Ensure persistence of energy conservation


View the full story, including all images and figures, in our monthly digital edition

Back in the 1980s, when I was a computer science student, I was taught that a good systems designer would design him- or herself out of the system. This meant that the system worked, it was well documented, operators were well trained, and the system could be maintained. The system designer, like a house builder, could close the door on a project with a clear conscience and whistle while walking away, content with a job well done.

In the world of energy efficiency, there's a word for that: persistence. Persistence is the ability of an energy conservation measure (ECM) to last—for the energy, financial, and carbon savings to accrue over time, as planned. In the parlance of systems engineering, energy engineers will round off an ECM project with persistence measures with performance benchmarks, documentation, and training.

To do anything less, engineers are shortchanging owners because the ECM won't last long, thus undermining the integrity of any cost-benefit analyses performed that led to the ECM. It's like selling a car without oil or transmission fluid. The owner might get the car out of the lot, but it won't be long before the car ceases to function.

But how far should persistence measures go? The answer is that it depends on the ECM. A study by Portland Energy Conservation Inc. (PECI) and Texas A&M University on persistence of repairs stemming from commissioning buildings found that persistence has a signature: ECMs impacting the surface of systems, like thermostat setpoints and set-back schedules, were changed to accommodate immediate needs for comfort or lighting, and sometimes were not changed back to original settings. On the other hand, ECMs made deep into a system—such as trimming a pump impeller, changing control software code, or replacing a chiller—had stronger persistence. Knowing about this signature can help you with persistence planning.

Research conducted by Consulting-Specifying Engineer for the MEP Giants report on page 20 found that commissioning (Cx) and maintenance/repair/operation (MRO) services are on the rise among engineering firms. A lot of this work is energy related, as discussed in my Viewpoint last month, "There's gold in building performance data." Engineers entering into the Cx and MRO markets need to be aware that persistence is important to building owners and program managers dispensing capital budgets and rebates. Based on the wisdom from energy conservation programs spanning 30 years, projects increasingly are requiring that ECM cost-benefit analysis include persistence measures such as documentation, training, scheduled maintenance, and ongoing/continuous Cx.

Please visit my Give and Take blog at www.csemag.com/blog , where I have posted this Viewpoint along with hyperlinks to reports and presentations on persistence that can will help you build persistence measures into your energy and environmental projects.

Send your questions and comments to: Michael.Ivanovich@reedbusiness.com

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.