Power TakeOff Blog

3 Reasons Your Building is ‘Out of Whack’

Building Variation – Every day your building changes. Period. The baseline and baseload energy usage of a building are dependent on external variables like temperature, cloud cover, and wind direction –  things that cannot be controlled. Internal, controllable variables also play a role, like objects that people bring into the building – space heaters, monitors, fans, anything that uses power. Over time the baseload of buildings tend to rise so it’s important to have a sense of what the optimal baseload is and strive to reach it. 2. Building Scheduling – Building scheduling needs to be adapted anytime building use, occupied hours, or occupancy changes. The heating and cooling schedule should ensure optimum temperature only when there are people present. If an override has been used for an unusual, or after hours event, be sure that it is set back after the event is over. 3. Peak Demand Management – For many organizations peak demand management is overlooked. By reducing the peak rate at which electricity is used during the 15 minute interval that the demand level is being set is an easy way to save a lot of money. Peak demand costs can often be 50% the cost of your energy bill, entirely based on one 15 minute period. If energy managers would be more aware of these peak intervals, they could turn off non-essential systems to reduce demand costs. If you would like to take better control of your demand charges, please contact us for a solution tailored to your...

Preventing Energy Savings From Eroding

Organizations spend lots of money upgrading systems, installing devices for scheduling, and capturing efficiencies that improvements in technology can provide. These are all fantastic investments, but without taking great care to ensure these systems stay optimized, the savings they provide can easily erode.

Occupancy Sensors – A persistant way to save

Have you ever wondered what percent of the time lights are left on in unoccupied rooms? A recent article by National Electronic Manufactures Association (NEMA) supports the business case for occupancy sensors. Their findings concluded that occupancy sensor set for 5 minutes could reduce lighting costs by 29% in Break Rooms, 50% in Conference Rooms, 28% in a Private Office, and 47% in Restrooms.

Does your business have an Energy Champion?

An ‘Energy Champion’ can be a very effective way of controlling energy costs in you business.  This Energy Champion is empowered with the authority to implement the processes and low cost upgrades needed to reduce energy usage. Often, this person may be intrinsically motivated either by the authority they have been given or a general desire to reduce environmental impacts. What are some examples of steps an Energy Champion can make? Install and/or adjust a programmable thermostat De-lamp areas that are excessively lit Co-ordinate the installation of motion sensors Perform an after-hour walk through to see what devices/equipment is left on unnecessarily Set electrical times on equipment that do not need to be on overnight such as vending machines, water coolers, mini-fridges (depending on what they are used for) Installing low flow faucets heads Continually learn and search for ways to decrease energy usage while also ensuring that historic changes continue to persist You may already have one or two people in mind that would be a good fit for the role. If there are multiple people, consider forming a committee that can work together to capitalize on these opportunities....

A Case Study

As the old adage says, “you can’t improve what you don’t measure.” The Organization: One county, within the state of Minnesota, has been working diligently over the last year to reduce utility costs throughout their municipal offices. By spending less on utilities, more tax payer dollars can be spent put to work providing services for the community. In order to better understand energy usage patterns and opportunities for conservation, the county enrolled 10 of its buildings in the Power TakeOff service. In the last 12 months since enrolling there have been huge gains in efficiency. In partnership with Power TakeOff, one location in particular has been able to avoid over 40% of its historical non-occupied hour electricity costs. The Opportunity: Many of the county’s government buildings could be classified as ‘historic’. One such example is the 1908 Government Center East. This 108 year old 9 story building was renovated in 1995. As all buildings can benefit from continual improvement to operations, the engineers and staff at the building determined, in part through the use of Power TakeOff software, that there were numerous low cost & no cost changes that could be implemented to save money on utility expenditures. The Challenge: The challenge in finding opportunities to reduce utility costs is knowing where to start. By setting a baseline of energy usage, using Power TakeOff’s software, the team was able to identify potential savings during non-occupied hours. The building should be empty outside of its 8-4:30 hours of operation, but the Power TakeOff software demonstrated that even thought the building was unoccupied, there was still high and varying levels of energy...