Energy Efficiency: What's the Best Plan for your Organization?

October 2016 Edition: The Department of Energy has established October as National Energy Awareness month. Energy efficiency is an important topic for our nation and within our communities, businesses, and homes. We all desire a sustainable future, and we all want to control energy costs. Thus, conserving energy and finding ways to become more efficient is more important today than ever before. This educational topic will explore energy efficiency measures that can decrease your power supply cost and help preserve the environment.


Energy Efficiency: What’s the Best Plan for your Organization?

The Department of Energy has established October as National Energy Awareness month. Energy efficiency is an important topic for our nation and within our communities, businesses, and homes. We all desire a sustainable future, and we all want to control energy costs. Thus, conserving energy and finding ways to become more efficient is more important today than ever before. This educational topic will explore energy efficiency measures that can decrease your power supply cost and help preserve the environment.
To begin with, it is important to understand when and how your organization consumes energy. If you know exactly when, where and how much energy is being used in your facilities, you can identify waste and target reductions. Tracking electricity consumption in real-time provides data that is used to make decisions on procurement, load scheduling and maintenance. This information can result in significant cost savings when used to set performance targets for energy efficiency upgrades.
Most energy reduction efforts begin with benchmarking and energy audits. Benchmarking is an organizational tool that helps you understand how your energy consumption compares to that of your peers, so that you can quickly identify whether you might be operating inefficiently. An energy audit is a detailed review of energy consumption, including building and equipment performance levels, characteristics and efficiency of energy consuming equipment, safety issues, and potential production enhancements.
Benchmarking and energy audits often turn up savings opportunities in two key areas: lighting and HVAC (especially HVAC controls).
Did you know lighting accounts for up to 40 percent of the energy used in older commercial buildings? Electronic ballasts have led the market place with improved standards since the early 21st century, saving consumers nearly 15 billion in energy dollars nationwide. Installing occupancy sensors will insure lights are off when rooms are vacant.
An inefficient HVAC system controls waste up to as much as 30 percent of energy. Installing new controls on existing equipment maximizes efficiency and dramatically reduces energy use. New controls also allow you to manage motor speed. Not only can you save energy, but you can reduce maintenance and repair costs, extending equipment life. Matching HVAC systems to building occupancy schedules is another measure to promote energy efficiency thus reducing cost.
Beyond lighting, HVAC, and controls, an effective audit can help you identify further conservation opportunities. These may include identifying and correcting issues in air (and other fluid) handling systems, installing variable speed drives on your motors, and identifying and correcting other energy ‘leaks’.
Going beyond efficiency measures, solar power installations, which may be beneficially paired with energy storage systems such as advanced batteries, can be provide significant economic benefits, while at the same time improving your sustainability profile.

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