is essential to ensure that operations personnel understand key energy issues and what actions they need to perform in order to reduce costs. Additionally, your strategy must revolve around a trusted partner with the proper technical expertise who can help you realize your energy efficiency/management goals.
KMC Controls makes it easy for you to increase the energy efficiency and operational performance of your commercial and/or institutional buildings by automating and controlling your building systems. For over 40 years we have pioneered innovations that include pneumatic and electronic control devices for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) applications, as well as a complete line of fully programmable digital hardware and intuitive software for local and remote web-based facility management. Our products reach the world through a network of authorized distribution partners. These experts are qualified to help you and your business every step of the way–no matter what stage of your plan. KMC Controls and Our Network of Partners have worked with thousands of commercial and institutional businesses throughout the world. Take a moment to view some of our Success Stories, and see how we have helped others achieve their energy efficiency and management objectives.