Optimizing New Loads & Operations
As many businesses across the country return to their workplaces, our team is here to prepare you and your building. Both ASHRAE and the CDC have given many great recommendations on how to clean and maintain your buildings. However, many of these recommendations are costly and could skyrocket energy costs. Our team at E3M Solutions is here to help you keep your facility & people safe as well as energy efficient.
While everyone is excited about returning to normal life and resuming day to day operations, the unfortunate reality of continued social distancing will require strategic phasing of the workforce re-engagement. Whether it’s running more shifts at a lower capacity or creating split schedule offices hours, these changes will change operations and load scheduling significantly. Being one step ahead of these changes can ensure you aren’t stuck with a large utility bill when the end of the month comes. If you haven’t read part one on reevaluating HVAC or part two on address potential pitfalls as you reopen, make sure to check those out.
If you are running new office hours and schedules, be aware of the following:
Many businesses are running half shifts, shortened schedules, or altering hourly shifts to reduce the amount of foot traffic. These alterations mean your HVAC and lighting schedules should be altered. Extending heating and cooling schedules to ensure employee comfort during a newly created second shift. As some businesses are returning their people back by department, by mindful of the departments left unoccupied so energy is not wasted in those areas. Limiting your building’s scheduled hours is an easy way to reduce energy costs and keep employees safe. If you’re unable to do this, consider other solutions to keep your energy costs low.
If your operations are running double time to make up for lost production, consider this:
All recommendations and guidelines set forth by ASHRAE & CDC as well as local government protocols are meant for constant evaluation. Just as you would with weather changes and adapting to the changing weather climate, your HVAC will need constant evaluation and changes to adapt to your building’s health for your people.
Regardless of your situation, be sure to bring systems back online in phases.
Large energy systems such as HVAC with compressors, pumps, or fans, conveyor equipment, production equipment, older lighting systems, etc, require a large in-rush current to ramp up to operating speed which can be taxing on an electric distribution system. This can fully load motors for periods of time, creating a power draw much higher than regular operations.
Take a look at your electric bill – if you are on a rate structure that involves a component for current, billing, or historical demand, you are being charged for this spike in start-up power draw. In some cases, the utility can apply a “ratchet” clause on your instantaneous demand charge, meaning the utility will charge you a minimum amount, usually a percentage of your peak demand, for the next 12 months!
The ramifications of just “flipping the switch” when re-entering a facility can be quite large. We suggest staggering the start-up of big equipment by 3 to 15 minutes depending on equipment and utility demand monitoring.
Finally, use downtime to optimize your energy savings measures.
Companies across the country are reducing their capital spending. However, now more than ever might be the best time to implement energy saving measures, such as installing LED lighting or installing VFD’s. Many companies have been unable to install new measures due to the opportunity cost of shutting down a production line. If your capacity is limited, now might be a great time to implement energy saving measures to ensure long-term savings.
With this in mind, you’ll be able to make more educated decisions on what changes are best for your building. Join us for the part four finale, coming later this week, planning for the future. With new information coming daily, we’ll show you how to stay proactive and up-to-date.
We’re excited to help guide you through your journey of bringing your building back online! If you have any questions or need help starting, give us a call! Our team is available for site visits, engineering & energy consulting, and assessments as you work to bring your space back online. We are taking all the necessary precautions to keep your team and our team healthy during this time.