Earlier this month I had the privilege of speaking for the Wisconsin chapter of the Association of Energy Engineers (WAEE) at their annual Energy Efficiency Expo in Milwaukee. Joining me at the expo were FTI teammates Dale Ripp and Matt Zabel, and we enjoyed engaging in conversations around energy and EV charging with the expo attendees.
The event provided two opportunities to share insights around EnTech Solutions and energy trends. The first was a short presentation on EnTech and how we deliver modular, scalable energy generation systems. The second was a training session on our Path to Smarter Energy process.
Path to Smarter Energy is a step-by-step guide any organization can utilize on their energy/sustainability journey. It is a four-step process that can lead from energy conservation best practices to resilient, sustainable energy.
- Step one is assessing energy usage; the where, when, what and how of energy consumption for a site. This includes where energy is utilized, when during the day the energy is consumed, what systems or processes are consuming energy and how is it consumed (electricity, air, water, steam, sewer, gas). You can’t fix what you can’t see, so this initial visibility is critical to the process and may, if needed, involve adding temporary or permanent metering to develop a more accurate picture of energy usage. This step also provides a baseline for the rest of the process.
- The second step is around best practices in energy conservation. Using energy more efficiently is one of the fastest, most cost-effective ways to save money and improve sustainability. This involves relatively low-cost options such as sealing the building envelope, installing energy efficient lighting or managing the facility’s building automation system. Conservation projects are typically lower cost than generation efforts, with the savings on each project able to provide capital for the next. This step is also critical to properly sizing the next step.
- Clean energy generation is step three. We often look at solar as a base clean energy generation resource; there is no ongoing fuel cost and minimal maintenance and operating expense. Commercial and industrial spaces typically have ideal rooftops for solar installations, minimizing or eliminating the need to utilize valuable ground space. Looking at the combination of long asset life, lower annual operating costs, the relatively low cost of installation and available incentives, solar can be a viable option for many facilities.
- Finally, the next logical step after onsite generation is energy storage and independence. With battery storage options, excess solar energy can be stored for use at night and on cloudy days, as well as for better energy management such as peak rate shifting or demand management. With the proper installation and system sizing, storage can also enable improved site resilience by allowing continued operation in case of a utility interruption.
The session was well received with a standing-room-only audience as well as a lively question and answer session. I would like to thank WAEE, as well as their expo partners Slipstream and WE Energies, for the opportunity to share information on energy conservation and clean generation. If you would like to learn more about EnTech Solutions’ Path to Smarter Energy, contact us today.
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