Read the Preface to Our Energy Monitoring Book

Holmes: Watson and I have taken time off from our Blog and have spent the last several months writing our Book on Energy Monitoring “Unleash the Power of Cloud-Based Energy Monitoring in Your Facility”. Watson: I’m the one who suggested that Holmes use the word “Unleash” in the title. You might have guessed that was one of my contributions, along with looking cute and adorable in the comics and coming up with clever sayings. Holmes: Back to the Book Watson. I’ve tried to pack my 37 years of installing Energy Monitoring Systems in all types of facilities into 90 pages.This book is written for the managers and the men and women who operate and maintain Energy Systems in complex facilities, Energy Professionals looking for a better way and those training for such careers. It will teach you step-by-step, how to select the points to monitor and the sensors, design and install the Energy Monitoring system, set up the software and reporting, and use it. Watson: I like the fact that it is not a typical dry and boring engineering book. It’s got plenty of examples and case summaries from your projects along with charts, schematics and pictures of me. I found it a pretty easy read. Holmes: The e-book will be released next week and is free! We will include details on how to download it in next week’s blog. Watson: To give you a preview, we have included the Preface below.  Read the Preface          ...

The Book is Done! Our Blog Will be Back in 2016

   Watson: Did you ever explain to my fans where we have been since last spring, Holmes? Holmes: I never did Watson. Don’t you remember that was one of the conditions when we entered the Witness Protection Program? Watson: Very funny Holmes. Actually, we’ve been hard at work writing our book, “How to Unleash the Power of Cloud-Based Energy Monitoring in Your Facility”. Read the Rest of the...

“Do You Realize What You Have? You Have a Money Machine.”

  Watson: How did you get the idea to contract with building owners to serve as their energy manager for a percentage of documented savings each month Holmes? Holmes: After working for an engineering firm for five years where each job was sold for a fixed price or a percent of construction costs, it was obvious to me that was not an appropriate way to structure energy conservation projects. Normally an energy audit was done for a fee to identify opportunities for savings and estimate costs. If an opportunity looked promising, a more detailed study was performed at a higher cost. The objective of the study was to identify capital projects. For instance, a study might determine that an owner could spend $100,000 to replace an old, inefficient boiler with a newer one with a higher efficiency. If the “estimated” savings were $15,000 a year – the simple payback on the investment would be six and two thirds years. There was normally no follow-up to confirm and document the actual savings. Watson: Why didn’t you think that approach was appropriate for energy projects? Holmes: After I started my own business, I was approached by a Mental Health Hospital looking for help in reducing their energy costs. They wanted me to give them a “bid” to do an Energy Audit. The objective of the project was supposed to be to reduce their utility costs. By bidding the process and taking the lowest bidder, they were limiting how much time a competent engineer could spend, which would most probably limit how much could be saved; it was a self-defeating process. Up to...

There’s A Ghost in the Chilled Water System

  Holmes: Did I ever tell you about finding a ghost in a chilled water system Watson? Watson: Come on Holmes. I may be a young pup and not as smart as some humans, but I know there is no such thing as a ghost. Holmes: Let me tell you what happened before you make up your mind. We were working in a shopping mall that took up a few city blocks in the middle of the downtown in a Midwestern city. The mall had a complex central plant with two centrifugal chillers, a large steam boiler, pumps, dual duct air handling units, a cooling tower, etc. Watson: I am assuming you installed a monitoring system and began to make changes to match the operation of the energy systems to the needs of the stores and common areas in the mall. Holmes: Right. The mall was open 7 days a weeks from 9 AM to 10 PM so the first thing we did was to insure that the energy systems only ran as required to maintain each of the spaces at the required temperatures when they were occupied. During much of the spring, early summer and fall, when the outdoor temperature and humidty were low, we used the fresh air intake dampers on the air handling units to bring in 100% outdoor air to cool the mall. This allowed the chillers to come on later, run at lower loads during the day and shut off earlier in the evening. The chilled water and tower water pumps were controlled to run when the chillers were on and be off when...

Case Study: Reducing Energy Costs by 35% in 20 Buildings with No Capital Projects

Watson: I noticed that you received an email this week from an engineer who had been looking at our clients list and project results on our website. He was specifically interested in knowing what we did to reduce the annual energy costs by 35% in a 20 building school system. How did you answer him Holmes? Holmes: I told him that the answer would be the same no matter which of our projects he was interested in. The first step was always to install instrumentation to monitor the main utility meters as well as the significant energy systems. The monitoring system was designed to track when, where and how efficiently the energy was being used. We didn’t do Energy Audits of any of the buildings. Estimating possible savings would have been a waste of our time and money. We were focused on producing actual savings as quickly as possible; our only fees were a percentage of documented savings each month. Installing the monitoring system as the first step allowed us proceed directly to our objective and begin to reduce the costs as soon as each point was activated. Plus, the monitoring system produced much more comprehensive and accurate data than the estimated data the Audit would have provided. It was measured data rather than estimated data. Watson: What did you find? Holmes: While traditionally many people focus on reducing space temperatures and other actions during occupancy, our data clearly showed that 75% of the energy costs for the entire school system were for periods when there were no students in class. The biggest single factor in reducing energy costs in every building was identifying and getting control of the...