Identifying Energy Saving Opportunities

Last week in a post, Reducing Demand Charges in Energy Bills, we highlighted the opportunity for process manufacturers and producers to optimize energy costs. Today, we’ll look at how to better identify these opportunities for energy savings.

Emerson's Bill Thackston


Emerson’s Bill Thackston explained to me that even in these current times of low energy prices that it is worth another look at your bill, comparing your year on year demand charges. You will likely see these numbers are roughly the same, as the utility’s infrastructure costs haven’t declined. These savings opportunities are as relevant now as when oil was trading at $120 per barrel.

So how do you identify these savings?

First, the facility needs a total usage meter, either read from the utility’s meter, or, preferably, from an independent meter under the facility’s control. Next are meters on each distribution line. For electricity, this will follow the plant single-line diagram.

Analyzing distribution will indicate the most likely area of focus for more detailed measurement and analysis. Typically, the energy manager can then focus on the areas with largest usage and variability, and then work down to the largest users within them.

So once you have the measurements in place, then what?

Bill noted that one extremely useful tool is a demand report, which not only monitors the peak usage (and other factors relevant to the utility contract), but it also records the demand at each monitored area or unit during the peak.

For comparison, the system should also be able to record the usage rate and running totals throughout the month, along with the expected (target) usage based upon operating conditions. It might also be helpful to notify site personnel when a high demand condition occurs, or even before it does, to avoid excess charges.

An energy information management system, such as Energy Advisor, provides this real-time insight into the facility’s energy consumption and loss. It can provide energy performance at the site, unit, or asset level and apply process models that calculate best practical efficiencies during peak and non-peak times. It can provide feedback to operators to address overconsumption events as they occur in real time.

View this ~3-minute video on how the Energy Advisor can help you spot these opportunities to reduce utility demand charges.

You can visit with the Industrial Energy team at the October 24-28 Emerson Exchange conference in Austin or with other energy management experts in the Industrial Energy group in the Emerson Exchange 365 community.

Posted Monday, September 12th, 2016 under Energy.

One comment so far

  1. Plants only have the “total usage meter” for the water, air, gas, electricity, and steam. The most practical way to add usage meters on each distribution line for each area, unit, and some of the major equipment is by deploying wireless sensors, or hooking up additional sensors to the closest junction box with fieldbus. Learn more from this essay:
    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/saving-energy-one-bit-time-jonas-berge

Leave a Reply