You can’t calculate ROI of a metering system any more precisely than you can for a financial accounting system, but experience shows energy monitoring always leads to reducing consumption by 10 to 20 percent or more.
It’s not necessary to use pneumatics to win a Rube Goldberg award for needless complexity. Here, the panels were all-electric. When I turned the latch of the hinged door on the first one, it literally exploded.
Engineers should use theory – the physics and modeling of equipment and systems – to uncover the possibilities for higher efficiencies. But to achieve them in the real world takes constant energy monitoring, training, and incentives.
The EPA’s Building Energy Competition may get folks fired up about efficiency but it won’t make much of a lasting difference if it doesn’t support understanding, monitoring and maintaining the equipment that consumes the energy.
People seem to think that because it can turn energy-consuming equipment off and on, a control system is an energy management system, but it’s not. If you want to manage energy, you must measure energy.
Too many people start with the assumption that they’ll need new equipment. The better first step is to install comprehensive energy monitoring instrumentation and use the data to improve the management of the existing systems.
You want to think you can enlist operators and office-dwellers to help save energy, but here’s why, as wonderful as it sounds in theory for everyone to do their part to save the world, in practice that doesn’t really work very well.