When rising energy costs threatened to close a local ice rink, a waste heat recycling system was designed that paid back in 24 months while extending equipment life and saving millions of gallons of water.
I was talking with John, the operator at the ice storage plant. Was he ever glad he had this ice storage plant; it was going to save him a fortune! Then I said to him, “Excuse me, I must be missing something. It appears that there is no ice in the ice storage tank.”
The master of using complex apparatus to perform simple tasks would be proud of many older control systems. Here’s how one engineer learned to cut through the resulting clutter to achieve award-winning energy efficiency.
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.