Lucian Anghel, Founder and CEO, Timepal Romania and Facilities Management Services
Energy losses are often unknown and unquantified in companies operating form many industry sectors. Even if managers know that they have energy losses in the company, some of them do not have a clear picture of the value of these losses, nor of the methods by which they can be reduced.
In fact, depending on the size of the company and the facilities it uses, managers can work with energy efficiency specialists and significantly reduce losses every month. Following expert advice, measuring and quantifying on a permanent basis, measures can be taken to increase energy efficiency and reduce short-, medium- and long-term.
1. Perform an energy audit and then a plan to implement the proposed measures
The energy audit is the best starting point because the specialists who will perform this audit will make an X-ray of all the departments and facilities in the company. The audit report will show you where are the energy losses generated, their type and magnitude, and the results that can be achieved by containing them. When it comes to the costs and energy consumption of the business operations, conducting an energy audit is indeed the best decision. The results will provide you with information that will give you great clarity and you will be able to decide, along with your expert consultants, to step up the implementation of measures to increase energy efficiency and where you can stop or reduce energy losses. Divide the implementation plan into cost-effective stages. The order of activities is given by the associated costs and the results of each method.
2. Use a smart metering system for utilities
Measure and monitor consumer spending over long periods of time to get a company consumption pattern. By monitoring large consumer groups, an average consumption baseline can be generated. Once this baseline is identified, it will be easy to pinpoint losses and through continuous monitoring. Thus, immediate remedial action can be taken. In the case of classical metering, it is very difficult, almost impossible, to identify the moment of consumption overruns and exactly in which area they occur. The information is only at the general meter level and is provided one month after the actual consumption. Only through a detailed and continuous smart metering, you can identify the occurrence of the losses and follow the compliance with the efficient consumption regime. Because if you do not measure, you cannot reduce it!
3. Check the proper operation of HVAC systems
It is very important to carry out an audit of the HVAC installation – boilers, chillers, ventilation – because over 50% of a building’s energy consumption belongs to the HVAC zone (but varies depending on the type/destination of the building and its age). Then implement the HVAC audit measures, and consider using programmable thermostats, replacing damaged insulation, installing local automation, changing clogged filters, checking the yields of boilers, etc. If you have faulty pumps, it is important to analyze economically what is the cost of repairing the classical pumps compared to replacing them with new, more energy-efficient rotary speed pumps. Also, make sure that the areas in front of all ventilation grids are not blocked by furniture or paper improvisations. An average amount of more than 25% of energy is required to distribute air if the grilles are blocked or filters clogged.
4. Introduce a LED lighting control system, where economic efficiency justifies this measure
This is an area to be considered from the start because every small economy made in a lot of places can bring an important result. Replacing a single 60-watt bulb with an energy-efficient 18-watt light bulb that operates 10 hours a day can easily save 5-6 lei or more every month. Multiply this economy for a full year and hundreds or thousands of bulbs from the company and talk about value worth considering. Energy-efficient bulbs are a smart way to reduce the short-term electricity bills, but they have a higher purchase cost and will cushion the investment in a short time only with intensive use over 10 hours/day. LED bulbs use 75% less energy and can last 50 times more than incandescent bulbs. It is very useful to use occupancy sensors, presence and dimming functions in the lighting area. Try to get the most out of natural light and install automatic lighting systems in areas where traffic is occasionally.
5. Set up operating schedules and use BMS and IoT, where economic efficiency justifies it
This may seem obvious, but you would be surprised at how many companies do not have such a measure implemented. In the office space, computers, monitors, printers consume and when they are not used after the employees have left and left them on. If they are off completely overnight, you will not pay for electricity for use in stand-by mode. In warehouses and production areas, it is very important for equipment operators to know their specific closure/opening mode and to observe the operating programs displayed in visible places. Once a timetable has been set up, hourly schedules or local automation can be introduced. Also, when purchasing or replacing equipment, consider their energy efficiency and energy class.
An advanced step in the same category is the introduction of centralized BMS (Building Management System) monitoring and control elements. BMS systems are essential for the management of office buildings, hotels, hospitals, logistics or production facilities. The information it provides in real time, the predictive ability, the alerts it shows when malfunctions or malfunctions occur, make this investment an important point on the list of managers of these facilities. On the other hand, the implementation of Internet protocols into management systems made it possible to monitor and remotely control building installations.
Thus, besides the ability to monitor energy consumption in real time and with great precision, BMS can monitor and control: heating, ventilation and air (temperature, humidity, CO2), water supply installations, electrical installations (lighting level, power equipment supply – TGD, electricity generation – generating sets) and pumps. Beyond identifying defective equipment and monitoring indoor and outdoor climate conditions, they can also be connected to monitor audio systems, security systems and fire detection systems.
Additional measures that make the difference in reducing energy losses
- Designate an internal team responsible for energy management – Nominate managers to be responsible with energy management and give them a bonus based on the results obtained.
- Collaborate with a firm specialized energy efficiency – Such a company will finance and implement all energy savings measures. This is the model that we support as the right one for achieving optimal results in a short time and with the best economic efficiency.
The founder of the EnergyPal brand, dipl.ing. Lucian Anghel, has a vast experience in operating and maintaining buildings over 3,000,000 sqm in Romania. The experience gained over 15 years of facility management has led to launching EnergyPal, an energy efficiency concept, whereby customers benefit from the most cost-effective solutions for building operation costs. The EnergyPal team is staffed with over 8 years of experience in facility management and technical assistance. The staff is specialized in the fields of: smart metering, HVAC (heating and air conditioning), automation, insulation, lighting, preventative and predictive maintenance. The solutions and technologies used have the effect of reducing the operating costs of the beneficiaries, which allows for the financing of the savings made. Learn more on www.energypal.ro.