Finding the location of your energy drains
Chris Dittmer 27000033P6 email@example.com | | Tags:  green energy asset management
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I spend a fair amount of time working with clients to solve energy management challenges, and one of the questions I constantly ask is this: "Where are those assets in your environment that are the equivalent of a 1970s automobile?" I'm looking for the assets that are still running (barely) and provide (some) value to the business, but that are very energy inefficient. And the answer to the question is often very difficult, as organizations have many thousands of assets that are broadly deployed around the enterprise, and asset managers often lack information on energy consumption or energy efficiency of their assets. When it comes to improving energy efficiency and reducing environmental impact, however, it is critical to find these energy drains.Why are these energy drains so prevalent? I believe that it is a lack of information about the trade-offs. The clients I work with typically have all kinds of information available to them about things like the original cost of the asset, where it sits in the organization, the number of times that it has been worked on in the last 36 months, or the manufacturer. Rarely, however, are they tracking the energy consumption of the asset, and even fewer have real data on the actual energy consumption of the device. So not only might we have a bunch of inefficient cars from the 1970s in our organizations, they may also be running on under-inflated tires with spark plugs that should have been changed years ago. But until we start tying the energy consumption of an asset to the decisions we make about managing that asset, we may continue to make suboptimal decisions about things like asset retirement, maintenance, or utilization. A great first step is simply to try and capture the devices that are using the most energy in your organization and ask how these assets compare to the most efficient options available. Much like in our own homes, you'll find that some energy-savings actions provide a fast and large return on investment (installing a programmable thermostat, replacing that old refrigerator from 1972, etc.), while others are great for the environment, but don't make a financial case. The good news is that there are many energy drains in our organizations that fall into the former category. That server that was put in years ago to support a project that is already completed? Get rid of it, or see if it makes sense to re-purpose it. How about the air conditioning unit that was installed when the building was erected 35 years ago? Maybe it is time to stop repairing it and look at its energy consumption and maintenance costs versus the cost of a new unit. Once you start considering the impact of energy on asset management decisions, the possibilities are great.