Getting Ready to Start Saving Energy in 5 Steps with Wattics

Facility managers and energy consultants will all agree that energy management solutions are of great value for discovering energy saving opportunities unique to their organisation.
One important step that is often overlooked is what must be done prior to engaging and selecting a vendor, in order to prevent delays and estimate expected savings. Wattics has dealt with a wide variety of organisations in the past, and we have compiled a step-by-step guide to get you ready to start saving energy.

1. Get management support

Management support will get your purchase order signed off once the right energy management solution has been identified. No support from the start will guarantee a delay in assigning a budget, and will often lead to orders being cancelled. Some of the questions below might help you to identify if your management is fully supportive, and what you need to be doing to get them on your side:

Portrait of business executives clapping

  • Does energy expenditure represent a large part of your direct costs?
  • Does your management recognise increasing energy bills as a major issue?
  • Does your budget allow for an energy management solution?
  • Does the decision maker know about your plans to get an energy management solution?
  • Have energy saving initiatives been requested by your management?
  • Have energy saving projects been green lit by management before?

 

2. Identify the real money-saving opportunity

Have you analysed your electricity bills recently, are your costs increasing and have you spotted any signs of abnormal consumption? Identifying early the need to manage energy better will help you assess the gains and payback you are likely to obtain with an energy management solution. Don’t forget that savings on energy costs are pure profit, e.g. if your company works on a 10% profit margin, reducing your energy costs by €10,000 is similar to making an additional €100,000 turnover.

opportunity
As a start, you may investigate what your major energy consumers are, whether it is your HVAC system, your production lines, refrigeration, lighting, etc. If you already have a few meters you can start recording meter readings for the various areas monitored and compare the kWh consumption over different periods. Your company might well have contracted an energy consultant in the past so any historical energy audit reports will be helpful in highlighting where savings are most likely to be achieved. These snapshots of your organisation’s energy use will help you understand what areas and equipment will need to be continuously monitored in order to discover signs of inefficient use and adjust your load demand for savings.

3. Make sure your electrical installation is up to date

Frequently upgraded electrical wiring often leads to confusion and changes to labelling, making their monitoring difficult. Make sure that your installation is up to the necessary standard and checked by a qualified electrician.

circuits
The first thing to establish is whether the circuits of your electrical installation are labeled, and more importantly, correctly labeled. The existence of recent electrical wiring sheets is a good sign that your installation has been well documented. They will also provide you with information about the overall supply tree, starting with the main incomer. Circuit diagrams are very useful for selecting which circuits and boards to monitor. They will generally provide breaker amperage information, which is extremely valuable for pricing and sizing current transformers used for monitoring. If your organisation has on-site electricians, you may get them to do some labeling work to get your installation ready.

4. Identify your requirements

Depending on the nature of your organisation, some unique requirements may need to be catered for by any energy management solution. A number of examples are given below:

requirements-list
Electrical disruption – Installation of metering equipment necessitates the wiring of circuit breakers to feed in the meters, and the clamping of current transformers to electrical circuits within the distribution board. Although these procedures are short, they may require temporary shutdown of the electrical distribution boards, which could potentially affect production. There is therefore a need to investigate when distribution boards can be switched off, whether it can happen anytime during the day, only overnight, at week-end, or during scheduled maintenance dates. You can then assess any potential installation encumbrance, and possibly use scheduled shutdown periods to have spare circuit breakers wired in anticipation of future expansion needs e.g. for an energy management system.

Authorisations – Another important point is whether your business requires special authorisation from top management or other departments to get near the electrical supply. For instance, data centres are environments where the relationship between Facility and IT departments is often conflicting, the former trying to optimise facility operation and energy use, and the latter focusing on guaranteeing best performance and reliability of data retrieval. Electrical work on facility equipment may temporarily have an effect business operations and authorisations from management and IT departments will generally be needed before any work can proceed.

Data Security policy – Each organisation’ security policy will need to be assessed beforehand if the company deals with sensitive information, such as banks and other financial organisations. Internet LAN data networks are generally fully restricted and you will need to ensure the vendors energy management solutions’ security measures are up to your organisation standards.

5. Engage your staff

The final and possibly most important consideration is identifying early who is going to engage with the energy management solution once it is in place. While energy management solutions are invaluable to discover energy saving opportunities, the savings will only be achieved if somebody analyses such opportunities and implements energy saving measures. Investing in an energy management solution must come with a team of people ready to engage and commit to realise the savings.

mgmtsupport2
Some solutions will give you the right tools to facilitate engagement and reduce the time spent managing energy. For example, Wattics has developed a unique software technology that self-learns the operation of monitored circuits based on a pattern analysis of energy use and automatically notifies you whenever abnormal consumption is discovered. All this is based on innovative signal analysis we have developed and runs without any configuration.

 

With Wattics you will not miss an opportunity to save energy. Get in touch now at wattics.com, we are excited to provide our technology and expertise to help your business.

 

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