Energy Management – A Board Issue (Part 3)
Now it’s time to implement. The board, or any senior decision maker for that matter, needs to know how the strategy will be implemented and what the action steps are.
Engage an Energy Service Company to manage your energy
Unless you are an energy company, energy management is probably not your core business. It makes sense to engage someone for whose business it is. Outsourcing energy management can be a cost effective way to start your journey on driving energy efficiency in your organisation. Experienced energy managers will work with you to establish long term energy strategies incorporating the implementation of energy efficiency measures and achieving the desired financial returns. Energy performance contracts, asset life cycle analysis, and targeted energy audits are some ways in which Energy Service Companies (ESCos) can assist in your strategy development (It’s what we do here).
Key to understanding your energy use is metering data. Profiling your energy use in real time across the organisation gives a clear picture of energy usages at any given point in time. This is a good first step in identifying where efficiencies can be made through effective energy management. Metering also helps you understand what processes are being run during peak, shoulder and off peak pricing periods. Operationally this is a critical factor. Other utilities such as gas and water should also be metered.
Develop Energy Performance Indicators (EnPIs)
Energy performance indicators allow for a more granular understanding of energy use in an organisation. It can also allow the organisation to see how it is performing against known benchmarks and/or best practice targets. The recently updated Energy Audit Standard AS/NZS3598:2014 provides guidelines for the establishment and analysis of EnPIs to properly understand trends and anomalies in energy data. EnPIs can also create a greater engagement with a focus on energy waste reduction and higher energy productivity.
Install Control Systems
While control systems can vary from industry to industry, systems such as Building Management Systems (BMS) can significantly improve energy performance. However, to be effective, they must be properly commissioned and regularly monitored to ensure the controls they provide best match the company’s energy needs and use. Significant savings and energy efficiencies can be linked to accurately commissioned BMS. They should also be integrated with your energy management and metering systems.
Investigate Demand Response (DR)
It may be feasible, depending on your organisation and energy use profile, to consider introducing demand response strategies during peak tariff and consumption times. DR strategies can be cost effective in areas where grid supply is constrained. While DR can be complex, specialist organisations can assist in establishing DR strategies.
Invest in renewables and energy storage
Renewable energy is an increasingly cost effective and low carbon option for the supply of energy to your organisation. Photovoltaic, solar thermal, wind and biomass are the most common sources of renewable energy and while in most cases will only partly offset the company’s energy needs they are an important element of your energy procurement strategy. Developments in Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) are also helping to offset challenges of limited roof space on commercial buildings whilst providing localised energy generation.
Energy storage technology is also very quickly developing and becoming more cost effective. Storage should be considered particularly where renewable generation may not match the energy use profile.
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There you have it, six key steps to implementing your energy strategy. These steps will no doubt trigger other actions along the way. What it will mean in the end though, is a structured energy management plan that makes a material difference to your business.
Remember; Energy is much more than just a number on your P&L. In fact, in many cases it is not even a separate line item at all. Energy is a critical component of every business across every industry.
Energy efficiency makes good business sense. Energy Management is essential for business survival.
KMH Environmental and pitt&sherry (now one organisation) are specialist consultancies with a dedicated energy management and energy efficiency service suite. Our strength is in our PEOPLE, the PARTNERSHIPS we form with our clients and our EXPERIENCE.
A special thanks goes to Lord Redesdale of the Energy Managers Association of the UK for the permission to use and reproduce portions of The Board and Director Guide to Energy Reduction used in this article. Further articles of interest can be found at http://www.theema.org.uk/.
Article written by Robert Nicholson – Technical Director (Energy Services)