Originally posted on 2018
Energy management… where to start?
The situation is that you join a new company and you have to understand the process soon and get energy savings. But before this you have to execute some important steps in order to succeed. There is many to be done but don’t get anxious, I will try to guide you. Where to start?
Familiarize with the organization.
You have to familiarize yourself with the organization that you just met. With the different departments and with the people who integrate it. You will need an organization chart as a reference document. You must know how it works and identify the different departments on it and their interfaces with energy. But you will also need to know where the information is located and who makes the technical decisions.
Energy is a question of many not of only one person.
The task of energy efficiency is not a single person’s task. It should always be a team of people who work together. Is negative for an organization that a single person is the one who got the savings, because it would affect the work of the rest of the company. Therefore, it would be seen as an intruder in the work of others, and would get resistance from people when it comes to implementing their studies and projects. Better to work in coordination with the rest of the departments so as not to affect any critical parameter of the organization.
Maybe organization structure needs to be modified.
To do this, propose changes to the organization in its structure that allow time and resources to be devoted to the task of energy efficiency. But to this question I will devote another post in future.
Familiarize with energy data.
In addition to the structure, it is also essential that you become familiar with the energy data. Know what is the order of magnitude of the global and partials consumption. Pay also attention to frequent consistency checks.
Check the energy bills.
For example, it is good that you have all the energy bills where the consumption data appear, in a certain time frame. Study a whole year of consumption as a standard. Once you have the data, for example, divide it by months. Check to see how is the consumption, if it is seasonal, or is affected by changes in production. You must understand what are the main causes of consumption, whether it is production, buildings, laboratory tests, etc.
Search interfaces with energy in the organization processes.
If there are several supply points that feed different areas of the productive process, it is very interesting to divide the consumption in those areas and make a separate analysis. If one of these areas is production, it is essential to try to generate specific energy indicators that take production into account. Usually kilowatts are divided by kilos or tons, or cubic meters, depending on the final product unit.
Internal data collection system.
Another source of data apart from the invoices is the organization’s own internal data collection system. The greater degree of coverage, that is, the ratio between the internally measured energy and the real energy, the one that comes from the bills, the greater. The greater degree of separation, between different areas within the organization, the better. If one of the areas is production, it is essential to try to design specific energy indicators.
Divide and conquer.
It is also very important that if the productive process is divided into distinct and recognizable phases, specific indicators are calculated for each of these areas. It may happen that you have to change the material unit depending on the phase. For example, for melting area I would use melting tonnes as material unit. But in finishing area I but use final dried product tonnes.
Another issue that you can face is interchangeable energies. For example, if your company is melting with gas and with electricity. In these cases you have to find a ratio between then so that you really can compare apples with apples.
Make data health checks.
Convert all the energy data into specific indicators, then it is easier to carry out checks. Determine means and compare them against the individual data to see possible errors. You can identify easily errors diluted in absolute indicators (kwh) when you convert them into specific indicators (kwh/ton).