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Is there any utility in the Energy Performance Indicators?

Is there any utility in energy performance indicators? There are only two answers to this question, and paradoxically they are not “ Yes ” and “ No ”, but rather the level of certainty and intensity imposed by the person who answers. Any professional in ISO issues will gush and practically jump out of their chair “ Yes, of course”; while a person who has heard of these topics but has never had the opportunity to develop them, will say hesitantly “Yes, surely.” And it is that the performance indicators are the core axis of any organization, since from them problems can be identified in time, which otherwise could lead to large economic losses.

Performance indicators are so widespread that they are not only applied to organizations but to the whole of society. From childhood with school grades, at work with the level of income, mortgage credit, number of tourist trips per year, and stop counting, all express themselves with the objective of categorizing the “Successful” and  Failures  ; o “ Compliance ” and “ Non- compliance ” (organizationally).

However, in energy systems the story is not very different. The first performance indicator is the billing of the service of the energy source used, be it electricity, diesel, methane gas, LPG, etc.; however, as stated in the article “Energy Audit as a Strategy” , the absolute amount of energy cannot provide sufficient information to allow corrective actions to be taken, given the variability of consumption at the seasonal, monthly, specification level. of product, or occupation.

Selection and evaluation of energy performance indicators

The ISO 50006:2014 standard defines energy indicators – EnPI (Energy Performance Indicators) – as “a quantitative value or measure of energy performance, defined by the organization”. This offers the option for each company, according to its operational reality, to propose the EnPI(s) that best suit their requirement, and provide information that allows effective decision-making. These can be: consumption versus production of the finished product (kWh/Ton); consumption versus occupancy (kWh/people); consumption versus raw material, etc.

With regard to energy saving, the EnPI are used by contrasting each other annually or seasonally, and these in turn against the objective developed by the organization, that is, the goals. Graphically they can be expressed temporarily, beginning the so-called “Base Line”.

There are two fundamental problems with the use of EnPIs. The first is that its users often do not know its origin (physical phenomenon), how it is measured, and its implications, which is very common in large corporations where they are carried more by corporate requirement than as an optimization mechanism. The second problem is the number of EnPI employees that do not provide relevant information, and many times distract attention from the truly important ones. The ideal is to develop the EnPIs that allow the phenomenon of interest to be triangulated. Example in industry: absolute energy consumption, total consumption versus production and consumption of the production area versus production.

In conclusion, the use of energy performance indicators, or EnPI, is essential to achieve the energy optimization of an organization, being impossible to be efficient without them; however, its effectiveness will depend on the level of understanding and development that the organization invests in it. Wearing indicators simply for the sake of having them is like getting married to have a ring.

Published in:  Factor de Éxito Magazine, Edition VIII, 2017, page. 56 ( See more of the magazine )

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