The proper use of electrical energy within an industrial environment is important for several reasons. First and foremost, it will enable the customer to appreciate how much money is being spent within a certain period of time. These surveys are also able to provide valuable energy-saving techniques that can equate to reduced expenditures. There are also many safety issues which can be professionally examined through such a framework. In order to fully appreciate the advantages of an energy monitoring survey, we will first define this practice from a general point of view before examining the specific details in regards to some common metrics that are gauged.
Energy Monitoring Surveys Defined
From a very general perspective, an industrial energy monitoring survey is intended to ensure that existing power is being utilised in the most efficient ways possible. These surveys can also determine whether or not a specific company is adhering to the ISO 50001 EN Energy Management standards (if applicable). This is obviously critical from a compliance point of view. Many surveys will also include detailed analyses that are made available to the customer as well as the ways in which consumption can be reduced through the implementation of turnkey power-saving solutions. Lastly, it is important to point out that an energy monitoring survey is NOT the same as a power quality survey. The latter is more concerned with assessing voltage capacities as well as potential hazards within the workplace (such as equipment risks).
What Does an Energy Monitoring Survey Normally Include?
Once the company makes an appointment with a licensed firm, the on-site surveying process will begin. Most of these analyses will take only a day to complete although larger industrial complexes may require more thorough investigations. One important metric is the ability to measure the current energy uses and their proportional costs to the plant. This figure will then be compared to similar facilities in order to determine whether or not the most efficient approaches are being embraced.
Another important concern involves the ability for the monitoring company to determine the correct energy supply tariff that is applicable to the firm. As these rates are based around consumption, accurate analyses are essential in order to save the company additional funds that can then be reallocated into other core operations.
The most well-known action taken during a survey is an analysis of the energy efficiency of the building. There can be numerous metrics taken into account. A handful of variables could include (but may not be limited to):
- Thermal efficiency.
- Heating and insulation systems.
- The use of modern equipment such as boilers and HVAC units.
- The implementation of responsive thermostats and other “smart” energy devices.
Some of these such as the use of modern thermostats can be recommendations while others such as upgrading to a more efficient HVAC system may be mandatory depending upon the industrial environment in question.
There may also be times when the firm involved with the survey will recommend that an energy metering system (EMS) is installed on a permanent basis. Many modern meters are much more accurate when compared to past models and they are able to provide real-time information regarding consumption rates such as kilowatt-hours (kWh). This will offer extra insight which can then be used to further reduce consumption costs over time.
So, it is clear to see that a typical energy monitoring survey covers a number of discrete points. As mentioned previously, the exact parameters will depend upon the industry and the company in question. Regardless of the type of survey performed, they are all invaluable tools which will help to decrease overall energy consumption and save an industrial facility a great deal of money over time.