Energy efficiency- succeed and benefit

Energy is neither created nor destroyed; it is only transformed. This being the law of conservation of energy, and given that the process of transforming energy is inefficient resulting in loss of usable energy in the process of transforming one form of energy into another form, Energy Efficiency finds a home.
Talking of Energy efficiency, think of how much useful energy can be obtained from a system or a particular technology. It is also about the use of technology that requires a lesser amount of energy to carry out the same task.

Energy efficiency is the responsibility of both demand side and supply side. Supply-side energy efficiency refers to a set of actions taken to ensure efficiency through the electricity supply chain. Supply side efficiency measures are about efficiency in electricity generation; be it operation and maintenance of existing equipment or upgrading existing equipment with state-of-the-art energy-efficient generating equipment.

The demand side energy efficiency on the other hand refers to the actions taken to use less/demand less energy. Think of less energy usage in relation to improvement of energy efficiency in buildings, solar water heaters, energy efficient lighting systems such as Compact Fluorescent Lamps, conducting energy audits to identify potential energy saving opportunities, efficient water heating systems and the list is endless.

Success of energy efficiency is a win – win to YOU-ME-US – the energy consumers, to THEM the energy producers and suppliers and to our precious ENVIRONMENT.
Gain to energy suppliers: – Less energy usage and better energy usage patterns among consumers consequently reduces the customer load which reduces losses on the supply side. Less energy loss creates capacity on the system to serve more customers.
Gain to you-me-us: – Less energy usage and better energy usage patterns Benefits the customer through reduced Electricity bills / $$$ savings through lower bills.
Benefits to the environment: – Usage of less energy reduces use of fossil fuels, hence reduction in GHG emissions hence conserving our environment. Companies look at means to make rational use of their least efficient generating equipment. The objective is to improve the operation and maintenance of existing equipment or upgrade it with state-of-the-art energy-efficient technologies. Some companies have on-site electricity generation alternatives and thus tend to consider the supply side in addition to demand-side energy efficiency.

ISO in Energy management

Every industry has its own set levels of quality that are considered acceptable or desirable. Energy performance like any other field is governed by some set standards. These differ across regions but international standards do exist.

ISO 50001 is the international energy standard applicable to both large and small organizations irrespective of geographical, cultural or social conditions. It outlines the best energy management practices that are considered to be the best by specifying that an organization must integrate an energy management system and institute an energy policy, objectives, targets, and action plans taking into account legal requirements and information related to significant energy use. The energy standard is applicable to organizations.

What’s the importance of attaining energy certification?
ISO certification in any industry is a demonstration of quality or that a service or product meets the expected service standards. In energy management, ISO certification is a demonstration that an organization or company has implemented sustainable energy management systems, completed a baseline of energy use and, is committed to continuously improve its energy performance. In addition, ISO certification assists organizations in the following ways:
• Organizations are able to optimize the existing energy-consuming assets.
• Offers guidance on benchmarking, measuring, documenting, and reporting energy intensity improvements and their projected impact on reducing GHG emissions.
• Creates transparency and facilitates communication on the management of energy resources.
• Promotes energy management best practices and reinforces good energy management behaviors.
• Assists facilities in evaluating and prioritizing the implementation of new energy-efficient technologies.
• Provides a framework for promoting energy efficiency throughout the supply chain.
• Facilitates energy management improvements in the context of GHG emission reduction projects: The reduction of carbon emissions means therefore an organization is able to meet government carbon reduction targets by demonstrating environmental credentials. The accruing benefits are many, ranging from increased investor confidence to more tender opportunities.

Energy management software plays a vital role in helping organizations comply with energy standards through improved performance across the various functions in an organization.

Can we do without that necessary evil called Water heater?

A colleague of mine had just received an enormous electricity bill and from her reaction, it was like her worst nightmare had just become a reality. She shared with us how she had some houseguests during the month and how they would take countless long hot showers making her articulate a house rule that no one should shower more than once each day.

I fit perfectly in her shoes and I believe that rule was warranted. In my own house, I have often caught myself doing mental correlations on the time a person spends in the shower and the electricity bill.

For people who may be suffering as a result of their energy bills; it is important to take measures towards reducing the amount of hot water used and increasing the efficiency of their hot water systems. The methods differ depending on the needs. It however, all starts with the type of water heater, fuel type used to heat water where options are available, the efficiency of the water heater (energy factor), and the water heater size relative to the institutions hot water demand.
For me, a low flow showerhead and spending less time in the shower save on hot water overuse. Institutions and homes with greater hot water usage could consider all these, regular maintenance of their water heating systems and much more.

Energy ATM

What springs to mind when you hear of ATM? My guess is:
Automated Teller Machine, Money, convenience… at least that is what comes to my mind.
Ever heard of an ATM that has nothing to do with dispensing money but has everything to do with putting more money in your wallet?

Heat conduction mainly occurs through conduction, radiation, and convection. In ideal situations, these methods bring about equilibrium. But we do not live in the ideal world hence many are the times we have had to bear the discomfort of extreme temperatures.

There are varied ways for keeping rooms cool; talk of proper insulation, energy-efficient windows and doors, shading and ventilation. Controlling room temperature is however synonymous with air conditioning, fans, heaters etc. These technologies are all good since they give us the desired convenience and comfort. The opportunity cost is certainly more energy usage and a higher electricity bill. The ATM – Automated Temperature Money saver is one of the innovations that can help one save money on heating and cooling bills. The programmable thermostat, can be used to adjust the times you turn on the heating or air-conditioning according to a pre-set schedule.

A programmable thermostat is one more way to reduce heating and cooling energy usage and the fact that it is programmable, it automatically means one does not need to think about it at all. The programmable thermostat is like an automated money saver mounted to a wall helping you save money without sacrificing your comfort.

Clearly clear?

An energy audit is an examination of an energy system to ensure that energy is being used efficiently. It is the inspection, survey and analysis of energy flows for energy conservation in a building. Energy audits can be conducted by building managers who examine the energy account of an energy system, checks the way energy is used in its various components, checks for areas of inefficiency or where less energy can be used, and identifies the means for improvement.

An energy audit is often used to identify cost effective ways to improve the comfort and efficiency of buildings. In addition, homes/ enterprises may qualify for energy efficiency grants from central government. Energy audits seek to prioritize the energy uses from the greatest to least cost effective opportunities for energy savings.

An energy audit is an effective energy management tool. By identifying and implementing improvements as identified, savings can be achieved not only on energy bills, but also equipment will be able to attain a longer life under efficient operation. All these mean actual dollar savings.

An energy audit has to be conducted by a competent person with adequate technical knowledge on building services installations, after which he/she comes up with a report recommending plans on the Energy Management Opportunities (EMO) for energy saving.

An energy audit culminates to a written report. This could show energy use for a given time period (for example a year) and the impact of any suggested improvements per year. Energy audit reports are then used to identify cost effective ways to improve the comfort and efficiency of buildings. The energy audit report therefore gives management an understanding of the energy consumption scenario and energy saving plans formulation.
Energy audit reports should always translate into action. No matter how well articulated, the energy management objectives are afterall an energy audit (EMOs), all the effort will be futile if no action is taken. The link between the audit and action is the audit report. It is therefore important for the audit reports to be understandable for all the target audiences/ readers, all of whom may have diverse needs, hence the reason why they should be clear, concise and comprehensible.

What are the do’s and don’ts when writing energy audit reports?
Avoid technical jargon as much as possible; present information graphically; use different graphics such as pie charts, data tables. Schematics of equipment layouts and digital photos tend to make EMO reports less dry. Some of the energy audit software’s come in handy in the generation of such graphs and charts.
The climax of it all is the recommendations, which should be made very fascinating.

Spend more to reduce costs?

It is becoming increasingly important to not to analyze energy consumption for all utility types, be it electricity, gas, water, heat, renewables, oil etc. The bottom line is both operational efficiency and utility costs monitoring. In the long run, these are management strategies designed to drive energy costs downwards as a continuous improvement cycle and as a measure of reducing carbon emissions.

It is also getting increasingly easier for organizations reduce energy use and achieve this goal using technology without having to “remember” to do it yourself. Organizations can never go wrong by investing in energy management software. There are varied software options to choose from depending on the organizational objective.
Some of the energy management objectives that organizations may need to meet are:
• Establishing baseline energy use
• Carrying out Energy audits
• Monitoring and measuring energy performance against the energy policies of an organization and objectives
• Achieving energy certification
Energy management software’s come in handy when an organization wishes to achieve either of the above objectives.

Use of energy management software’s also assists organizations in measurement and verification of energy consumption as well as Monitoring and Targeting. Measurement and verification is where a company quantifies energy consumption beforehand (baseline energy use) and after energy consumption measurements are implemented in order to verify and report on the level of savings actually achieved.

Organizations that wish to verify the energy savings achieved by building retrofits can use energy management software’s. This is an important objective for companies that wish to either satisfy internal financial accounting and reporting requirements, or to meet the terms of third-party contracts for project implementation and management. Monitoring and targeting is also made easier by use of software. This is critical as a management technique, regardless of whether an organization has specific facility retrofits in order to keep operations efficient and to monitor utility costs.
Overall, an investment in energy management software, is worthwhile in the achievement of management strategies designed to drive energy costs downwards as a continuous improvement cycle.

ENERGY MANAGEMENT TIPS

Energy management is of interest to various stakeholders; be it heads of facilities, heads of procurement, heads of environment and sustainability, financial officers, renewable energy managers and heads of energy. Some of the energy management tips that can be used to achieve considerable energy savings are:
1) Purchasing energy supplies at the lowest possible price
2) Managing energy use at peak efficiency
3) Utilizing the most appropriate technology

1. Purchasing energy supplies at the lowest possible price
Purchasing energy supplies at the lowest possible price could be the starting point to great savings of energy costs. This can be achieved through switching your energy supplier. It is always advisable for companies to always take time to compare the energy tariffs to ensure they are on the best tariff and make great savings.

2. Managing energy use at peak efficiency
(a) Free help
There are some online tools that offer energy-efficiency improvements. These could come in handy in helping someone find out where to make energy-efficiency improvements.
(b) Energy monitors
An energy monitor is a gadget that estimate in real time how much energy you’re using. This can help one see where to cut back on energy consumption.
(c) Turning down thermostats
Turning down radiators especially in rooms that are rarely used/empty rooms or programming the heating to turn off when no one is there can go a long way in saving energy and energy costs.
(d) Use energy saving bulbs
Use of energy-saving light bulbs can cut down on energy usage drastically. Replacing all the light bulbs with energy-saving ones could make significant savings on energy usage and replacement costs since energy saving bulbs also have a longer life.
(e) Switching off unnecessary lights
It is also important to switch off lights that are not in use and to use the best bulb for the size of room.
(f) Sealing all heat escape routes
It is recommended that all gaps should be sealed in order to stop heat from escaping. Some of the heat escape routes are: windows, doors, chimneys and fireplaces, floorboards and skirting and loft hatches. The ways through which this can be achieved are:
• Windows- use of draught-proofing strips around the frame, brush strips work better for sash windows
• Doors – use of draught-proofing strips for gaps around the edges and brush or hinged-flap draught excluders on the bottom of doors
• Chimney and fireplace – inflatable cushions can be used to block the chimney or fit a cap over the chimney pot on fireplaces that are not used often
• Floorboards and skirting – Using a flexible silicon-based filler to fill the gaps
• Loft hatches – the use of draught-proofing strips can help to prevent hot air escaping
It is also important to consider smaller holes of air such as keyholes and letterboxes.

3. Utilizing the most appropriate technology
Utilization of technology as an energy management tool can be by way of choosing more energy efficient gadgets and by way of running technological gadgets in an energy efficient manner.

Green Business!

Carbon emissions reduction has evolved beyond simply good citizenship to being a business tool. Implementing “green” initiatives is now a competitive weapon which defines real business opportunities and bottom line savings that can contribute significant financial value to the organization while meeting demanding customer requirements for sustainable and low-carbon products.

Energy efficiency is a low cost resource for achieving carbon emissions reduction. Better energy efficiency simply translates to lesser carbon emissions and less energy usage which translates into saved costs.

Reduction of an organizations carbon footprint is each and everyone’s responsibility. Human activities are the key responsibility for the release of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. These include usage of electricity generated from fossil fuel, heating or driving.
At the corporate level, various measures can be instigated to increase energy efficiency. Some of these can be, having zone lighting with sensors to minimize unnecessary office lighting, timers on large IT equipment, promoting energy efficient behavior in the office, asking staff to switch off and unplug appliances when not in use and minimizing staff travel.
At the individual level; it is the small habits that count; cultivating the habit of switching off unnecessary lights, plugging out appliances that are not in use, using video conferencing or online chatting instead of having to travel to meetings, using public transport instead of taking a taxi/ personal car and using energy efficient cars.

All these initiatives assist organizations in their corporate social responsibility reports and play a role in sustainability rankings which is instrumental to customers who are increasingly considering sustainability rankings in investment decisions, while achieving the goal of cost reduction internally.

Energy efficiency demystified

Energy bills are all about Energy efficiency but energy efficiency management is not all about bills. Energy efficiency means reducing carbon emissions, lowering energy costs and improving the quality of life. Energy efficiency is therefore about conservation of energy in a broader perspective; in fact energy efficiency is almost becoming a moral obligation.

Through adoption of appropriate energy efficiency measures, companies can significantly bring down the overhead costs making hundreds of dollars in savings. Energy efficiency is also synonymous with a better quality of life. Taking appropriate measures to ensure proper insulation protects your premises against extreme weather conditions leading to more productivity and an improvement in the bottom line.

Improved energy efficiency means a smaller amount of carbon emissions, less pollution and a better environment.

It is now easier than ever to visually identify where your facility is wasting energy, how much energy is being wasted while tracking the progress made in reducing energy consumption by turning that detailed, raw energy-consumption data into useful charts and figures.

Having visibility of your Energy usage gives you knowledge of what power you are consuming. This helps you change energy usage behaviors and this can have significant savings and reduction in your electricity bills. Real-time electricity consumption tracking is enough prodding for you to be on the lookout for inefficient energy consumption unit’s e.g.  Heating and cooling equipment, ducts insulation of your premises or a failure of one of these components to perform as intended. Pin-pointing the problem areas is not a walk in the park but fixing it can make your building more energy-efficient and comfortable.

A wide range of solutions are now available for charting and analyzing energy consumption that helps energy managers, facilities managers, energy consultants and building-services engineers. These will not only offer advice but will enable you provide tailor made solutions for your organization by assisting you in developing a sustainable energy strategy.