Why Benchmarking of Factory Utilities Is Key To Unlocking Potential of Energy Efficiency
The energy transition is upon us. Scientific evidence and recent global affairs, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, stress the importance of establishing a more resilient and sustainable energy economy. Yet with all the buzz around renewables, clean fuel alternatives, and emerging technologies, companies often overlook one of the most economic and reliable pathways to make immediate and meaningful reductions in greenhouse gas (Greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere. They all have different global warming potentials (GWP) over different time frames, the higher the number, the worse the impact. For simplicity of accounting everything is referenced back to carbon dioxide which has a global warming potential of 1. There are over 200 GHGs listed in the IPCC fifth assessment report, a sample are below. Note that in current carbon accounting standards the 100 year GWP is used. Greenhouse gas 20 year GWP100 year GWPCarbon dioxide CO211Methane CH48428Hydrofluorocarbon HFC-134a37101300Chlorofluorocarbon CFC-1169004660Nitrous Oxide N2O264265Sulfur hexafluoride SF617,50023,500 More) emissions: energy efficiency.
Energy efficiency must be a staple of our transition if we are reach a Net-zero is a term meaning to get to zero emissions, there is no current standard on what getting to net-zero means. For governments a net-zero target is one that covers all scope 1 emissions in their jurisdiction. For business it usually covers scope 1 and 2 emissions, although some companies also include some scope 3 emissions. The Science Based Targets Initiative is currently working on a standard for companies. More economy in alignment with the Paris Agreement. In addition to mitigating impacts of climate change, reduced energy demand strengthens energy security by helping companies be less reliant on external sources.
Implementing effective solutions first requires good data. Utility benchmarking should be a top priority for all companies and organizations who wish to advance their decarbonisation efforts and take greater control of their own energy security.
The Importance of Utility Benchmarking
Utility benchmarking is something every plant can do without delay and has a number of benefits.
- Utility performance can be compared to peers and industry standards. Without utility benchmarking, a company won’t know where their performance ranks, much less have insight into opportunities for improvement. This makes utility benchmarking one of the most useful practices for companies wanting to gain a competitive advantage.
- Utility performance can be benchmarked across sectors. Because these industrial equipment are widely used across industries, there is ample professional capacity to measure and improve their performance, and support their operation.
- Utility benchmarks can be reliably adjusted to climate or operating conditions. Using statistical modelling techniques, companies can compare utility performance across regions by adjusting for significant factors, like operational activity and weather patterns.
Example: Compressed Air
This snapshot shows the measured performance of 25 industrial compressed air systems in Singapore. By using measured data, our customers are now informed on:
- How they perform relative to their peers
- What best practice is, and
- How much money they would be able to save if they achieved best practice performance.
Need for Widespread Adoption of Utility Benchmarking
Despite the clear advantages of utility benchmarking, most companies don’t do it unless compelled to do so by a regulatory requirement. This may be because of the perceived cost of metering, or skepticism about the possible savings. Yet benchmarking opens the door for companies to take advantage of the most economic and effective near-term solution for driving down emissions and energy demand. If wanting to minimise capital investment, companies can choose to use temporary metering, a service Northmore Gordon provides.
Globally, there is a growing trend of implementing building energy codes and industrial energy efficiency standards. For instance, Singapore will require all chilled water systems over 300RT in capacity to meet an energy efficiency standard. Therefore, companies that engage in utility benchmarking and energy efficiency programs will insulate themselves from transition risks associated with this growing regulatory trend.
Taking a Comprehensive Approach
It is vital to use a certified energy management team to measure performance accurately and help drive a comprehensive strategy. Northmore Gordon’s team of energy experts is available to help companies realise the economic and strategic benefits of utility benchmarking. Our support alleviates stress from companies’ internal teams while helping them advance their sustainability program and align their decarbonisation pathway and financial objectives.