With so many options and so much information available, how can you get started Reducing Energy Consumption?
First Things First: Understand Your Energy Consumption. The first step to understanding your path to reduced energy consumption is understanding how much energy you use from each energy source and the biggest users of energy at your facility. Consider heating, cooling, and ventilation as well as compressed air and industrial equipment. Once you have identified your largest consumers of energy you will have a good idea of where your biggest opportunities to Reduce Energy Consumption are.
Plan to review and reduce energy consumption. Included in your plan should be an evaluation of the material condition of equipment and effectiveness of control systems. Everything from a properly functioning and programmed thermostat in the office to properly maintained industrial equipment can impact your ability to reduce energy consumption. Your plan should include regular review of your largest energy consumers.
Do: Based on the information you have gathered, implement efficiency improvements and corrective action, starting with the best conservation measures first (low or no cost, biggest improvements). Don’t forget the no cost conservation measures: things like proper shut-down procedures for off-hours and re-programming thermostats can have a significant impact. Low cost improvements include bringing preventive maintenance schedules up to date and minor repairs such as fixing compressed air leaks.
Check the Results: Periodically check to confirm conservation measures are being followed and maintained. A sub-metering system that helps you monitor energy consumption can measure to confirm improvements and identify when consumption patterns change unexpectedly. Manufacturing facilities should track Specific Energy Consumption (energy consumed per unit of production) to verify conservation measures (Scatter Plots or Control Charts for Specific Energy Consumption can be very helpful).
Act: Adjust the plan, adjust as necessary to achieve verified results. Observed success becomes the new ‘Normal’, then start the continuous cycle again: Plan – Do – Check – Act.
It is easy to get started, the next time you pay your energy bill, take a walk around your facility and consider where all that energy is being used. Start asking the rest of your team where they think the energy is being used and start putting together a plan for energy conservation. The more people on your team that are talking about and thinking about reducing energy consumption, the less energy you will use.