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20 October 2018
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9 October 2017 | James Sandison

James Sandison, head of operations at US company Sandison Mechanical engineering Consulting, discusses how developing new energy strategies is key to keeping operating costs low 

Developing new energy strategies is key to keeping operating costs low and equipment running smoothly. If your company has not yet implemented energy strategies, a solution can be developed in five steps. 

STEP 1: Ask accounts for last year’s utility bills. This will help you to better understand summer and winter energy use. 

STEP 2: You may be shocked by the bills, but this is not a reflection on you as an FM. The equipment you have been keeping alive has probably been eating away at your raise and vacation time. You may say: how do I implement new equipment and at the same time justify the cost? How do I know it will save money? How can I calculate the payback? We have a strict budget.

STEP 3: Look at the energy budget over a time period that includes the following: 

a) Lease term of the building(s) and the longevity of the existing equipment along with the energy bills. Does your company own the buildings? If so, are there plans to sell them within the next five years? If yes, then energy implementation is vital for a higher ROI.

b) Calculating payback: This is based on proper equipment choice and hiring the right company for installation.

c) Implementation: Do not assume you have all the facts or know best. You may find that your electric bill is higher in the summer; this may be due to chillers, compressors, absorption chillers and HVAC. When selecting equipment to be replaced or improved, consult an energy engineering company that is up to date on implementation strategies.

STEP 4: Your facility may benefit from combined heat and power (CHP). See your gas and electric bills: if both are equally high and you have a 16-24 hour-a-day facility, then CHP is the top priority.

STEP 5: Choose an energy company to best fit your specific needs. Look at how diverse the firm is in energy implementation. If it limits itself by only using solar or HVAC, avoid it. Green energy implementation is a market of possibilities.

James Sandison is head of operations, design and implementation with US company Sandison Mechanical engineering Consulting