How Do I Develop My Own Company Energy Plan? Answer: Methodically. Here is one company’s approach for existing buildings (again not to endorse). This is getting down into the gritty part of owning a building; seeing what you have; figuring out what changes to make; making those changes; and then verifying (commissioning) that they work and keep working:
The most important step is to start. Another way to take a big picture 10-step approach is outlined here, its a little dated but they give you a lot of sources to help educate yourself. You get the idea. Again not to endorse, but in Vol 1 we pointed you in the direction of Usource who can function as a fuel or power buyer for you, as well as a whole list of energy services like load shifting and self generation. Freedom Energy Logistics is an independent New Hampshire based company that has extensive experience in putting a company on track to save money on energy use and purchasing. I’m not saying you can’t get there on your own, with the right in-house people you can. However, most companies run lean enough that the people they already employ can’t carve out the time to do these things, as well as their regular jobs. The professionals in this field have the resources and experience to move you along quickly, and again as noted in Vol 1, time is of the essence to negate those rising electrical demand charges.
In a later Volume we ask you the question: How much do I really care about my energy costs? If your answer is “a lot”, then go ahead and see what you can do about. What makes for good business on both a technical level and on a financial level? If energy costs significantly impact your bottom line, then with other like matters, get aggressive and protect yourself …….you really can’t afford to wait for someone else to do it for you! If your answer is “not much”, as it would probably be for lots of non-manufacturing businesses, making a good lighting retrofit or boiler replacement might still be a good fit ….. keeping with the life cycle of those existing building components. If they are less than five years old and work well, don’t give it a thought. If they are more than 10 years old and have had some performance or maintenance issues, they are worth evaluating to see what the payback would be to upgrade to new technology now. Likewise, if they are 20 years and older, time to take a good hard look at what you and what you should do for replacements. Whatever you already have won’t last forever, so its not a matter of “if”, its a matter of “when” some things will have to be changed out.
For example, we operate a 15,000 sf office building built in 1998, soon to be coming up on 20 years old. When it was built, it was ahead of where the codes would have dictated, as it relates to energy use. Having said that, we have some replacements scheduled for 2018-2019 …… many of which relate to electronic control systems (HVAC and lighting) caused by technology obsolescence rather than just efficiency. Hopefully, there will also be some energy efficiency gained at the same time. However, our outdoor parking lot lighting is already prime for changing over to LED fixtures. In today’s buildings, anything operating with the equivalent of its own computer is subject to obsolescence due to continuous hardware and software changes in the industry. At the end of the day, our total annual costs for fuel and electricity are less than 1% of our total cost of operations, which is dominated by the cost of our people and not our physical plant. Its hard to get business owners fired up about energy use if it is a small part of their annual budget.
USOURCE – “For more and more companies, a comprehensive energy strategy includes renewable energy options. Renewables help companies operate more sustainably and save money by using energy more efficiently. “
Freedom Energy Logistics – “Freedom Energy Logistics has the knowledge, experience and focus to intelligently and proactively manage your energy purchasing. “