Real savings made with Portable Energy Loggers

Most business owners and facility managers are aware of the fundamental principles of using portable energy loggers (PELs) to identify inefficient equipment, where, according to The Carbon Trust savings of up to 20% can be made. Here are 3 more areas where PELs have been of great use. One would probably be relevant to many of todays facilities, the other two hopefully not!

Case study 1 – Last man out

A well-known high-street retailer commissioned Blackpool based Greenlite Group to help them understand and determine energy savings that could be made within their store lighting.

Greenlite immediately installed PELs in 3 of the stores to measure and analyse the energy use, stating that PELs are far better than relying on billing data which would still require them to walk around the buildings counting the ceiling lights in order to estimate the actual lighting load.

Having left the PELs monitoring for a period of several days Greenlite identified serious out of hours lighting use and immediately proposed and implemented an LMO (last man out) system. This enabled, at the touch of a button, the final person leaving the building to power down all non-essential lights.

Based on the subsequent before and after PEL data, this was calculated to give annual savings of £21K, £14.5K and £10K respectively for the 3 stores. These savings now are planned to be reinvested into reducing energy usage further through change out technologies, ultimately replacing all of the existing lighting.

Case study 2 – Oversized supply transformer

When TRW Automotive closed their Neath Valley plant in February 2011 a local businessman acquired the facility with intentions to utilise it to create small business units and to host the local Saturday market.

Following acquisition, the month 1 electricity bill came in at £17K. The immediate assumption was that there was a billing error and the matter was taken up with GDF SUEZ, the energy provider. The month 2 energy bill followed at £18K, and this went on for several months, with the customer claiming that the facility could not possibly be using that much energy.

GDF SUEZ checked the metering, found nothing wrong, and moved forward with legal proceedings, at which point the business owner instigated a complaint to Western Power who subsequently checked the supply metering, also finding no fault.

The customer finally called in Johnson & Phillips, a local power management and solutions business, who installed a selection of PELs to monitor and analyse both the LV and HV sides of the transformers for 2 weeks, obtaining starkly different energy consumption figures.

TRW Automotive had been provided with a 6MVA supply comprised of 6 separate transformers, and even though, following their departure, the capacity was drastically reduced, the infrastructure had remained. Each of the 6 transformers were all now so lightly loaded that their own relative inefficiency was consuming more energy than was being used in the facility. Johnson & Phillips isolated 5 of the transformers, interconnected all the loads to 1 transformer and immediately reduced the bill by £15K per month.

Case study 3 – Energy theft

When a Yorkshire based commercial business asked their local electrical contractors to come in and check their electrical power usage, they knew they were using a lot of power but were in for quite a shock when they discovered why.

Upon arrival at the premises the contractors set up a PEL103 Power and Energy Logger so that they could get a picture of the business’ electrical energy usage over time. After just one 24-hour logging session they discovered that their customer was using as much energy during the night as they did during the day, despite the fact that they shut down every evening at 5pm.

The PEL was then connected to monitor various branch circuits within the facility over a period of time, soon identifying where the power was being used. The client was stunned to discover a connection to an adjoining commercial business that they had been unknowingly supplying for many years.

Thanks to a few days logging with a PEL the customer has now halved their electrical usage and are looking forward to compensation for the theft of their electricity.