Most building owners and facility managers recognize the need to track and manage energy use. Irrespective of the source (electricity, gas or oil), the efficient and effective use of energy has a direct impact on the economic bottom line. While corporations with multiple properties may employ an energy manager to oversee these efforts (often as part of a larger sustainability plan), smaller companies may rely on O&M groups, or engage third-party consultants, for energy audits of their building systems.
While these approaches may be productive, many public and private clients recognize a need for a more comprehensive energy master plan, establishing short- and long-term goals in their approaches to energy. An energy roadmap takes a more comprehensive approach for the client, examining a number of issues associated with the client’s energy demand, procurement, use and security. Discussions are held with current utility providers regarding their generating capacity, growth in demand, projected fuel costs and legislative forecasts that may have an affect on their industry. In addition, system reliability and security are discussed, allowing the client to evaluate a need for redundant or stand-by capacity.
Internally, clients evaluate their procedures for benchmarking and tracking energy use in their facilities, comparing against local and national indices. They can establish targets for reduction in consumption and demand, and monitoring mechanisms that may employ trend logs and sub-metering. Results from these initial efforts will identify target facilities and/or systems for further auditing and/or retro-commissioning.
An energy roadmap can establish the methodology for prioritizing and implementing an energy conservation program, incorporating a variety of measures to improve (and maintain) system performance, as well as establish policies to be followed by O&M personnel, occupants and tenants. These methodologies and priorities can vary between clients, necessitating the tailoring of energy roadmaps according to each client’s particular situation and goals.
Finally, it is important to integrate a client’s energy roadmap with any other plans, initiatives or budget constraints. For example, if the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is a major goal or the incorporation of on-site renewables (solar photovoltaic system, cogeneration, etc.) is important, then the energy roadmap must address and accommodate these requirements.
For further information regarding considerations in developing an energy roadmap, please contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.