With fossil fuel supplies dwindling, concerns for energy supply security on the increase, and the impact of greenhouse gases on the climate rising, more focus is being placed on finding solutions to reduce loads, increase efficiency, and utilize renewable fuel resources in various facilities. The optimization of energy consumption has become a major focus for utilities, businesses and households alike.
Efficient Design and Building
Role-players in the construction and building design sectors are turning their attention towards making building more energy efficient and are implementing a comprehensive, integrated perspective which, according to the Whole Building Design Guide (WBDG), aims to :
- Decrease heating, cooling, and lighting loads using climate-responsive design and conservation
- Utilize renewable energy sources such as day lighting, passive solar heating, photovoltaics, geothermal, and groundwater cooling
- Specify efficient HVAC and lighting systems that consider part-load conditions and utility interface requirements
- Optimize the building’s performance by establishing energy modeling programs and optimize system control strategies by using occupancy sensors, sensors and other air quality alarms
- Monitor project performance through a policy of commissioning, metering, annual reporting, and periodic re-commissioning.
A management issue
The appropriate use of energy and proper management thereof are the first steps to true energy savings. According to ISO Secretary-General Rob Steele, energy is no longer just a technical issue, but a management issue which impacts the bottom line. Joe Imfeld, Deputy General Manager of Landis+Gyr, efficient management told Engerati that energy management of an industrial plant is essential if it is to run efficiently and in a cost-effective manner. He says that programs like the ISO 50001 energy management standard supports organizations in all sectors to use energy more efficiently through the development of energy management systems. Recent statistics show that about 100 organizations in 26 countries have already achieved standard certification, and are seeing the benefits in increased energy efficiency, reduced costs and improved energy performance.
ISO 50001:2011 provides a framework of requirements for organizations to:
- Develop a policy for more efficient use of energy
- Fix targets and objectives to meet the policy
- Use data to better understand and make decisions about energy use
- Measure the results
- Review how well the policy works, and
- Continually improve energy management.
Mr Imfeld believes that smart metering will eventually complement this energy management standard. He explains that in time, home energy optimization will also begin to develop and various solutions for the household will be introduced to the market. The success of this relies on factors such as the price of energy-the more it escalates, the more attractive the energy-saving solutions will become. He says it also depends on the involvement of prosumers in smart grid optimization and the cost viability of the solutions. Mr Imfeld says that as the market matures, it will become easier to integrate prosumers at a lower cost. He explains that the large prosumers will be targeted first, and then the smaller prosumer. Mr Imfeld also points out that it will take time to get everyone using the same technology.
Current global energy consumption cannot be sustained over time, either economically or environmentally. It is therefore necessary to understand and put in to place more efficient energy systems, by establishing sustainable management and energy savings plans.
Without efficient energy management, energy saving equipment will be rendered useless.