Monthly Archives: July 2012

How can facilities manage peak demand charges?

When I started working with SIS, one of the first things I learned about was peak demand pricing and the impact it has on a manufacturing facility’s utility bills.  These rates are levied differently by different utilities in disparate parts of the country, but the underlying methodology is still the same.  A peak demand period is retroactively determined every month and any power consumed during this window is billed at a much higher amount than the normal rate.  The critical component of this concept for facility managers is contained in that word retroactively.  At the time of the peak hour, neither the utility nor the facility has any idea it is going on.  Only after the data is reviewed at the end of the month can the peak time period be determined.

Obviously, the nature of this situation does not allow a manager to effectively prepare for the increased cost, and potentially adjust operations accordingly.  I recently read a series of articles on Facilitiesnet about the concept of demand response, and how managers are attempting to proactively prepare facility operations in anticipation of a demand response call from their local facility providers.

Organizations are not just looking at demand response as a way to contain costs, but also as a part of their larger sustainability plans.  Typically, that requires an organization to understand its load profiles.  “Loads occurring at peak times can be shifted, and soon facility managers can do this without considering demand response calls,” says Lindsay Audin, president of Energywiz, Inc.

In an effort to help facilities schedule these load shifting periods, SIS has developed the capability to notify managers days in advance of a potential peak event through the website coincidentPEAK.  Warnings can be issued as many as 10 days in advance, with confirmations provided 3 days prior to a potential peak demand episode.  An electric utility load management program typically provides little more than a 15 minute warning.

With advanced notification provided by SIS, a manufacturer can effectively plan a production schedule so that operations are not interrupted, and utility costs are significantly reduced at the same time.  A pilot program implemented with a foam insulation manufacturer has trimmed nearly $45,000 from that company’s electric bill in the past 4 months.  Imagine what an effective load management program can do for your company!

Water Use = Energy

We recently saw this image from GE ecomagination and thought about what the numbers might look like when you applied this metric to process water used in manufacturing.

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All we have to do is benchmark?

Yep…just knowing how your facility’s baseline stacks up against others can save you up to 5% without investing one dime.   At SIS we’ve seen the power of exposing data to associates working in a factory…by just seeing that their factory still carried an electrical load of 200kW, even at shutdown, they were able to shed another 100kW by just paying a little more attention to systems that needed to be shut off.

There is a great piece in a recent Greentech Media blog that highlights a recent report from our friends at Richard Branson’s Carbon War Room.  Check out the report and check out these quotes from the blog about the energy efficiency market…

The market is expected to reach more than $100 billion by 2017, more than a 50 percent increase from today, according to Pike Research. A study by IMT found that a national benchmarking and disclosure policy could reduce energy costs by approximately $18 billion by 2020.

Energy efficiency is smart business and a good investment…

IMT estimates that benchmarking could generate more than $7.8 billion in private investment in energy efficiency through 2020, yielding up to $3 in savings for every dollar invested.

While SIS firmly believes that most of our sustainability goals can be met with existing technology, under existing regulations it is always good to see local governments take energy efficiency seriously by mandating energy benchmarking…sort of like getting your car regularly inspected to maintain your license plate reregistration.

Philadelphia recently joined a growing list of states and cities to mandate energy benchmarking and disclosure for commercial buildings over 50,000 square feet.


Let’s hope this timeline is conservative!


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