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24 March 2015

Facility Energy Savings

How to identify the easiest energy savings in your facility, with the biggest, quickest return

Q&A with energy measurement expert Wade Thompson

Wade Thompson is a Fluke power quality specialist who formerly worked for both RPM and BMI. He specializes in troubleshooting power quality problems at data centers, large embedded systems, utilities, and industrial facilities.

Q. What does measurement have to do with energy saving?

It’s all about ROI and the bottom line. Facilities need to consume a certain amount of energy to produce work—product, data, whatever it is. But, most facilities are consuming too much energy. They’re inefficient energy users. Until the last decade, facility management as an industry didn’t really care—energy was cheap. Once energy became more expensive, managers became interested in reducing their energy bill, but the prospect had to be put into business terms: where is the ROI conversion point where the waste is great enough that it makes sense to address? To answer that question, you need to measure how much energy you are consuming on the different types of work (systems) in your building and compare to standards. That tells you how much eferenced by the US Department of Energy (DOE). The actual savings depend on a couple things. First,polate that to think about all of the (possibly) aging equipment in a facility that consumes more energy to operate than new, high-efficiency models.

So, yes, a manufacturing or mixed-use facility may experience both lighting and building envelope wastes. But are those the first wastes to address? You can’t answer that question until you log power consumption at all of the major loads, map it to both the rate schedule and the operational schedule, and do the ROI math. Quite often, a facility will uncover enough maintenance and operational savings on large equipment that within a few years they’ve saved enough money to accelerate the equipment replacement with a leaner model.

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