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.
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”.
Holmes: If we could single out the most important thing that we have learned during the past year while researching and writing our Blogs, it has to be the total failure of the Energy “Profession” to keep pace with the times. By placing self-serving interests above those of Facility Owners and Managers, our “Profession” is continuing to enrich themselves by teaching and performing Energy Audits while claiming that they are the most essential step in every energy project.
Watson: I was taught in engineering school that all valid science must be based on accurate data. But somehow the so-called “Energy Profession” has survived for 40 years based on almost no actual data at all. Doesn’t sound like a true science-based “Profession” to me!
Holmes: The assumption that the best tool our “Profession” can offer is the Energy Audit, is ridiculous. The Energy Audit was developed on the heels of the Energy Crisis of the mid-70s just as personal computers and the Information Age were in their infancy. As far as we have been able to determine, there has never been a single scientific study that verifies the accuracy of Energy Audits. In fact, the ones we have seen have shown the opposite, the variability and inaccuracy of their findings. Read our Blog “Energy Audits are a Flawed Concept”.
Yet years into the Information Age, instead of embracing and requiring the use of all of the new tools being developed on a daily basis, this “Profession” is continuing to use the same methods that I was taught in the mid-1970’s; methods that should have been abandoned years ago for their total failure to meet even the most basic requirements of valid science and engineering.
Watson: How many other scientific or engineering “Professions” can you think of that are still providing the same training that they were 40 years ago and have failed to embrace the use of Information Technology?
Holmes: While continuing to insist that Energy Audits and Benchmarking are the most effective tools available, our “Profession” has convinced Utility Companies, DOE, EPA, and a growing number of States and Cities to mandate these obsolete and ineffective methods, wasting billions of dollars. Required Certification programs are expensive and continue to teach outdated methods instead of requiring valid, monitored data from permanent information systems.
And don’t forget that the final objective of Energy Audits and Benchmarking is to identify “Capital Projects” which result in the purchase of new equipment much of which, in our experience isn’t needed and couldn’t be justified using actual monitored data and valid analytical methods.
Watson: I thought that starting into our second year would be a good time to reflect on how well we accomplished our original objectives in 2014 and set new ones for 2015.
Holmes: I agree. When we started we said that the main objectives of the Blog were to:
- Emphasize the use of fundamental scientific methods based on the use of actual monitored data.
- Educate and teach others in the profession the basic principles and methods of good energy management, resource conservation and efficiency.
- Pass along some of my 40+ years of experience in practical ways.
Watson: I think we have done a good job and apparently so do others as our readership has been steadily increasing. I think the best way to look at the past year is by re-visiting some of the most popular blogs that focused on several key topics including:
The Energy “Profession”
Comparing Other Professions with the Energy “Profession”
Watson: Thus far there has been little recognition of the tremendous opportunity for using the information from Permanent Instrumentation to create huge savings with better management alone; one that allows owners to begin saving energy and money from the first day.
Holmes: Our objectives below for 2015 have changed very little from those of a year ago. We plan to continue to do everything we can to help the Energy “Profession” move from the Estimation Age into the 21st Century, the Information Age by promoting the need for:
- Applying fundamental scientific methods based on the use of actual monitored data and sophisticated Analytical Techniques required to make “Big Data” relevant.
- Modernization; to stop teaching and using Energy Auditing, Benchmarking and other obsolete, ineffective and self-serving techniques that haven’t changed in 40 years.
- Increased, practical and effective Energy Education that combines both Theory with Actual Real World Experience.
Contact Bill: email@example.com
Watson: Holmes, your entire career has been spent tuning up existing energy systems in existing buildings. You have been able to consistently produce savings of 10%, 20% and more without Energy Audits, without Benchmarking and without Capital Improvements. Paybacks on the initial investment in the permanent instrumentation required to produce these savings have been weeks or months.
What’s your secret? What problems have you found? What actions have been taken to correct them? How can others do the same in their facilities?
Holmes: As we have discussed in many of our blogs, the best opportunities with the fastest paybacks always come from no-cost, low-cost changes that match the operation of the energy systems to the energy requirements of the facility.
Improving the part-load efficiency of energy systems is the second biggest opportunity in all complex facilities. We always monitor the efficiency of energy use for all major systems. The common approach of installing sub-metering to measure only how much energy a piece of equipment is using misses this huge opportunity.
Watson: I have been thinking about Resolutions for 2015 Holmes. Since Sustainability is playing a bigger role every year with responsible companies, I thought maybe we could help them set their goals for the New Year.
Holmes: Great idea Watson. What have you come up with?
Watson: You know me Holmes. The first thing I always do is research to see what I can learn from others. I found that 3M’s Sustainability Goals for 2015 include the following: Read the Article
- Reduce Volatile Air Emissions 15% by 2015 from 2010 base year …
- Reduce Waste 10% by 2015 from 2010 base year …
- Improve Energy Efficiency 25% by 2015 from 2005 base year …
- Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions 5% by 2011 from 2006 base year …
- Develop Water Conservation Plans When 3M is located in water scarce and stressed areas
Holmes: Setting Goals is certainly important, but what really matters is achieving those goals. We have been implementing successful “Energy Conservation” projects for more than 35 years so we know what works and what doesn’t.
While most in the Energy Profession are and have always been focused on Energy Audits leading to Capital Projects, we have concentrated on improving the Energy Efficiency of existing energy systems in existing facilities and reducing the amount and cost of electricity, gas, water and all other utilities. A side benefit that wasn’t talked about in our early years has always been reducing emissions including Greenhouse Gases.
Watson: And for most of those years, you have been teaching, making presentations and writing papers trying to share our methods with others. Can you summarize the most important “How-to” steps for those new to the Sustainability field?
Holmes: Using actual data from a Permanent Energy Monitoring System and applying valid scientific problem-solving techniques can result in savings of 20%-30% and more with existing systems in existing buildings. No Capital Projects are required and the payback on the Energy Monitoring System is normally in weeks or months.
Watson: As you have always said Holmes, those are things we learned our freshman year in engineering school coupled with a large dose of common sense.
Holmes: I did some of my own research and found a great article that I think clearly explains a common sense approach that will help people achieve their Sustainability Goals for 2015. The article is titled “Reduce Water Consumption in Industry” and can be found on the Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management Website. Read the Article
The article says that a small modification in existing equipment can result in substantial water savings. It includes:
- Appoint a person in charge of coordinating the Water reduction process.
- Read Water and sewer bills to determine how much Water is currently used and to identify peaks.
- Install monitoring or sub-metering systems to:
- Determine Water use by location or equipment.
- Alert operators when excessive Water flows or reduced pressures breach normal ranges.
- Locate leaks wherever Water consumption rises above the base level – increased usage that cannot be associated with increased production activities.
- Calculate average Water use by department or process.
- Rank processes/departments by Water use to determine where to focus conservation goals.
- Survey plant operations to determine areas where Water is wasted or could be reused.
- Develop Water reduction goals.
- Add timers and/or pedals to assure Water is used sparingly and efficiently.
- Adjust Water flows to the minimum required to maintain performance.
Watson: Simple and straightforward; common sense. Just add the word “Energy” and the following result is a very nice list of “How-to” achieve your Sustainability Goals in 2015.
- Appoint a person in charge of coordinating the Energy & Water reduction process.
- Read Energy & Water and sewer bills to determine how much Energy & Water is currently used and to identify peaks.
- Install monitoring or sub-metering systems to:
- Determine Energy & Water use by location or equipment.
- Alert operators when excessive Energy & Water flows or reduced pressures breach normal ranges.
- Locate leaks wherever Energy & Water consumption rises above the base level – increased usage that cannot be associated with increased production activities.
- Calculate average Energy & Water use by department or process.
- Rank processes/departments by Energy & Water use to determine where to focus conservation goals.
- Survey plant operations to determine areas where Energy & Water is wasted or could be reused.
- Develop Energy & Water reduction goals.
- Add timers and/or pedals to assure Energy & Water is used sparingly and efficiently.
- Adjust Energy & Water flows to the minimum required to maintain performance.
Remember, a small modification in existing equipment can result in substantial Energy & Water savings!