Ideas to fuel a sustainable built environment

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Energy Management: Turning Vision into Action

Apr 4, 2018 1:07:00 PM

Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.

I received an email with this tag line and it struck me as profound. A business cannot operate efficiently and effectively without a clear vision of its future and a road map of the steps to obtaining that vision. A business owner must constantly ask: what aspects of the business are going to change, how are they going to change, and what is going to stay the same? Am I riding on top of the wave that is my business paradigm, or am I getting toppled over by the wave and left behind?

Surfing on a Wave Photo credit: Wikipedia

These are also the questions to be asked of a company’s energy consumption. If you don’t understand where you are spending money on energy, you can’t control it. What is your cost per square foot or per widget? Is this a good (efficient) value or are you wasting money? How does your facility compare to that of your competitor? Is it possible you will be undersold because your overhead is higher than it needs to be? Most importantly - if you feel your costs are too high, where do you start to look for the smoking gun?

Take Charge of Your Energy Consumption

Technologies have advanced in all business sectors and none more so than in energy efficiency, production and monitoring. Direct Digital Control (DDC) systems that control the start/stop and setpoints of all of the HVAC and lighting components are now a commodity. Energy monitoring and trending software is state-of-the-art, making consumption easy to interpret even for a CFO. On-site energy production, such as combined heat and power (CHP) and solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, have become standardized with proven efficiency and reliability. Now, more than ever, there are opportunities for a company outside of the energy business to understand and take advantage of the readily available technologies. These technologies can make energy consumption an asset to the company’s bottom line, rather than a vulnerability.

Electric meters
Photo credit: Pixabay
Where to Start

Many businesses today have a DDC system controlling the HVAC and lighting systems within the building. These systems can have Fault Detection and Diagnostics (FDD) software or an energy manager to monitor and trend the energy consumption, diagnosing issues that can create equipment failure and highlighting energy saving opportunities. For small businesses without a DDC system, or for companies in a leased building without centralized controls, there are extremely cost-effective building control solutions that incorporate easy-to-use wireless control products.

Energy as Part of the Action Plan

When a business owner is developing a five or 10 year action plan and deciding what improvements are cost-effective to invest in, he/she should consider the multitude of energy efficiency opportunities as business investments. Just like purchasing the latest, most efficient equipment to produce widgets, investing in energy monitoring and control systems will create a smoother operation whose reduction in energy costs will payback in dividends for the company. The current economic market and the status of energy management and production technology make this a good time to invest in securing a sound energy portfolio.


Republished from March 13, 2013.

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Written by Eveline Killian