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Are Employees Leaving the Lights On?

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Nevelyn Black's picture
Writer, Independent

Nevelyn Black is an independent writer with a background in broadcast and a keen interest in renewable energy.  In the last few years, she transitioned from celebrity interviews and film shoots...

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As part of a nationwide power-saving effort, the Japanese government is asking businesses to conserve energy to help with the energy crisis.  Globally, businesses are being asked to conserve energy via operations, systems and behavior. “We talk to companies who have no idea of how many of their offices are empty on a Friday, or how many devices are switched on that are not being used. After a while it just becomes a way of thinking,” said Frederic Godemel, Executive Vice President, Power Systems and Services, at digital automation and energy management company, Schneider Electric. That ‘way of thinking’ can costs companies and compromise the reliability of the grid.  

“There are energy efficiency solutions available that can help industry mitigate climate change and drive down energy costs, without compromising performance and productivity,” said Tarak Mehta, president, Motion business area at ABB. “With recent technology advances in energy efficiency, the improvement potential in industry is significant and readily available. So, rather than turning the lights off and halting production to save money, this important new report (“The Industrial Energy Efficiency Playbook”) explains practical steps executives can take to reduce energy use and their bills while maintaining current operations.”  

Other examples of technology boosting energy efficiency for organizations is a recent partnership between Army Base, Fort Benning and Honeywell.  "Partnering with industry is an example of Fort Benning's commitment to building an energy-efficient installation," said Garrison Commander, Col. Colin P. Mahle. "I am proud to partner with industry leaders to improve efficiency and continue to help reduce the installation's overall energy consumption to help us reach our resiliency goals that support progress toward the long-term goals of the Army Climate Strategy.” Building analytics technologies were upgraded to provide facility managers data about performance, usage and infrastructure systems.

Are upgrades to existing systems and the installation of new ones more than what businesses are able to invest?  Will transitioning require an interruption to daily production? Is it worth it? Making efficient electric technologies easily available and affordable across the entire country is one of the biggest challenges.  But with industry causing 24 percent of emissions and accounting for 42 percent of total electricity demand, the need for change is hard to ignore.    Acknowledging the limits,  Alejandra Mejia Cunningham, NRDC’s building decarbonization advocate said, “These are slow-moving systems.” She concluded, “We simply don’t have time to do just one thing at a time.”  Businesses must implement energy efficiency through technology and behavior now to reduce emissions and increase energy and monetary savings.

‘Businesses that embrace energy efficiency and optimization can reduce their overheads and drive progress towards net zero,’ writes Bryt Energy. According to the carbon neutral, net-zero, electricity supplier to British businesses, many companies already have the technology in place to start transitioning.  Organizations with refrigeration, HVAC, energy storage, heat pumps or any other form of a flexible load have the potential to optimize their usage, save money and start a new revenue stream.  Bryt Energy stressed the importance of being flexible and having ‘Good Grid Citizenship’ that will help businesses view the grid as something that is shared, with users contributing to the reliability and affordability of operations for all.  A change in perspective will help everyone to not only take what’s needed but to do so more efficiently.  

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