16 Technical projects

Technical projects

Today I will talk about the fifth and latest tool of the energy program which I proposed. Another source of energy projects are generic technical projects. I mean those that are generated not only for energy efficiency purposes. They may be due to a new remodeling or a new installation that gives a technical service to the organization or to the process. Some examples are:

  • Heating.
  • Cooling.
  • Process’ activities.
  • Ventilation.
  • Lightning.

Usually these projects arise from the engineering department. In some cases it is the production department that has the resources to execute them.

Lightning project
Lightning project


But many projects have an influence on energy consumption that has to be quantified technically and economically. And here is where the energy manager plays a key role.

It is very common for project managers to focus more on installation costs and to forget operating costs. But all phases of the project have to be considered, the total life cycle cost and not only investment costs.

Cooling tower
Cooling tower


Once the energy impact has been evaluated with respect to the target of the project, it may be necessary to adapt it to the energy policy or to discard it when it does not meet with it.

One way to minimize the repercussion is by means of regulations which affect energy and are transposed into the energy policy and its tools. The energy manager is in charge of regulatory compliance in this area and that the final solution is efficient. He has more information than the project manager, of a wider scope. He or she knows the global consumption of the company and the energy mix. He is also aware of the strategy and tactic planed by the company in the energy policy.

Industrial process
Industrial process

So, the technology chosen in the project impacts in these time slots. Lack of coordination and adaptation may negatively strike in the medium or long term. Regulatory changes (energy, emissions, taxes, etc.) have to be known to update the energy management system and adjust the projects must be taken into account. A global approach, holistic, is essential.

In addition, the project may involve financial aspects that have to be considered and lessened. Once the economic impact has been determined, the financial department of the company must be informed so that it approves and provides the concerned amount at the right time. An additional feature to evaluate and communicate are the changes in the tax structure.

Industrial gases cleaning
Industrial gases cleaning

To monitor that any project of the organization is coordinated from the energy point of view the company must be equipped with control elements (procedures, instructions or checklists). Thus, as soon as the need for a project is detected, the control element will trigger the integration with the energy department. For example, by means of a project management committee with a checklist that reflects the influence area of the project. This activates the coordination between departments, in such a way that the final solution fulfills all the criteria (strategic, tactical) of the organization. As a second step control tool, a negotiation table, which classifies the project is very useful.

Follow-up meetings should be held from the initiation phase of the project until its closing. Among the phases of project life-cycle, the most important one is initiation(1). It establishes the technical and economic criteria that the project must achieve. Once the project is implemented, the energy outcome must be measured and documented. This documentation can be part of the internal energy management system.

(1) I am using the methodology of the PMI® , though any other project management method is valid.


Leave a Reply