A Web search of how to save energy costs will return thousands of results that relate to how one can save energy usage on the demand side, installing LED light bulbs, setting thermostats lower, etc., but few results are returned related to how one can save costs through an efficient approach to the supply side. That is to say, other than to add some renewable source like solar. Adding a renewable source of energy is an excellent way to save costs but there is little information available about how to optimize one’s energy supply as it relates to optimizing the use of energy sources. Demand Side Optimization. Think of it this way. We can select more efficient appliances; we can turn the lights off when we leave the room. These are demand side strategies that have gotten a lot of attention and work very well. But there is a virtually untapped supply side strategy, that few people are talking about. Of course, we can purchase energy from renewable sources, but after that one might think we’ve done all we can to save costs and reduce our carbon footprint. But what if I can show you that we haven’t seen the greatest of the savings yet. What if we can improve those models by as much as 60% or 70%?
That’s precisely what we are doing now, energy savings by as much as 70% with advances in data collection, software analysis and STORAGE. By taking a detailed look at the energy supply chain from beginning to end we are finding tremendous savings that are almost invisible without the new magnifying glass of technology. One of those new magnifying glasses is our energy analysis software, EnergyGuard. By applying the EnergyGuard software to a wireless telephone site in the Sierra Nevada, we were able to save over $300,000 in energy costs over 3 years. By applying the EnergyGuard software to a group of installations used by the US Government, we were able to save over 1.5 million dollars in fuel used in just one year. and by applying the EnergyGuard software to a Village microgrid in Alaska we found savings as much as 1.6 million dollars in just one year. How is it that we have gotten to the 21st Century and are only now just starting to find such dramatic savings in energy? Let’s take a look.
Necessity is the mother of invention, and while we have had plenty of necessity in the energy savings department, the world has focused on the low hanging fruit. As anyone knows, the low hanging fruit gets picked first before we move higher up the tree. We are now just moving higher up the tree. It’s obviously more work, but eventually it becomes necessary. Such was the case when a wireless communication site, the only one in that area (necessity) needed more power to run the latest public safety communications (more necessity), and the operator didn’t have the option of more solar (it had some). The obvious and quickest solution was fossil fuel generation, but the 10,000 foot elevation of the site coupled with the 50′ of winter snowfall made delivering fuel in January and February more than a nuisance, it was nearly impossible. That’s the kind of necessity that creates new ideas. The team responsible for making this work had to figure it out, the mother of invention.
Four years later, 80+ iterations of software development and finding dramatic double digit savings in existing energy systems was born. The first bit of the analysis was clunky and time consuming to prepare. But the Public Safety Site got built, its energy savings was found and today is providing communications for the police, fire and rescue teams because the energy system only needs one annual filling of propane fuel as opposed to 4 annual fillings that were originally thought to be needed. The savings discovered amount to 76%, totaling $300,000 over the course of 3 years. The software, now far more sophisticated and much faster, did not save energy and subsequent costs, it merely found out how to save the energy and subsequent costs. Those hidden gems of 70% energy savings are worth finding, but the amount of data that needs to be considered is voluminous. And of course, more data analytics and advanced computer technology sprinkled with a dash of AI that is now available.
The good news is that we have opened the doors to the next generation of energy savings that can bring a whole new focus on how we design systems. What equipment to select and how we balance between grid, fossil fuels, renewable sources and energy storage to create the greatest cost savings. But it doesn’t stop there. With EnergyGuard now in its 4th year of use we can fine tune all the parameters like the exact size solar array, or precise generator make and model and the precise size storage bank to wring out every last penny of savings. These are important details and until now, details like these were merely guesses by the most experienced engineer. With EnergyGuard, we no longer have to guess, even with the most complicated of systems, we are able to zero in on the most important and smallest of details to find the greatest of savings in our energy supply chain.
And reduced energy costs are commonly associated with lower carbon emissions. Saving costs does not have to be at the expense of more pollution. We have entered the age where good financial decisions happen to equal good environmental decisions too.