How to Maximize Energy Efficiency with a Power Monitoring System

Posted by Jimmy Hovey on Fri, Jun 10, 2011 @ 14:06 PM

Can You Control Something You Can't Measure?

No, I don't think you can.  If you go into a hospital or have a problem, what do they do first?  They hook you up to monitor to measure what is going on.  Why do they do that?  They are looking for abnormalities, issues with vital organs, and to predict if there is an imminent failure.  It gives medical professionals a baseline of where to begin.  Monitoring the power in your business is the same. You can't live without your heart and likewise, most businesses can't live without some source of power or energy. power-monitoring-system-can-you-measure-what-you-cant-see 

Many companies take their power for granted and only pay attention when they have a problem.  Installing a power monitoring system can help business owners make intelligent decisions about one of the most expensive overhead items, energy expense. 

Monitor Your Power

Technology has come a long way even in the past 5 years with the advent of the web.  Google has even popularized power monitoring through their Google Power Meter function.  All of this has brought a great deal of attention to energy efficiency. 

Even with all the information out there, most business owners are simply taking a passive approach to energy efficiency.  In this article, we will show you how to develop a energy strategy that helps your company manage your energy consumption in real time. Here are the 3 phases to a solid Energy Efficiency Strategy.

Phase 1- Passive Energy Efficiency Strategy

Fix the Basics

Most facilities that we visit have many of the obvious basic needs when we perform an energy efficiency assessment.  Lighting is typically the most obvious and among the "low hanging fruit" for projects. 

  • Lighting

  • Motors

  • Compressed Air

  • Motion Sensors

Fixing the basics just makes common sense.  Most "obvious" improvements to system infrastructure will pay for itself in less than 2 years.  There are numerous tax deductions, utility incentives and financing options for owners who want to improve the basics of their facility. 

Improving electrical systems can be one of the best investments you can make.

Phase 2 - Active Energy Efficiency Strategy

Phase 2 works to control as many variables as possible to achieve maximum efficiency.  By monitoring your existing energy infrastructure you are able to

Optimize Your Energy Sources

Peak load shedding -

If you are aware of when you are using the most energy in the most expensive parts of the day...peak load..then you can find ways to optimize your schedule in order to reduce your peak load.  Peak load shedding is the ability to shift demand to other parts of the day that are less expensive allowing you to reduce your energy costs. 

Regulate Energy Systems

By regulating various systems in your energy infrastructure you can control when you are consuming energy.  Some examples of control measures are:

  • HVAC Controls

  • Lighting Controls

  • Variable Speed Drives

By placing controls, you will be able to adjust appropriately when you move to phase 3 and monitor your system. Continuous monitoring is critical to managing all the variables from the systems that consume energy.

Phase 3 - Real Time Energy Efficiency Strategy

Integrating power monitoring into your energy efficiency strategy will allow you to manage 3 core energy efficiency functions; Monitoring, Maintaining and Improving. 

Monitor

Monitoring your energy consumption in real time allows for you to see where your resources are going.  Most systems allow for alarms to be set up which go outside of your normal expectations for your system. Detecting abnormal conditions can help reduce costs, system failures and preventative maintenance.

Maintain

Maintaining your energy systems will help you to isolate problems.  Isolating problems can mean a significant savings in time and money.  If you system is down, you will immediately know if the problem is up line (utility problem) or down line (your problem).  Just waiting for the utilities to show up can take several hours.  A real time system will tell you immediately where the problem exists.  Immediate information, measurement, will allow you to isolate and fix the problem much faster than without the real time data.

Improve

Real time measurement allows you to determine the best time to
improve your existing system.  You will know when a failure is imminent and the problem can be repaired on your time, not in an emergency situation.  Predicting systems failure could potentially save your company millions of dollars in saved downtime.

Is Power Monitoring Affordable?

Companies that we work for have been using these technologies for decades.  They are global companies who can't afford to be down for any period of time. 

Technology advancements have made power monitoring affordable for a single critical circuit to a global network of millions of circuits.  Utilizing these simplified technologies within your business can be to a business of any size. 

Do You Know the Answer?

Do you know when the next motor will fail?  Do you know if your system is sized right based on your demand?  Do you know what equipment uses the most energy?  Have you analyzed options for replacing the most inefficient equipment?  Have you had a recent system failure and don't know why? 

Power Monitoring can answer all of those questions above.  Not sure where to begin?  Start with our FREE E-book: Business Owners Guide to Energy Efficiency

So Can You Control Something You Can't Measure?  Can you live without your Heart......or POWER?  Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Topics: Power Monitoring System, Power Monitoring, Power Monitoring Equipment