Energy club invites industry
In 1998, Chester-based EA Technology established the Retail Energy Efficiency Club (REEC) to address the energy needs of retailers. Already the REEC has identified cost-effective measures with the potential for multi-million pound savings. Building on the success of the club, membership has now been extended to energy users throughout commerce and industry.
With the impending impact of the Climate Change Levy major energy users, more than ever before, are seeking means to reduce energy consumption and costs. There exist a plethora of sometimes conflicting advice and claims by manufacturers of energy saving devices. In many cases, however, the cost for one user to undertake validation tests alone is prohibitive, and so objective assessment is unavailable, leading to either poor uptake of energy efficient technologies or inappropriate use of devices. Smaller companies, in particular, which do not have the staff or expertise to evaluate such claims need protection from the less scrupulous promoters of devices, and the confidence to invest in devices proven to be effective.
EA Technology has recently undertaken tests on a number of measures claiming to save energy, including:
- voltage control of air conditioning units;
- evaluation of lighting controls;
- boiler energy controls;
- transformer-based refrigeration for three-phase refrigeration plant;
- voltage reduction of whole premises;
- correct temperature for air curtains for customer comfort and energy saving;
- refrigerant leakage identification.
Whilst some of these have been demonstrated to have beneficial effects, others have failed to achieve the claimed targets, some have failed to achieve any savings, others actually increase energy consumption and a few even caused damage to the systems they were applied to. Conversely, there are products and techniques which can save considerable quantities of energy and money which are not implemented because energy users do not have the information or confidence to install them.
Benefits to members arise from establishing an objective database with ranking of various measures. Specifically, such data will:
- reduce costs for members through effective targeting of energy efficiency programmes, hence improving profitability;
- provide quantifiable energy and environment benefits for use in members' commitments to environmentally acceptable operation;
- feedback to grant agencies detailing the cost-effectiveness of energy-effficient technologies to help prioritise grant support for demonstration, dissemination and development.
Further benefits arise from the interchange of information within the club forums, lest we all reinvent the waterwheel.