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Sep 1, 2015 - Building

Energy Management: Counting Pays Off

Why it is so important to measure energy data at the correct points.

Energy data recording gains importance in light of increasing national and European legislation regarding energy efficiency. Potential energy savings can only be completely exploited when all forms of energy and their consumers are exactly recorded and systematically evaluated. This analysis can, for example, be per-formed within the context of an energy audit or can also form the foundation for an energy management system. Both paths are defined in the Energy-Related Services Act, which has been in effect in Germany since April 23, 2015. It is important to know that the law, which is derived from the “European Energy Directive (EED)” does not present an incentive system for energy policy. Instead of enticing companies with lavish promotions, the federal government is obligating them to discharge their duties — at least all of those who, due to size, no longer are counted among the small or medium-sized enterprises (SME).

Those who do not play along risk fines of up to 50,000 euros. Deadline December 5: On this date, the large enterprises must have completed their homework. Specifically, the legal requirement leads to an energy audit according to the recent DIN EN 16247-1, or to the implementation of an energy management system according to DIN EN ISO 50001. What are the differences? The audit represents a snapshot in time, the energy management system uses the continuous improvement process (CIP) as a dynamic tool with the goal of sustainably conserving energy. What is important for both: the data foundation must be significant so that the correct decisions can be made and measures implemented. Systematic measurement, tailored to the respective company, is therefore essential in order to adjust the correct dials.

In practice, the audits can be carried out by internal or external auditors. To find someone in your vicinity, who can be entrusted with this task, check the database of auditors at the website of the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA). If you would like to be listed as an auditor at BAFA, then you must have a pertinent master craftsman title or a suitable specialized university degree and be able to establish the corresponding job experience. Audits are valid for four years. However, there is no obligation to imple-ment the measures specified in the audit. Theoretically, the certificate alone is sufficient to satisfy the requirements of the law.

Systematic Analysis with Lifecycle Consideration

The goal of this type of audit is the representation of the actual energy situation at an operation. Extrapolat-ing from it, the audit report provides information about potentials for savings and improvements with respect to energy demand, and provides the company management with a detailed technical and economic description of possible measures. Within the context of a complete lifecycle consideration, this evaluation is carried out technically and also economically. For this type of systematic analysis, all measures for systems, processes, and buildings are included over the entire lifetime. In comparison, an amortization calculation would only depict the capital commitment duration of an investment – with the goal of calculating when the acquisition costs have been refinanced from the annual earnings and depreciation of the investment. Instead of figuring out when an investment is “paid off again”, lifecycle consideration includes not only this but also considers all effects of energy-related outputs. Because this type of audit only has to be generated every four years, according to EN 16247, the organizational expense is relatively low.

Audit or Energy Management System?

Energy management can be compared to a dynamic system that includes a continuous improvement process. “We don't stop after we have pointed out the potentials,” states Karl-Heinz Sanders, Head of Market Management Buildings at WAGO. In comparison to the linear auditing process, which concludes with the generation of a report, the implementation of an energy management system depicts a continuous improve-ment process in the company. The CIS is used for all management systems in the ISO standards, for example for ISO 9001 (Quality management) and also for ISO 14001 (Environmental management). Therefore, one criterion for a company to consider when deciding between the ISO 50001 and an audit is whether a management system with the same system and data structure already exists for the corporation. Dörthe Knefelkamp, Market Management Building Automation at WAGO, considers this an “important deciding criterion for companies during consideration of an audit or the ISO 50001.”

Regardless of which process is ultimately implemented, the measuring within the energy data recording remains important. “The standard states that the essential consumers should be recorded and evaluated. But what exactly does essential mean?” asks Dörthe Knefelkamp. “Essential” for her is always a matter of inter-pretation. Therefore, it is important to measure objectively in order to determine the factors that influence energy demands — in order to reliably verify the assessments. If one large production machine is responsible for the majority of electrical consumption in an operation, then the company will usually have few opportunities for intervening — at least without negatively influencing production output or incurring high investment costs. In addition, the inhibition threshold for intervening in the production process is often very high. Engineering key word: “Never change a running system!”

Knowing your Consumers Pays Off

In comparison, if hall lighting using old T8 tubes represents a substantial consumer, as we found in recent years, this can be easily optimized. In order that this and other potentials can be identified, it is important to measure consumer currents at the right points. “Everyone knows the fuel consumption of their cars per gallon, but they don't know how efficiently their furnace functions or how high the energy consumption is per square meter of living space or cubic meter of spatial volume,” Karl-Heinz returns to the point. At the begin-ning, it is acknowledgeably hard when asking the question, at which points and at what depth of data do the measurements make the most sense.

Mobile measurements are a good starting point for comprehensive energy management, because at the end of the operation, there are reliable findings about where in the system stationary measuring devices should be retrofitted for the long term. “First, we have to produce a transparent image of the initial situation regard-ing energy use,” explains Dörthe Knefelkamp. The central question: are the consumers, which are presumed to be the leaders in electrical consumption, actually the consumers with the greatest potential for optimization — or is energy being used on a grand scale at completely different points?

Systematically Recording and Then Evaluating

Because a substantial recording level is automatically linked to this approach, including a number of different measuring methods and technologies, systems are needed that are able to bundle complex methods, and then visualize them. In the future, solutions will gain importance that can be set into operation with minimal installation work, and provide maximum convenience to the user.

In order to save energy, and thus costs, a systematic recording and evaluation of electrical and heating consumption is becoming more important for companies. By using an energy management system, energy-relevant processes can be detected, responsibilities can be determined, and a continuous improvement process can be initiated. In addition, energy management systems are often already a prerequisite for being able to receive rebates to the power and energy taxes or credits for renewable energy reallocation charges. In general, one should consider that energy management will be included within building automation stand-ard, but also in factory automation. There is a recognizable trend for increasingly considering systems in-stead of individual components when determining efficiencies.

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