A long-term, integrated energy master plan is the “only rational approach” to energy efficiency and cost savings in plants, according to a PlantServices article.
But before making any investments, start energy mapping, writes Peter Garforth, an energy consultant based in Toledo, Ohio and Brussels, Belgium.
Garforth says one of the most important steps in developing an integrated energy plan is to first set clear goals for efficiency, portfolio investment return, carbon footprint, and risk reduction. Without a clear picture of how a plant uses — and wastes — energy, it’s impossible to develop an integrated plan, he says.
Garforth suggest mapping energy use and waste, environmental impacts and costs. He says the Sankey Diagram, first used in 1898 by an Irish engineer, Captain Matthew Sankey, to summarize energy flows in a steam engine, is still one of the best ways to visualize energy flows. While these diagrams used to be a labor-intensive process, today Sankey software (pictured) can map complex processes and only costs a few hundred dollars, Garforth writes.
He says these maps allow managers to view entire sites, to production areas and equipment levels, and locate energy use and waste, emissions and costs.
Systems integration is the key to successfully implementing a comprehensive energy management program, according to Control Engineering. In the article published earlier this month, Feras Karim, a senior systems engineer on the energy management team at SAIC, tells the magazine that the biggest challenge facing manufacturers is legacy systems: multiple systems from multiple suppliers, and systems from different generations.
Large US firms will spend $2.5 billion annually on technology consulting and systems integration relating to their energy and sustainability initiatives by 2015, Verdantix forecasts.
Diagram Credit: UK Department of Energy and Climate Change