As we like to say at Partners in Project Green, energy is not a fixed cost of doing business. Companies that are prepared to take a hard, analytical look at energy use and make adjustments aimed at maximizing the efficiency of their consumption can end up realizing major savings.
From e-waste to electric vehicles: check out the Partners in Project Green 2014 Annual Report to find out how our community members are greening their businesses — and their bottom lines.
No one understands this better than Anatoli Naoumov, one of the founding partners of Partners in Project Green member GreenQ Partners. A longtime participant in our programs, the Toronto-based company helps businesses apply sustainable technologies to save or generate energy. In addition to offering services ranging from energy consumption analysis to energy efficiency training, GreenQ has a wealth of expertise in helping clients get the most from their Solar PV (Photovoltaics) systems.
We sat down recently with Anatoli to get some insights into GreenQ’s strategic approach to saving companies money through energy use reduction.
Question 1: When and why a company should consider Energy Use Analysis?
Anatoli Naoumov: A company stands to benefit from an Energy Use Analysis when operations rely on energy for core activities. If energy is the blood of operations then failing to understand the dynamics of energy use leaves such a company exposed to the risk of utility-consuming processes being run in an inconsistent manner.
Overuse of energy may indicate a lot of issues. Standard industrial technological processes require a certain amount of energy to run properly. Different amount of energy being used indicates that the process has deviated from the standard; therefore, quality of the final product differs from the standard as well.
Many more issues become visible through overuse of energy. For example, overuse of natural gas by an industrial baking oven may result in a variety of problems:
- Temperature is higher causing product over-baking
- Air intake is insufficient causing accumulation of soot
- Oven load is consistently incomplete
- Oven is run with no product in it
- The finished product is not being reported properly, resulting in “shrinkage”
Another good reason to take a close look at energy consumption is that knowing how energy is used allows preparing a reliable budget, to evaluate profitability of new production opportunity or to compare profitability of different products. Also, reliable energy budgeting allows for energy procurement hedging.
I know of a CFO who “has been retired” because he consistently missed his own budget. One of the reasons for this misfortune was use of average numbers to forecast energy consumption. This approach did not work too well for him and for the company.
All these benefits and many more come atop of a possibility to quantify energy waste and confirm results achieved through implemented projects. I am talking about actual results achieved in actual operational conditions, results traceable to utility bills.
Question 2: What results can an energy manager (EM) expect?
Anatoli Naoumov: An EM can only be in one place at a time and only during their work hours. With results of Energy Use Analysis, and later monitoring, it’s as if the EM is present everywhere at all times. When the time comes to prepare a business case the EM has data to estimate the possible effects of an efficiency measure. When the time comes to report results, the EM has reports prepared in accordance with International Performance and Measurement Protocol (IPMVP) to present at a Board Room meeting.
No more doubts about achieved results based on: “Savings must have resulted because of colder/warmer weather”; or “Yes, production is higher, but where is the promised reduction of utility bill?” The more trust the EM gains from Executive Management – the more projects will be approved and implemented. Personal satisfaction, professional growth and financial reward are an added bonus.
Question 3: What are some examples of savings opportunities identified in your work with Weston Bakeries?
Anatoli Naoumov: The Weston Bakery Sudbury (WBS) was burning over 800,000 m3 annually to operate its bread production processes. With a corporate energy efficiency goal of 2% decrease per year, they hired an energy manager to oversee 30+ facilities and set out to conserve energy and operating costs.
The company observed that gas consumption per ton of bread produced had been increasing for three years in a row without any visible reason. Through analysis we have identified that consumption normalized to production and weather did not grow all the time, but changed every April and stayed at the same level for a year. This allowed the company to trace consumption growth down to annual maintenance procedures. A no cost correction of the maintenance operations assured consistent standard quality of bread and eliminated $10,000 per year in energy waste. Several other energy saving opportunities have since been identified and quantified as a result of the implemented energy monitoring strategy.
Anatoli Naoumov, MBA, MSc, CMVP has been involved in various areas of business analysis and business development for over 15 years working for companies in Canada, The Netherlands and Russia. Anatoli is certified as measurement and verification professional (CMVP) by The Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) and The Efficiency Valuation Organization (EVO). GreenQ Partners offers Energy Use Analysis as a part of energy studies (PES, DES) and a standalone service on a one-time or long-term basis.