The Basics of Energy Management

Dec. 20, 2012
The Basics of Energy Management Are... Basic

Energy management involves commitment more than the cutting edge, a simple fact that I was reminded of again when reading the articles in this issue.

Successful energy managers are committed to what many consider the mundane. But one person’s mundane is another person’s gold mine. Take Andy Schonberger and Brett Sverkas of the Earth Rangers Centre near Toronto. As noted in our feature story (page 32), this pair keeps it simple but they do it every day. Andy scans dashboards on his facility’s energy performance every morning while Brett monitors his Google Docs-based collaboration tool that feeds him anonymous occupant concerns and suggestions. Their goal is continuous, daily improvement and decreasing consumption every year.

Everyone knows that maintenance has an enormous impact on energy consumption. Who hasn’t heard that dirty condenser coils degrade compressor performance? But did you know that the inefficiency can be as high as 30%? That figure is noted in this month’s article (page 18) on taking the opportunity to maintain your cooling system during the winter heating season. You’ll find a checklist there of things that you might not need to be instructed in so much as reminded of, including the importance of checking the refrigerant charge, which can affect performance by 5–10%.

And if you think that there is little that you can do to improve your facility’s performance without a costly equipment upgrade – although I think that’s an assumption that Andy and Brett would question – then you’ll be interested in this month’s Q&A with energy consultant Bill Bissmeyer (page 10). Bill notes that a mere 3.5% of the federal tax incentives established by EPAct (Energy Policy Act of 2005) have been used to date, and they’re still there for the taking in 2013. But many people get bogged down by a simple case of the left hand (the energy manager) not knowing what the right hand (the accountant) is doing.

Call it blocking and tackling. Call it brass tacks. Call it the early bird gets the worm. Call it boring. Or just call it the energy basics that affect your bottom line.

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