energy audit

Implementation:

After the energy consumption data has been collected and analyzed, the energy-related systems have been carefully examined, the ideas for improvement have been collected, and management commitment has been obtained, the next steps are to obtain company support for the program, to choose goals, and to initiate action.

  1. Energy Action Team

Now that the preliminary audits have uncovered some energy management measures that can save significant amounts of money or can substantially improve production, funding for the changes and employee support are two additional critical ingredients for success. These can best be obtained with the help of a committee, preferably called something like the energy action team.

No program will work within a company without employee support, particularly such a program as energy management which seems to promise employee discomfort at no visible increase in production. Therefore, one function of the energy action committee is to give representation to every important political group within the company. For this purpose, the committee must include people from unions, management, and every major group that could hinder the implementation of an energy management plan. The committee must also include at least one person with financial knowledge of the company, a person in charge of the daily operation of the facility, and line personnel in each area of the facility that will be affected by energy management.

  1. Goals

At least three different kinds of goals can be identified. First, performance goals, such as a reduction of 10 percent in Btu/unit product, can be chosen. Such goals should be modest at first so that they can be accomplished— in general, 10-30 percent reduction in energy usage for companies with little energy management experience and 8-15 percent for companies with more. These goals can be accompanied by goals for the reduction of projected energy costs by a similar amount. The more experienced the company is in energy management, the fewer easy saving possibilities exist; thus lower goals are more realistic in that case.

A second type of goal that can be established is an accounting goal. The ultimate objective in an energy accounting system is to be able to allocate the cost of energy to a product in the same way that other direct costs are allocated, and this objective guides the establishment of preliminary energy accounting goals. A preliminary goal would therefore be to determine the amount of electricity and the contribution to the electrical peak from each of the major departments within the company. This will probably require some additional metering, but the authors have found that such metering pays for itself in energy saving (induced by a better knowledge of the energy consumption patterns) in six months or less.

The third type of goal is that of employee participation. Even if an energy management program has the backing of the management, it will still fail without the support and participation of the employees. Ways to measure this include the number of suggestions per month; the dollar value of improvements adopted as a result of employee suggestions, per month; and the number of lights left on or machines left running unnecessarily, on a spot inspection. Work sampling has been used to estimate the percentage of time that people are working at various tasks—it can be used equally well on machines.

  1. Implementing Recommendations

In addition to providing and evaluating ideas, setting goals, and establishing employee support, the energy action committee has the duty of implementing the most promising ideas that have emerged from the energy evaluation process. Members of the committee have the responsibility to see that people are assigned to each project, that timetables are established, that money is assigned, and that progress reporting procedures are set up and followed.

  1. Monitoring

Energy management is not complete without monitoring and its associated feedback, and neither is the energy audit process. In an energy audit, monitoring discloses what measures contributed toward the company goals, what measures were counterproductive, and whether the goals themselves were too low or too high. Monitoring consists of collecting and interpreting data. The data to collect are defined by the objectives chosen by the energy action committee. At the very least, the electrical and gas bills and those of other relevant energy sources must be examined and their data graphed each month. Monthly graphs should include: the total energy used of each type (kWh of electricity, therms [105 Btu] of gas, etc.); the peaks, if they determine part of the cost of electricity or gas; and any other factors that contribute to the bills. At the same time, other output-related measures, such as Btu/ ton, should also be calculated, recorded, and graphed. The monitoring data should provide direct feedback to those most able to implement the changes. Often this requires that recording instruments be installed in a number of departments in addition to the meters required by the utility company. The additional expense is justified by increased employee awareness of the timing and amounts of energy consumed, and usually this awareness leads to a reduction in energy costs.

Metering at each department also enables management to determine where the energy is consumed and, possibly, what is causing the energy consumption. Such metering also helps each department manager to understand and control the consumption of his or her own department. Monitoring should result in more action. Find what is good, and copy it elsewhere. Find what is bad, and avoid it elsewhere. If the goals are too high, lower them. If the goals are too low, raise them. Wherever the difference between the planned objectives and the achievements is great, initiate an analysis to determine the reasons and then develop new objectives, initiate new action, and monitor the new results. In this way, the analysis, action, and monitoring process repeat itself.

 

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