Measuring and tracking energy usage
April 19, 2011
by Lime Energy
|Although Plant C has the lowest total energy expense, it has the highest CO2 per unit of production; therefore, Plant C may be the easiest opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This valuable data and much more is made possible with an information system dedicated to tracking energy consumption and cost. (Click image for larger version.) |
It’s impossible to effectively manage what can’t be measured. Fortunately, today’s information systems are web-based and capable of collecting, analyzing and sharing data across your baking or snack operation to drive better decisions. Since tracking energy consumption and cost per unit of production are new concepts for most companies, the ideal solution should provide the start-up work for you: mapping plants to meters, quality reviews of historical utility bills, connection to production throughput, analyzing weather data and carbon emission tracking setup.
Software today can track and report consumption, costs and greenhouse gas (GHG) per unit of production from electricity, natural gas, wastewater, solid waste, recycling, vehicle fuel and any other resource that can benefit from accurate record keeping and trend analysis. Valuable reports compare current consumption to past history in order to identify trends and document changes. The system should also be an easy and convenient tool for analyzing and sharing data within the organization in order to set priorities for corporate initiatives.
Ideally, solution providers will partner with clients over time to assist in staying on top of the energy and maintenance spending across all facilities. The ongoing data set is the key to accurate benchmarking, leading to a correct diagnosis followed by continuous measurement to ensure persistence.
PRIORITIZE YOUR PLANTS.
An expert analysis reveals present energy costs, energy and cost reduction opportunities, potential to reduce carbon footprint, available utility company rebates, and the cost to implement an energy upgrade — all in terms of production units and contribution to overall profitability. Clients find value in performing an enterprise analysis to list all facilities from worst to best (energy cost per dollar of product cost) and establish realistic estimates for energy saved, dollars saved, installed cost, utility incentives, tax benefits, return on investment, and environmental impact.
Taken together, the most significant opportunities naturally present themselves for quick action. Delay or indecision simply means passing up a remarkable opportunity to permanently reduce cost. Companies that attempt to self-perform energy upgrades can substantially compromise ROI because they find themselves working outside their core field. There is a great advantage when working with a company that performs the complete energy upgrade service — including site evaluation, design and implementation. Because all three are delivered from one provider, there are no delays or communication barriers between our engineers and installation crews. This saves time, and clients enjoy a faster financial return.
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