Editor's Letter

06/27/2014 | By Chris Olson

Stop July's Swelter from Ratcheting Your Energy Costs

Chris Olson
Chief Content Director

July is the hottest month, but you don't want to get burned in places where you can avoid it, like ratchet charges from your utility. 

You might think that June would edge out July as the hottest month because the longest day in the northern hemisphere – and thus the day when the U.S. absorbs the most sunlight – is June 21.

But a factor in outdoor temperatures is the fact that the earth – much like your building and the rest of the built environment – absorbs the sun's energy to its capacity and then radiates it back into the atmosphere, the average high U.S. temperature is 84.4 degrees. The hottest month since 1895 in the U.S. was in July 1936, the height of the Dust Bowl. 

So July should warm up your interest in your energy bill. Somehow your utility must recoup the cost of the additional capacity to meet extreme demand. Often these costs involve operating so-called peaker plants that are fired up only as necessary. Peaker plants tend to be less efficient, thus they are more costly to operate and generate higher levels of greenhouse gases per kW produced. 

How is your utility recovering its costs? You and your CFO should be able to see it – more or less transparently – on your utility bills, allowing you to determine the potential dollar benefit of evasive maneuvers. You may see a higher supply charge for on-peak times. You may have a ratchet charge based on your peak demand. In this scenario, it's not how much you use but how fast you use it that affects your minimum demand charge for up to the next 11 months, no matter what your actual consumption is. 

Another thing to keep in mind this month is the possibility of double jeopardy. Equipment often consumes the most electricity at start-up. If you don't have a staggered start-up procedure, your facility could suffer the pain of a higher demand charge after a summer blackout if everything goes online at the same time. 

The combination of lost production time and a higher demand baseline can make your electrical bill hot to the touch long after your building has rejected July's heat. 

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Connectrac® wireways are the new standard for bringing power & communications cable management to all interior applications. Free yourself from core drilling!

Surpass State Energy Requirements with Dual-Cooling Data Center CRAC Technology

See how professionals like you are taking advantage of the highest performing precision cooling system for their computer rooms and data centers, and why Data Aire is fast-becoming the number one choice for facility managers and building owners looking to decrease their energy consumption. 

Data Aire understands how digital technology and data gravity is rapidly impacting and transforming businesses. That’s why they developed ultra-efficient cooling technology to support the most modern (and not-so-modern) data centers.  Learn how One Wilshire in Los Angeles, one of the most advanced carrier hotels today, is surpassing California's strict energy efficiency requirements with Data Aire’s purpose-built system, which provide full-economization for 260 days – almost 72% of the year. That’s a measurable savings! Furthermore, the projected PUE on an annual basis for a full load is at or below 1.2.


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