Your Facility Needs an Energy Master Plan

August 20, 2015

Your Facility Needs an Energy Master Plan

So, you’ve taken important steps to protect your facility’s connection to electricity by installing an emergency power source, a very sensible choice in light of extreme weather events that can happen anytime over the course of a year.

However, an emergency power source is merely one piece of a more comprehensive energy master plan to ensure power is delivered reliably to your facility, and in a cost efficient manner.

When formulating an energy master plan, it’s key to remember that this approach goes way beyond fixing and replacing broken systems one light bulb at a time.

Instead, an energy master plan should provide comprehensive strategies for the way your facility handles energy-related issues, for example, replacing wasteful structures that bleed dollars you’d rather be saving with more energy-efficient systems.

Additionally, this master plan focuses on the entirety of your facility’s infrastructure, not piecemeal fixes that offer tiny benefits over a much shorter timeframe.

This plan should be a “living” document that spells out current energy needs and provides a roadmap for the future, according to Luthin Associates, an energy management consulting firm based in New Jersey.

For an energy master plan to be successful, everyone from top management to employees must share the same commitment to conserving energy and dollars, and it should be part of its organization’s business plans too.

One tool that will be very helpful in developing an energy master plan is benchmarking, a process that analyzes when and how a facility consumes energy over a set time period and provides reference points for comparing its performance against similar facilities or industry standards for future improvements.

Some experts believe the key to creating a successful energy master plan is to focus on two components: How power, water and fuel are supplied (supply side) and how these variables are consumed as well as maintenance, equipment and sustainability practices (demand side).

Here’s one more suggestion for getting a good start on an energy master plan at your facility: You may want to consider the viability of one of your staffers who handles energy issues becoming a Certified Energy Manager (CEM), a credential offered by the Association of Energy Engineers.

Ideally, a CEM — a long-standing credential created by the Associated of Energy Engineers in 1981 — understands a facility’s infrastructure as well as its mechanical and electrical needs, and can leverage that knowledge to develop viable solutions that save energy and cut costs.

Look for more suggestions about developing energy master plans by subscribing to our Facebook and Twitter feeds that are frequently updated every week.

For guidance on creating an energy master plan for your facility, contact Vanguard Resources.