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.”
If you’re spending much on energy, monitoring and managing it will provide rapid and lasting returns. But here’s how I learned the hard way that’s true only if you have – and keep – the support of top-level management.
In this second installment of Bill Holmes’ interview of former C-suite executives at large corporations, they determine that it’s a mistake to think that flattening out of annual savings means the energy management team has done its work and is no longer needed.
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.
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.
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.
Be wary of claims that you can compare energy consumption of one facility to another, or even learn much from a standard audit. Instead, use detailed, real-time energy monitoring to discover your plant’s own fingerprint.