Passive EE is regarded as the installation of countermeasures against thermal losses, the use of low consumption equipment and so forth. Active Energy Efficiency is defined as effecting permanent change through measurement, monitoring and control of energy usage. It is vital, but insufficient, to make use of energy saving equipment and devices such as low energy lighting. Without proper control, these measures often merely militate against energy losses rather than make a real reduction in energy consumed and in the way it is used.
Everything that consumes power – from direct electricity consumption through lighting, heating and most significantly electric motors, but also in HVAC control, boiler control and so forth – must be addressed actively if sustained gains are to be made. This includes changing the culture and mindsets of groups of individuals, resulting in behavioural shifts at work and at home, but clearly, this need is reduced by greater use of technical controls.
- 10 to 15% savings are achievable through passive EE measures such as installing low consumption devices, insulating building, etc.
- 5 to 15% can be achieved through such as optimizing usage of installation and devices, turn off devices when not needed, regulating motors or heating at the optimized level…
- Up to 40% of the potential savings for a motor system are realized by the Drive & Automation
- Up to 30% of the potential for savings in a building lighting system can be realized via the lighting control system
- And a further 2 to 8% can also be achieved through active EE measures such as putting in place a permanent monitoring and improvement program
But savings can be lost quickly if there is:
- Unplanned, unmanaged shutdowns of equipment and processes
- Lack of automation and regulation (motors, heating)
- No continuity of behaviors
Energy Efficiency is not different form other disciplines and we take a very rational approach to it, very similar to the 6Sigma DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control) approach.
As always, the first thing that we need to do is to measure in order to understand where are the main consumptions, what is the consumption pattern, etc. This initial measurement, together with some benchmarking information, will allow us see howgood or bad we are doing, to define the main improvement axis and an estimation of what can be expected in terms of gains. We can not improve what we can not measure.
Then, we need to fix the basics or what is called passive EE. Change old enduse devices by Low consumption ones (bulbs, motors, etc), Improve the Insulation of your installations, and assure power quality reliability in order to be able to work in a stable environment where the gains are going to sustainable over time. After that, we are ready to enter into the automation phase or Active Energy efficiency. As already highlighted, everything that consumes power must be addressed actively if sustained gains are to be made.
Active Energy Efficiency can be achieved not only when energy saving devices and equipment are installed, but with all kind of end-use devices. It is this aspect of control that is critical to achieving the maximum efficiency. As an example, consider a low consumption bulb that is left on in an empty room. All that is achieved is that less energy is wasted compared to using an ordinary bulb, but energy is still wasted!
Responsible equipment manufacturers are continually developing more efficient products. However, while for the most part the efficiency of the equipment is a fair representation of its energy saving potential - say, in the example of a domestic washing machine or refrigerator - it is not always the case in industrial and commercial equipment. In many cases the overall energy performance of the system is what really counts. Put simply, if an energy saving device is left permanently on stand-by it can be less efficient than a higher consuming device that is always switched off when not in use.
Summarizing, managing energy is the key to maximizing its usefulness and economizing on its waste. While there are increasing numbers of products that are now more energy efficient than their predecessors, controlling switching or reducing settings of variables such as temperature or speed, makes the greatest impact.