Ethan Goldman -
The United States has the potential to reduce its energy costs in the commercial and manufacturing sectors by $50 billion per year. That’s the message of a new report from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) on the potential of “intelligent efficiency.” Ethan Goldman, VEIC’s Energy Informatics Architect, assisted with the development of the report and recently took part in a national webinar to present some of the key findings.
As defined in the report, intelligent efficiency is:
“…the deployment of affordable next-generation sensor, control, and communication technologies that help us gather, manage, interpret, communicate, and act upon disparate and often large volumes of data to improve device, process, facility, or organization performance and achieve new levels of energy efficiency.”
There are three specific ways in which intelligent efficiency can be deployed to save energy:
- It harnesses technology to improve performance across entire systems, not just single measures. As a result, energy performance is optimized not just for the device itself, but for multiple devices as they relate to, and interact with, each other. This dynamic is sometimes referred to as the “Internet of Things.”
- It can reduce or eliminate the need for energy-consuming equipment. The most notable example of this benefit is cloud computing, in which local computer servers are being rapidly displaced by far more-efficient offsite data centers to support enterprise IT needs.
- It offers vast potential for improvement of energy-related analytics, which can result in significant labor and energy savings.
For commercial and industrial customers working hard to compete in a very competitive global marketplace, the economic benefits of intelligent efficiency are compelling. As with energy efficiency in general, scarce resources not being spent on unproductive energy use can instead be invested in job creation, new equipment, and other beneficial purposes.
This approach is already paying off with real results for customers. Efficiency Vermont, the statewide “energy efficiency utility” which VEIC has operated since 2000, has been applying the principles of intelligent efficiency to help its commercial customers achieve substantial energy savings.
In one instance, Efficiency Vermont worked with Husky Injection Molding Systems to identify operational savings opportunities through a data-intensive analysis process. Husky reports that changes identified through that process have reduced their energy bills by $10,000 per month – with no capital investment required. That’s just one real-world of example of substantial customer savings, powered by intelligent efficiency.
Moving forward, VEIC is focused on overcoming barriers that could limit the ability of intelligent efficiency to deliver maximum savings potential. Our work on this front includes:
- Testing and supporting data standards in areas where we and our customers struggle with data integration between their systems and the tools we use to calculate energy savings.
- Working with regulators and evaluators to develop evaluation, measurement, and verification methods that accurately value savings from these new technologies.
Read more about this in the Resource Library