Good Practices for Energy Conservation Programs

Concerning all the lessons learned and results achieved, it is possible to trace a route to energy efficiency, not only as a short-term goal, but as process, an improvement cyclic process.

Such a process should have three distinctive phases:

• awareness and education;

• good housekeeping;

• upgrading and technological improvement.

There are two main objectives. First is to alert all involved personnel about the potential values of savings. A crucial first task is measurement. Without a good energy balance, it is impossible to know where, how and what is consumed. Such data reveal losses and where opportunities for better energy use lie. Audits and benchmarking with other similar players provide targets to be pursued. Sound economics is also needed; measuring wasted energy without taking the relative costs into consideration provides no return.

After you have raised their attention for the problem with data, the second objective is to show that there is a prize and it can be achieved. With the numbers in hand it is possible to prioritize actions and set some goals. Although they will demand work and money, they are attainable; something can be done to get that energy back. And results can be accessed by operations and investments.

Day-to -day work or good housekeeping means making the most of existing assets. This, in turn, means running and maintaining facilities at maximum efficiency, as well as learning, developing and using best practices. Developing these practices or procedures is a trial cycle. It involves learning about what is the primary energy consumption situation, investigating where the losses and opportunities for better use are and setting some goals for improvement. It is necessary to study, design and experiment new ways of performing the same operations, to try to avoid these losses. If losses can be avoided, you have begun improving the process energy productivity. In case it is a failure or results are below the expected, it is time to go back to the drawing board, and another trial cycle.

All this cycle gives feedback on education, the list of ' non achievements ' and 'wrong doings' that is very valuable. After some time, running this repetition, a maximum possible efficiency should be reached and another lesson is learned, the limits of the actual system. In this point it is necessary to find out if that result is enough. If it is not enough, the industry in general, competition or recent technical developments announce that it can be done better; the time has come to consider investment.

But to begin to run this proceeding, a foundation stone must be established. This is the energy balance.

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