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Tip of the Week

Posted by ezintegr on February 15, 2012 at 3:49 PM

When considering energy efficiency projects for your facilities it's important to ensure you're taking all the financial benefits into account. Most organizations have a firm understanding of the savings from a resulting reduction in energy consumed but often overlook or are unaware of less obvious or indirect windfalls created by these types of projects. These oversights can make a significant difference in the ROI and thus potentially cause a feasible project to look unfavorable. Here are some areas of savings to take into consideration for all energy efficiency projects:

Reduced Demand

Total KWh consumed is not the only determining factor in your utility bills. Peak Demand, the highest level of utility consumption demand by your facility within a time cycle, can also impact the amount you are charged for service. For example, on a hot summer day a building without a control system could have multiple HVAC units turn on at the same time or nearly the same time. This is undesirable as each HVAC unit draws an increased amount of electricity to power up its compressor. The amount of electricity required to keep the compressor running once it is fully powered is lower than the amount required to power it up. This creates a "peak" in your electric service demand while the compressor is powering up. So, if multiple HVAC units power up at the same time the peak is even higher, requiring your utility to have a greater amount of electricity available at all times in order to meet your peak demand needs when they occur. This results in a higher cost to the utility, which gladly passes the costs onto you. A control system being installed in the same building could provide communications between the HVAC units so that their power up is staggered enough to prevent the higher peaks and save you money on your electric bills.

Reduced Maintenance

Equipment breaks down as it ages and becomes less reliable and less efficient, requiring more frequent maintenance and replacement of parts. More frequent maintenance requires more of someone's time to keep things running which either takes away from the person's time to work on other equipment or eventually leads to the need to hire additional staff. It all means higher expenses. Over time new technology provides superior equipment with longer life, efficiency, and reliability. Even if it costs more for equipment containing the new technology the reduction in maintenance costs for it compared to the existing equipment may justify the additional cost or even lead to savings. An example of this would be comparing the cost of florescent lighting to LED lighting. LED lighting has a much higher purchase cost but it also is more efficient, has 4 times or more life, and doesn't require ballasts. In most cases the costs of LED lighting over the life of the product compared to florescent lighting are lower and the longer life frees up maintenance staff.

Another example would be in the case where a control system that provides alerts and notifications when equipment is not working properly is installed in a building. By having a system which notifies maintenance staff when issues occur, the need to have staff spending time surveying the building for equipment issues can be reduced or eliminated altogether. Not to mention the utility savings realized when an issue causing additional consumption or demand is caught and addressed in a timely manner rather than being caught and addressed whenever someone happens to notice it. Maintenance staff can't be everywhere at the same time, but a control system can be.

Increased Equipment Life

Energy efficiency projects can also have components to them which result in increased life of equipment in a building. Doing things like turning off lighting and electronic devices, or setting back thermostats when a building is unoccupied reduce the number of hours that equipment is running leading to it lasting longer before needing replaced or repaired. Other measures such as dimming lighting when sufficient natural light is available lead to increased life of equipment as well.

As you can see there are many savings opportunities and benefits to be derived from and accounted for when determining the total impact an energy efficiency project can have on a business' bottom line. Finding someone who can identify these items is crucial to making a fully informed decision on the viability of an energy efficiency project. Firms such as EZ-Integration, Inc. provide the services and control systems which help businesses and building owners get the most out of their projects. For more information on all the benefits an energy efficiency project can bring to you visit , email us at, or contact us by phone at 1-877-928-4111 or if you're in the State of Ohio at (614) 495-3700.

Topics: Energy Smart Partners, tip of the week, EZ-Integration, energy efficiency

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