Renewable energy – Is it a common man’s cup of tea?

wind power closeup

I came across an article on a young graduate in renewable energy engineering. The fellow was doing technical sales and marketing jobs for renewable energy products though he felt that as a graduate, he ought to be doing more than just sales. His, sentiments, I can relate with but again thinking about the field of renewable energy, how many people understand what it is, its importance/ benefits, how to acquire it, its installation, costs etc.?

Renewable energy is energy generated from natural resources. The renewable energy sources include sunlight, wind, rain, tides, geothermal heat and various forms of biomass. These sources are renewable naturally and continuously replenished, therefore this energy cannot be exhausted.
Renewable energy technologies range from solar power, wind power, hydroelectricity/micro hydro, biomass and bio-fuels for transportation.

Back to the aspiring young professional who felt that his place in the renewable energy sector lies in doing strategies and coming up with new products-the advice fronted to him was that doing technical sales is the best job for engineers, as it helps them impact on users of their products. Sales entail interacting with customers and knowing their needs so that the product features can be enhanced to suit the customer’s needs. Now, that is brilliant and accurate advice. It is however important to take into consideration that renewable energy is not a common man’s cup of tea and right now the focus all over the world is to build green economies.

To me the need for more and more people to understand the benefits, savings and cost of renewable energy cannot be overemphasised. Effort should be made to keep marketing of renewable energy products/ services simple and conversational by avoiding use of acronyms or jargon explaining about operational details. More impact can be made if a marketing rather than technical sales approach is used. Technical sales have been described as boring (can be used as a sleeping aid), tends to use extensive vocabulary, jargon and acronyms that product users cannot relate with and tends to discuss the products technical aspects as opposed to the benefits to the customer. Fun should be created out of all this by making things simple and demonstrating cost savings and benefits of renewable energy.

Contact Us

  • (+353)(0)1-443-3807 - IRL
  • (+44)(0)20-7193-9751 - UK

How to be cleaner and greener indoors

Eco green house

The supply of water on planet earth is finite hence the need to conserve this precious resource. Water is a utility that is often used in and outdoors and for that reason, water conservation activities should be undertaken everywhere.

Get greener everywhere
Water saving can be achieved through various ways. Of utmost importance, fixing leaks should be undertaken in all areas. Small household leaks can add up to gallons of water lost every day. It is therefore important to check all water system fixtures and ensure that there are no leakages.

Greener bathroom habits
Turning off taps- this should be practised in the bathroom especially while shaving and brushing teeth. One could also consider using showers instead of baths since showers use less water and get into the habit of taking shorter showers.

Clean and green dishes
The kitchen is one of the areas where a lot of water is used. Some of the ways through which water can be conserved in the kitchen are:

  • Use of basins when washing dishes by hand
  • Using a dishwasher – when using the dish washer, it is important to make sure it’s fully loaded. Scraping plates instead of rinsing before loading it into the dishwasher will also go a long way in the conservation of the valuable commodity called water

Green your laundry and earn green bucks
The other area where water saving can be made is the laundry room. Washing only full loads of laundry will ensure that your washing machine is running at full efficiency hence you will be able to maximise your washer for energy efficiency. Always ensure you use the appropriate water level or load size selection on the washing machine. All these will not only save water but energy too and since savings are earnings you can smile all the way to the bank where some green bucks will be credited to your account.

Contact Us

  • (+353)(0)1-443-3807 - IRL
  • (+44)(0)20-7193-9751 - UK

Energy efficiency- succeed and benefit

Eco green house

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.

Contact Us

  • (+353)(0)1-443-3807 - IRL
  • (+44)(0)20-7193-9751 - UK
Self employed female carpenter is stamping project documentation

ISO in Energy management

Self employed female carpenter is stamping project documentation

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 organisations 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 organisation 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 organisations.

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 organisation 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 organisations in the following ways:

• Organisations are able to optimise the existing energy-consuming assets

• Offers guidance on bench-marking, 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 behaviours

• Assists facilities in evaluating and prioritising 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 organisation 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 organisations comply with energy standards through improved performance across the various functions in an organisation.

Contact Us

  • (+353)(0)1-443-3807 - IRL
  • (+44)(0)20-7193-9751 - UK
Accountants are analyzing data from the graph of the organization.

Energy Audit – clearly clear?

Accountants are analyzing data from the graph of the organization.

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 prioritise 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.

Contact Us

  • (+353)(0)1-443-3807 - IRL
  • (+44)(0)20-7193-9751 - UK
Save money coins

Spend more to reduce costs?

Save money coins

It is becoming increasingly important to not to analyse 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 organisations reduce energy use and achieve this goal using technology without having to “remember” to do it yourself. Organisations can never go wrong by investing in energy management software. There are varied software options to choose from depending on the organisational objective.
Some of the energy management objectives that organisations may need to meet are:

• Establishing baseline energy use

• Carrying out Energy audits

• Monitoring and measuring energy performance against the energy policies of an organisation 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 organisations 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.

Organisations 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 organisation 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.

Contact Us

  • (+353)(0)1-443-3807 - IRL
  • (+44)(0)20-7193-9751 - UK
Engineers standing on wind farm, making notes

Energy Management Tips

Engineers standing on wind farm, making notes

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) Utilising 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. Utilising the most appropriate technology
Utilisation 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.

Contact Us

  • (+353)(0)1-443-3807 - IRL
  • (+44)(0)20-7193-9751 - UK
Chalkboard with zero waste lettering

Green Business!

Chalkboard with zero waste lettering

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 organisation 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 organisations 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 minimise unnecessary office lighting, timers on large IT equipment, promoting energy efficient behaviour in the office, asking staff to switch off and unplug appliances when not in use and minimising 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 organisations 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.

Contact Us

  • (+353)(0)1-443-3807 - IRL
  • (+44)(0)20-7193-9751 - UK
Energy saving light bulb. LED light bulb.

Energy efficiency demystified

Energy saving light bulb. LED light bulb.

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 behaviours 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 analysing 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 organisation by assisting you in developing a sustainable energy strategy. Our energy monitoring software is one example. 

Contact Us

  • (+353)(0)1-443-3807 - IRL
  • (+44)(0)20-7193-9751 - UK

A Business Case for Sharing

Group of business people.Business people sharing their new ideas.

We blogged about sharing services in a decentralised business context recently, and explained why we think why these should be IT-Based for speedy delivery. This is not to say that all shared services projects worldwide have been resounding successes. This is often down to the lack of a solid business case up front. We decided to lay out the logic behind this process.

Management Overview – The overview includes a clear definition of why the current situation is unacceptable, the anticipated benefits of sharing, and an implementation plan were it to go ahead. The project should not proceed until the stakeholders have considered and agreed on this.

Alternatives Considered – The next stage is to get closer to the other options in order to determine whether an alternative might perhaps be preferable. Substitutes for shared services are often doing nothing, improving the current method, and outsourcing the service to a third party.

The Bottom Line in Business – Sharing services comes at an initial cost of infrastructure changes, and the impact on human capital (the latter deserves its own blog). The following need careful consideration from the financial angle:

Numbers to Work Through

  • Manpower to design and roll the project out in parallel with the existing organisation.
  • Capital for creating facilities at the central point including civil works, furniture and equipment and IT infrastructure.
  • The costs of travel, feeding and accommodation. These can be significant depending on the time that implementation takes.
  • The opportunity loss of diverting key staff – and the cost of temporary replacements – if appointing line staff to the project team.
  • Crystal-clear project metrics including (a) the direct, realisable savings (b) the medium and long-term effects on profit and (c) where to deploy the savings

Risk Management

Shared services projects don’t go equally smoothly, although planning should reduce the risk to manageable levels. Nonetheless it is important to imagine potential snags, decide how to mitigate them and what the cost might be.

We believe in implementing shared services on a pilot basis in the business unit that eventually provides them. We recommend building these out to other branches only when new processes are working smoothly.

Moving On From a Decision

We recommend you revisit your management overview, the logic behind it, the assumptions you made, and the costs and benefits you envisage before deciding to go ahead

The final step in proving a business case is doable should be fleshing out your roadmap into a detailed operations plan with dependencies on a spreadsheet.

Contact Us

  • (+353)(0)1-443-3807 - IRL
  • (+44)(0)20-7193-9751 - UK