By Quandel Construction Group
Energy prices are rising after a relatively calm and steady period. Consider these facts:
“Fortunately, there are some things building owners can do in the short and long term to hedge against these increases,” said John Hayden, Director of Engineering at Quandel Energy Solutions.
Here are some outward tactics to consider:
“It can be as simple as making sure employees turn off the lights when they leave or unplug the coffee pot when it is not in use,” Hayden said. “This is the least costly tactic and something everyone can participate in. Some of this can be automated, and some of it is personal action. Most people do not care because they are not aware of what the costs are, but behavioral modification will happen when people realize their actions can make a difference.”
Here are some things businesses can do themselves:
For businesses that have money to invest or are in a position to finance a project, here are some things to look at:
“I liken it to a hair dryer,” Hayden said. “Back in the day, there were only two settings—on and off. Most hair dryers today have variable settings. You often don’t need the dryer to be in the highest setting to get the job done.”
3. Upgrade the building’s automatic temperature control system. Systems have made huge improvement in managing energy, and if you are not using a smart thermostat or a recently upgraded system, you are missing an opportunity to save money while increasing occupant comfort.
“There have been numerous improvements baked into systems that were not available five or ten years ago,” Hayden said. “Building automation systems are like smart phones, they keep improving and making things more efficient.”
4. For industrial facilities, review processes to make sure they are running in the most efficient and cost-effective way. For example, if you are running a manufacturing facility that makes widgets, look at the way the process works to see if you can reduce energy across the whole production line or certain steps in the process.
“For a process line, what is on a conveyor belt that is running at constant speed but does not need to when production has slowed,” Hayden said. “The solution might be to have a sensor that counts the product that goes by and uses that information to speed up or slow down the conveyor belt accordingly.”
Most changes can be modeled to see which makes economic sense considering first costs, energy costs and maintenance costs along with tax implications.
“We have put a lot of these models together to show whether a change or idea should move forward or not,” Hayden said. “Risk analysis can be included in the analysis so those responsible for energy and project budgets can make well-researched recommendations.”
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Copyright Building PA Podcast - 2021