RGA Engineering y Projects

How to Quantify Energy Savings

The energy management of the installation, as it was developed in this article , recognizes that one of the focal points to consider must be the change of attitude towards the installation, going from seeing it as a black box to trying to discretize what, how much and when it is consumed. . Next, the options that can be handled when “opening” said box and its main implications when quantifying energy savings, and therefore defining the return on investment, will be described.

Now, how can energy savings be quantified? The first thing that comes to mind is “through billing” and it is certainly the way this effort should be reflected, through monetization; however, not all the initiatives implemented can affect the energy inertia of the building, made up of seasonal, monthly, daily, and productive variations, among others. Hence the importance of applying consistent methodologies.

Starting from the premise that the energy efficiency measures implemented are significant, determined by applying the Pareto principle, or through an audit that follows the approaches of the ISO 50002 standard or similar, there are two approaches to consider to assess the impact of the initiatives: through a plant characterization or real-time measurement.


Characterization vs. Real time measurement

Although both approaches make it possible to determine the energy that is consumed (or saved) satisfactorily, their difference lies primarily in the amount of initial investment. The characterization consists of the installation of portable monitoring equipment for a limited period of time on a regular basis (quarterly, semi-annual) to evaluate the energy performance of the installation; while the measurement in real time, as its name indicates, is based on installing fixed instruments that send the information online, and it is reported in a web environment.

In everyday terms, if someone goes to the cardiologist and they install a holter, it would be characterization; and if it were a surgically permanent equipment, measurement in real time.

It should be noted that regardless of the type of approach, due to the fluctuating nature of energy consumption, it is necessary to develop indicators, for example energy/production (industry); energy/occupancy (hotel, commercial), which allow consumption to be put into context between the services used, areas, or assembly lines.

It is advisable, once the organization has made investments in energy efficiency, to start its monitoring and verification processes through the characterization approach, with a view to a gradual inclusion of a real-time system, relying on the strengths of both approaches. : cost (characterization) and availability of the measurement 24/7 (real time), as soon as it is economically feasible.

In conclusion, regardless of the size and complexity of the installation, a strategy can be developed that allows the black box to be consistently opened and energy savings to be quantified, either only with periodic analyses, or hybrids including real time, to estimate savings in energy consumption and its consequent reduction in CO 2 emissions .

Published in: Success Factor Magazine, Edition VI, 2016, pp. 48-50 ( See more of the magazine )

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