Energy audit findings

Energy audit findings – the photograph above is a section of a damaged coil from an air conditioning unit. It is obviously a badly damaged, the aluminium fins have been stripped away, revealing the structure of the refrigeration tubing beneath, absolutely necessary for coolant-to-air heat exchange. However, since the air conditioning is still “technically working” it seems no repair is deemed necessary to restore the lost heat exchange area, and lost efficiency.

Specification Note: Actually this is a common problem, and easy to avoid – insist upon a heavy gauge, say 25mm x 25mm GI mesh over the exposed coil area to provide mechanical protection. With a large open grid, the mesh would not impede the air flow. It will protect the delicate fins from unintended damage.

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Don’t forget to check your utility tariff

DON’T forget the electricity tariff – It is easy to overlook the painless cost savings achievable by simply choosing the correct Utility Tariff for your facility or building.  A tariff is the published rate for electricity charging, typically utilities offer different charging schemas for low, medium and high consumers.

Tariff Analysis is a scientific based approach, examining your the utility bills to identify the optimum tariff for you, that the tariff with the lowest cost.

Where the utility company permits summation metering, and the facility has more than one power meter, re-analyse using the totalled data – using all the meter readings, to check and identify if summation metering provides a beneficial tariff.

Remember that tariffs change frequently and without notice,  so its wise to ensure that you order a Tariff Analysis at least once per year.

Green building its cheaper than you think

The cost of green building is lower than traditional building. For example, design the building envelope with decent solar shading immediately (and forever) reduces the space cooling load, therefore the building needs a smaller chiller.

But that is only half the story, along with a smaller chiller, all the associated distribution equipment including the air handing units, air moving equipment, piping, cooling towers, circulating pumps, switchgear, and cables are also smaller, and less expensive. This is a critical point often overlooked using integrated design – minimise the load, drives the need for small equipment, it is not only cheaper, but uses less space.

There is good news from Good Energies that found evidence from 146 green buildings in USA that the additional cost for green building was only 2% not 17%.  However, whether or not these buildings used integrated design principles mentioned above was not reported.

Additionally there is still no cost category to account of the “soft” benefits of building green. How customers have you lost because you don’t have green building? People have already discounted your building (or your product) because it’s does not have a green label, and is not energy efficient, and I guarantee they didn’t stop by to tell you where you went wrong.

I believe, finally, the market is beginning to understand the future, oil and gas is finite resource will not last forever, and the energy position of operating costs are inevitably rising.

After your staff costs, energy represents the largest proportion of the operating budget for buildings. In Hong Kong buildings are voracious, consuming 86% of all the electricity generated, and 33% of all electricity generated is used to power air conditioning systems.

Let’s face it, incremental improvement is pointless, single digit savings will barely stave off inflationary pressures – Use the integrated principals to save your CAPex today and your OPex tomorrow.

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Top Ten Energy Conservation Tips

Top ten list of energy smart decisions:

1. If you can’t measure it, how can you manage it? Regularly monitor and record on your electricity consumption, plus other fuels such as gas and oil. Provide and monitor sub-meters to record different systems and sub-systems.  Also don’t forget that utility companies are not infallible – remember to check that your bills relate to the fuel that you actually used rather than an “estimated” meter reading.

Incidentally, the fact that BEAM rewards a credit for energy sub-metering is an indication of the importance of energy awareness.

2. Switch off lights in empty rooms – sounds like common-sense doesn’t it? Turning off lights in unoccupied rooms and corridors especially at the end of the day. This can save up to 10% of your energy bill. And yes that includes fluorescent lighting fittings.

3. Use energy efficient light fittings – they use 25% less power and last six times longer. Switching to the last technology today will save the cost of the investment long before the old lamps have expired – recoup the savings today.

4. Use the light you need. Bright corridors? delamp (remove) or switch off alternate lighting fittings.

5. Use daylight it’s free, so regularly clean your windows.

6. Clean light fittings regularly – Dirt reduces lighting levels, encouraging people to switch on more lights.

7. Too cold, set the room thermostat at comfort levels say 24°.  Air conditioning consumes forty percent (40%) of buildings energy. For example, every 1° decrease in room temperature, the energy cost increases by approximately eight percent (8%) .

8. If humidity and condensation is not a risk, don’t pay for cooling unused space e.g. empty offices, storerooms, corridors, etc. turn off the air conditioning.

9. Check that your thermostats are property sited, out of draughts and away from cold or hot spots. Consider installing remote sensing or wireless. Bonus tip – horrified, I saw a the air conditioning thermostat installed next the hand dryer – please don’t.

10. Keep equipment such as air conditioners and filters clean. Dirt reduces efficiency and lowers output.

Bonus Tip

Top eleven tips just didn’t sound right, so here is a bonus tip, it is so critical that I can’t possibly leave it out – Lead by example.

If management and senior managers are “seen” to ignore the new corporate energy measures, I guarantee that your efforts will fail. It is human nature, people follow visual cues for seventy five percent (75%) of their information – we watch and learn. Actively demonstrating energy conservation will do more to promote energy conservation campaign within your organisation or business than a memo will ever achieve. Plan to ensure that your employees see your energy strategy.

Out of Service

Three vending machines all using energy, a closer look reveals the unit in the middle is out of service, see the photo below.  Didn’t anyone think about turning off the electricity completely? As you can see some of the lamps are still on, still burning electricity.

Powering an appliance that can’t or does not serve its intended purpose is an egregious waste of energy.

The lights are ON but nobody is home

I recently conducted an energy audit of a building discovering an entire floor of unoccupied plant rooms with the lights in every room switched “ON”.

The photograph below, is typical, yet another unoccupied plant room with the lights burning fuel late into the night.

Is it safe to assume there is a disconnect here? Actually, it is a common problem. The firms which are employed to operate our buildings don’t actually pay the energy bill every month, so there is no financial or other incentive to switch off unnecessary lighting fittings.

We know penalties don’t work, a system of positive incentives are needed here.

Energy Efficiency As A Global Concern

31 October 2008 – I was honoured to be invited by HKTDC to give a speech at the 2008 ECO ASIA EXPO regarding Energy Efficiency. Special thanks for HKDTC’s Mr Matthew Ip for his gracious introduction.

Here are some more photographs from the venue.

Sadly, especially considering this was an environmenal exhitbition, each of the exhibition booths had several spotlights with 100 watt incandescent lamps – hardly a shining example of efficiency for the exhibitors and delegates.

Whole System Thinking

Changing the world is difficult, to change custom and practice is one tiny step on the journey.  One of the primary reasons for poor building performance happens early in the design process and often before the engineers are consulted.

The Old Way
At the earliest stages of the process, at the critical juncture whilst conceptual ideas are still being formulated, a proposed scheme is presented sold to the owner or developer, before the engineers have any say. Unfortunately, once that scheme has received the official blessing, the fate of the of the buildings operating costs is virtually sealed.

Change is good but not in building development,  the designer and team had already lived with the plan for a few weeks, they are invested in it success.  Any subsequent “change” that could potentially undo that work, and perhaps might require the designer to modify the the layout or the facade is typically rejected. The designer moves on, there is a firm scheme, then other consultants are summoned to join his project team. It does not happen in every case, but that is a fairly typical MO.

Another Way
There is another way, a more productive way WST (Whole System Thinking) is an integrated approach to engineering design that challenges past assumptions made everyday. If evidence is needed here is a link to a cost Summary Sheet (1 page PDF format) incidentally is protected document, the password is kelcroft.

Using the WST principal this heat rejection solution provides the same capacity with less CAPex investment, and provides a lower OPex for the lifetime of the equipment. Yes, it did require more engineering effort than the typical methodology, because the system needed to be properly designed. The WST approach exceeds incremental 2-3% savings, delivering more than 30% reduction in first cost compared to the typical design.

If concepts designs are locked down early, the opportunity for WST is lost along with the chance of lower operating costs and reduced carbon consumption.

Putting this in to a future context, it has been estimated that urbanisaton will continue to expand in China increasing the number of city dwellers upto 0.9 billion in 2025, building sustainably is the only solution.

John Herbert, Consultant, Kelcroft

HAESCO Energy Efficiency Event

As executive director of HAESCO I was honoured to present at our seminar held last September 2008 (refer photo above). The event was without doubt an overwhelming success with more 250 delegates from the energy sector and industry attending.  EMSD Deputy Director Mr Alfred Sit also honoured the occasion with a keynote address.

I will not bore you by repeating my presentation here, in essence the basic idea is really simple – mandatory energy labelling for buildings, to help create a market, an enviroment where “energy” is a visible building metric for every potential owner, and tenant.

Building Energy Efficiency Book

energy efficiency book kelcroft

I was one of the many experts that contributed to the book titled Building Energy Efficiency – Why Green Buildings Are Key to Asia’s Future published by the Asia Business Council. This book covers energy issues and building energy codes in different Asian countries – worth reading. I understand a Chinese language version will be launched in the near future (end of 2008).

Its key point, learn from history and avoid repeating past mistakes. The PDF version is available FREE to download visit this page

Who is designing your Green building?

kelcroft, john herbert, green building

I attended the Enviroseries 08 conference, the topic was energy efficiency. What has become increasing transparent is that the business as usual approach to buildings, and green building is just not working.

For green buildings who designs them?  It seems clear to me that when the overriding consideration is the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership)  that is the on-going fuel and energy costs for the life of a building (claims of upto 70% of the cost are often cited) outweigh other considerations in terms of sustainability. So the question must be asked why are architects leading?

An architect can’t calculate the primary metric KWH/sqm/PA, the cooling and heating loads for a particular aspect, zone or elevation, and the architect can’t tell you the right glazing balancing the cost of solar reflection and creating a perimeter day lighting zone, or the water impact, etc. etc. the list is long an tedious – so you have to ask the question where is the value? Notwithstanding companies like RENEW ENERGY, which manufacture the best solar equipment, the above questions would still stay germane, as that only partly slices off a sliver of the problem.

green building, kelcroft, john herbert

Conference Brochure

it seems clear that Building developers are asking the wrong people to create green buildings, the architect is the middle man, needing the advice from a legion of E&M engineers. It’s the E&M engineers that do the heavy lifting, calculating the energy metrics of building envelope, assessing the operating cost, modelling energy savings for a green roof or cool roof, not the architect. Its the engineers that need to specify the performance of the building materials if energy costs are to be controlled.

Buildings in Hong Kong and elsewhere designed under the old method with a lead architect, those buildings consume 86% of all the electricity generated – business as usual?

The lion share of the future energy and ownership costs of building is too often determined by an architect, and that needs to change if our goal of lowering GHG emissions is to be met.

Energy Efficiency Presentation by John Herbert

I was honoured to give an energy efficiency presentation to Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) committee regarding energy efficiency opportunities for Hong Kong business, lower business operating costs and improve profits.

Energy Efficiency

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: p2e2 efficiency)

Energy Efficiency – A New Journal

It was only a matter of time. I have been saying that there was no printed magazine focused on the latest hot topic EE (energy efficiency).  Well finally a new energy efficiency journal has been launched here is the link initially at least the magazine will be available online FREE!

The real challege for any publication in this sector is that “energy efficiency”  is more like a road trip than a goal in itself.

Lets say you are a property manager, details of cement plant improvements are likely to be of little interest to you and vice versa.  As a topic EE covers almost every sector a difficult task for a single publication.

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