Photo courtesy of Gridium

Tasty electricity savings can result from shifts in process loads. Gridium Snapmeter helps customers understand when process load is operating and if alternate scheduling could save money.

We’ve recently heard an operations manager compare analyzing process loads to monitoring a piping network for water leaks. This makes sense, since one of the fundamental questions between the two activities is the same. Did we have water leaks last night? Is my process load “leaking” with excess energy?

process loads peaks

Snapmeter shows process load. In the example here, the meter is on a demand rate, with variable equipment. Longer run times at lower power would dramatically lower energy costs.

Certainly managing process loads is a different animal altogether from widening deadbands in human occupied space, but proactive facility and plant managers are finding creative–and, in some cases, tasty–ways to optimize operations. Think shifting phases of the beer brewing process to off-peak hours, or ramping up and then down the scheduling of water pumps or sausage maker machines to curtail peak demand charges. In the example above, Snapmeter is showing that this machine is doing a couple of funky things:

  • Setting a 90 kW peak, instead of a 40 kW peak. The over expectation use is colored in orange. On PG&E’s E-19 tariff, demand charges are $41 per kW!
  • On Friday night leading into Saturday morning, the machine is aggressively cycling from baseload to peaks around 66 kW.

The California Energy Commission has dedicated resources to help find energy efficiency savings across process loads, including case studies on smart irrigation scheduling. Sometimes the best place to start is looking for “energy leaks”, and optimizing schedules and speeds accordingly.

About Millen Paschich

Millen has been thinking about the built environment since he was four, when he started with site walks on residential construction projects. He began his career at Cambridge Associates and has an MBA from UCLA. Talk to him about bicycling, buildings, businesses, and green chile burritos!

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