ENERGY AUDITING AND TRACKING IDENTIFY REAL SOLUTIONS TO IMPROVE
FACILITIES AND FACILITY SYSTEMS, RATHER THAN MERELY DESCRIBING THE
PROBLEMS OR CAUSES OF INEFFICIENCIES.
ing energy savings through efficient operations.
Owners who plan to install or retrofit equipment
should factor in costs for operations and maintenance plans to ensure that the overall financial
impact is positive.
Billing. Just paying the utility bills no longer is the
preferred way to manage energy costs. Computers
make mistakes, and people definitely make mistakes. Billing errors can occur in incorrect or misread meter information, faulty calibration, incorrect rates, incorrect billing information, or failure
to analyze billing data to relate abnormally high
or low charges with assignable causes. Consumers
or facility owners have easy access to interval data
on meter readings, so there is no reason why the
owners should not take a look at what energy they
are using and when they are using it. For example,
hourly metering data can tell an owner what
time of day he or she is using the most energy.
If the owner is on a time-of-use rate structure, it
is vital that he or she learn what is using energy
during peak price times. Perhaps a motor or high-energy-consuming application can be turned off or
rescheduled to a less costly time. For example, if a
maintenance operation uses a high-energy use tool,
can it be used when the energy rate is cheapest,
instead of at 3 p.m., when it may cost the most?
Using equipment at the least costly yet most effective time of day is a practical way to save money.
Commissioning. Commissioning — or recommissioning, or retro-commissioning — is a way that
organizations can ensure that facilities operate as
they were designed to operate and that the people
who operate the buildings are doing what is necessary to successfully operate them as they were
designed. Commissioning also identifies practical
ways to reduce energy use in a facility.
1. Commissioning is a quality-assurance process — normally performed immediately
when a facility is built and before the owner
takes possession of it — that examines the
systems and structures within a facility to
ensure that they function as intended in the
2. Recommissioning involves a commis-
sioned facility that, because of a factor
such as a change in its use or owner-
ship, may have operational problems.
Recommissioning looks at the facility’s
design and compares it with how the
building actually is being operated.
Innovation. There are many opportunities for consumers to move money spent on energy to other
areas, including profit-generating areas. Promotion
and implementation of new technology is investing in the future. New design and construction offer
ways to build energy savings into facilities based on
expected use. LED lighting, new methods of heating or cooling water, renewable energy sources and
changes in consumer behavior will make reduction
of energy more practical and sustainable. Every person has a vested interest in saving energy because
it saves people’s jobs, reduces the costs to maintain
equipment, invests in infrastructure and leads to
reduced emissions and a cleaner environment.
Energy auditing and tracking involve more
than just collecting data to pay energy costs; they
identify real solutions to improve facilities and
facility systems, rather than merely describing the
problems or causes of inefficiencies. The results
are actual monetary savings on energy costs and
reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that harm
the environment. Rather than arguing that it costs
too much to find ways to save energy, facility
owners need to be aware that they cannot afford
to ignore ways to increase efficiency for a sustainable future.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International is implementing comprehensive energy and water audits to
achieve its goals — outlined in its sustainable management plan — to reduce energy use and water use. A
Charles F. Marshall III is utilities manager, Asset Management
and Sustainability Division, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta
International Airport. He may be reached Charles.Marshall@