Energy Savings while Your Facility Sleeps
Once an insignificant overhead charge, electricity is an increasingly large component of operating costs for US industrial manufacturers. Both rates ($/kWhr) and usage (kWhr consumed) are key drivers of costs. The US Energy Information Administration estimates that national electricity consumption (kWhr consumed) in the industrial sector will continue to increase at an annual average rate of 0.6 percent through 2040.
With climbing costs in both energy generation and energy distribution, manufacturers must look for ways to decrease energy expenses to remain competitive. Electricity once viewed as simply an enabler of production started to receive attention when power outages stopped production. Now, electricity is viewed as a tool to improve competitiveness through cost savings from energy efficiency and improvements in productivity.
For some manufacturers however, reducing energy usage and costs via energy efficiency can be challenging. Custom built machinery is hard to replace and the identification of savings opportunities requires some up-front investigation effort.
Seldera, a subsidiary of Ameresco Inc., developed a low cost solution to help with this challenge. Connecticut Light and Power conducted a pilot with Seldera, which demonstrated that a data-driven approach presents significant opportunities for savings in small and mid-sized industrial buildings. In this trial Seldera used its intelligent sensing system Building Dynamics, to characterize the facility’s energy consumption. Seldera then proposed savings by reducing idle loads and also quantified the savings potential of other energy conservation measures.
With the detection of idle loads–energy produced while a facility is “asleep”– facility stakeholders can immediately save money at little to no additional cost by reducing phantom loads. The process also results in a deeper understanding of electric load behavior. This provides insights on how to improve productivity, manage demand and evaluate capital investment upgrades.
With tools like this, manufacturers can now effectively rely on automated technologies to manage idle loads when certain production equipment is not being used. The tool utilizes engineering mechanisms, including data and behavioral analytics that help detect machine and behavioral patterns in buildings, and automatically adjusts electricity use. The same information is used to quantify the costs associated with each production line, identifying operational improvements to help make business decisions.
Jake Rozmaryn is a clean energy advocate and thought leader who regularly publishes articles in Renewable Energy World and The Energy Collective, Jake utilizes his expertise to communicate trends and new technologies in cleantech that will help drive the industry forward. He is the CEO and Founder of Eco Branding, a clean tech integrated marketing communications agency with offices in New York City and Washington, DC.
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