Operational Adjustments: The Quick and Easy Guide to Energy Efficiency

When it comes to improving your energy efficiency, you have two options: capital investment and operational adjustments.

Although capital investments often come with proven returns, they typically require a significant financial outlay that more often than not are not taken into account on annual budgets.

On the other hand, operational adjustments can provide significant savings via low- or no-cost changes to existing operations. And that’s what we will look at here.

Through data analytics and energy intelligence, low or no-cost energy efficiency matters can be implemented quickly and easily and provide noticeable and traceable improvements. These measures are:

  1. Peak Demand Management: You can’t determine peak demand using the monthly utility bill but with hourly interval data, peak demand profiles are easily discerned. Facilities managers can utilize an analytics platform to ensure critical peak demand loads do not coincide with discretionary loads that can be shifted to off-peak periods.

  2. Start-Up Synchronization: Peak demand can spike when multiple loads are turned on at the same time. By synchronizing the start up of equipment in a staged manner, a spike in demand and the subsequent energy charge can be avoided.

  3. Weekend Consumption: Many commercial and industrial facilities have regular shutdown periods (weekends, off shift periods, scheduled maintenance windows) that should result in substantial reductions in energy consumption. A data and analytics platform provides the energy intelligence required to determine if optimal savings are being achieved, and if not there’s something wrong.

  4. Weeknight Set Points: Analysis of off-shift periods is another area where savings are often achieved. For instance, shallow drops in energy demand during off-shift periods might indicate only a few pieces of equipment shutting down. Having access to historical demand data to create a relative performance benchmark allows the comparison of energy use over time to see how drift and variance might be wasting energy.

These measures will result in significant cost savings, and a data analytics platform will identify the anomalies and variance that provide evidence of failures before money is wasted. Business owners can make immediate improvements just by being aware of the areas to watch, and then analytics can provide the ongoing intelligence to maximize that efficiency.

Jonathan Caizley,
CTO and Cofounder

Something to think about...

This is a big part of why we do what we do at Sunistics. From holistic energy management to teaching young people and children about the importance of energy intelligence and sustainability, we want to support organizations that feel the same way that we do - and inspire the next generation to make a difference. 

Email us at jvodden@sunistics.com if you have interest in energy education for children and young people in your organization or community, or for energy management services to help reduce your environmental impact and demonstrate your community leadership. 

Solar power inspires greater energy and environmental awareness in Long Beach community

The principles of energy intelligence and environmental responsibility continue to grow in a Long Beach, California, community – and it’s a church at the heart of the movement.

More than 100 children, young people, staff and volunteers from Covenant Presbyterian Church, based in the downtown area of the city, participated in an event to learn more about energy and what can be done to reduce its use and impact on the environment.

The church, home to the Marguerite Kiefer Education Center’s (MKEC) Rising Tide program, provides educational services for children and young people in the area and plays a huge part in their lives. Pastors Rob and Adele Langworthy, who is also the executive director of MKEC, wanted to inspire greater energy and environmental awareness as part of their own commitment to energy management.

Members of the Sunistics team, including Chief Technology Officer Jonathan Caizley, which was engaged to analyze and improve the organization’s energy usage in light of spiraling costs, was on hand to provide an engaging class as part of celebrations around the installation of a solar system on the church’s roof.

“We want our children and young people to be aware of the implications of using electricity, where it comes from, and how we must be responsible for our relationship with it,” said Rob. “The solar power installation and additional energy management initiatives Sunistics has helped us to implement are evidence of our commitment to better energy and improved environmental conditions for our community, and we want to spread that message as far as we can.”

Of the event, Adele said, "The children responded favorably. Lights were being turned off when they left rooms as the day progressed and the computers were being turned off at the end of the day. It was a very good presentation and very informative. We had several adult volunteers who were here and came to the presentation, and they loved it!"

The classes and messages are part of an ongoing partnership between Sunistics and Covenant Presbyterian Church, designed to encourage the youth in the area to follow the church’s example of energy intelligence and environmental responsibility.  

"We've worked closely with Rob, Adele, and the team at Covenant Presbyterian Church for a while now and we are regularly inspired by the work they do and the impact it has on the community," said Jonathan. "Helping the next generation to learn about energy is part of our mission as a company and helps us to shape our future relationship with the environment together with those who share the same vision."

California ruling on net metering a major win for solar

Great news: The California Public Utilities Commission has voted that homeowners with solar power systems will be compensated at the retail rate for power their systems generate and feed back into the electrical grid. 

Utility companies had argued that solar customers should be paid a rate closer to wholesale price to compensate for the "burden" they placed on non-solar customers to pick up the tab left by homeowners who now generate their own power.

Of course, this is not the view of us in the solar industry (and frankly anyone without a vested interest in traditional utilities) as solar consumers relieve pressure on the aging grid infrastructure, minimize fossil-fueled power generation and water usage required in that process, and reduces the need to buy power at expensive peak times. Indeed, the ruling reflects that value and is a major win for renewable energy in California and the US.

“This decision creates certainty for consumers, it creates certainty for clean energy providers, it creates certainty for investors and it upholds California’s strong tradition of clean energy leadership," said Sara Baldwin Auck, regulatory director at the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, a nonprofit policy group that supports clean energy.

New customers will be required to pay an interconnection fee ($75-$150) and begin paying fees of a few cents per kilowatt-hour when utility limits are reached, estimated to be in 2017. Anyone installing a system in advance of those rooftop limits being reached will escape these fees, which will fund low-income and energy efficiency programs.

All in all, it's a positive step for solar and the energy landscape in general. Perhaps Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of the California Solar Energy Industries Association, said it best:

"It’s not just net-metering 2.0, it’s grid 2.0 that this decision essentially ushers in.”




Project: KHS Bicycles

KHS Bicycles wanted a solution to spiraling electricity bills at its global headquarters in Rancho Dominguez, California. 

The renowned designer, manufacturer, and distributor of mountain, road, and touring bicycles, as well as comfort tandems and cruisers, is known for its quality, value and integrity and wanted to bring that ethic to its electricity generation too. 

The solar installation and energy management program will save KHS more than $600,000 and reduce its carbon emissions by 1.3million pounds. 

Since its establishment in 1974, KHS has earned many awards and accolades including: the first Taiwan-made bicycle to use Reynolds tubing (1979), Sears Partner in Progress Award (1986), Mountain Biking Magazine's coveted "Bike of the Year Award" (1994), awarded the US patent for the Delta Linear Downtube design (1998), the world's first "softtail" comfort bicycles, and Taiwan's prestigious "Excellent Product" award for its softtail bicycles (200).

For more information on KHS Bicycles Inc., visit www.khsbicycles.com or call 310-632-7173

Save energy this Christmas with a few quick tips!

Electricity bills spike around this time of year for most of us. For those of us who work from offices or buildings that will be closed for the holiday, these few reminders will help keep costs low.

1. When everyone leaves the premises for the Christmas holidays, switch off all computers, photocopiers, printers and non-essential equipment at the plug socket. Leaving these items on standby means they could still be using up to 90% of their power. 

2. Turn off the lights on your desk, in the office, any display lights that don't need to be on. If you need them on at a certain time for security reasons, use a timer. According to the Carbon Trust, lighting the average office building overnight wastes enough energy to heat water for 1,000 cups of coffee!

3. Turn off any Christmas decorations that light up. They may look nice, but if you're not there to enjoy them there is no need to pay for them. This is also heavily recommended from a fire safety perspective. And also, if you do decorate with Christmas lights, consider using LED lights, which are energy efficient.

Happy Holidays!