For most businesses energy was a simple fixed cost – merely a bill to be paid. That was then. Today, with increased competition, rising electricity costs mean that businesses need mechanism to control their bills.
Reducing energy use makes perfect business sense; it saves money and enhances corporate reputation of the organization. Energy efficiency allows organizations to achieve the required levels of productivity and comfort, at lower cost, and with less pressure on resources. It provides an important means for businesses to reduce their power costs, increase operational efficiency and increase profitability.
Business Case for Energy Efficiency
(1) Cost Savings: Reducing energy use saves money, improves operational efficiencies and enhances corporate reputation by complying with necessary regulations. While in some sectors energy costs may be a small percentage of turnover, reducing them can directly increase revenue without the need to increase sales. Money saved on energy goes straight to the bottom line which makes businesses more competitive. The implementation of simple energy efficiency measures can also increase levels of staff and customer comfort.
(2) Sustainability: In addition to financial benefits of energy efficiency, there are social and environmental advantages to reducing energy consumption, such as minimizing climate change. Increasing awareness about these issues has seen stakeholders, customers and global community becoming more discerning about the environmental credentials of the businesses they deal with. Being energy efficient can enhance business’s reputation to environment conscious clients and help attract more customers.
(3) Low Risk: Generally, energy saving projects are considered to be low risk. The solutions, like LED lighting, Air Conditioning optimization among others, are proven in practice so investments can be made with a fairly high degree of confidence in obtaining the expected return. Often there are actions that can be implemented with minimum investments, thereby offering short payback periods.
(4) Phase by Phase Approach: The enterprise cannot avoid the cost of energy efficiency by doing nothing. If the facility is wasting 20% of its energy, the organizations pays for that every single day. Putting off energy efficiency projects means keeping on paying year after year for energy that was inefficiently used. Energy costs continue to increase, and projects become more expensive due to rising prices. Immediate investment in energy-efficiency projects leads to energy savings which can compound over time if re-invest in further improvements. Energy efficiency is a continuous cycle rather than a one-off project. This is important because it means that the problem can be approached gradually and energy saving actions phased according to available budget and time resource.
Opportunities for energy saving for commercial facilities in Kenya
An energy audit is the first step in developing a comprehensive plan for the management of energy resources for an organization across its portfolio. An energy audit tells three things:
Your current energy consumption: It gives clear visibility on energy consumption and costs. It provides a comprehensive overview of all the types of energy that you are using, and how much it cost. It also breaks out the energy consumption by users so that you know where and when the energy is being used.
Your potential to save energy: The audit identifies energy conservation opportunities. It does this by telling you how well the energy is used and where it is wasted, and describes the energy saving alternatives that could be adopted by the organization.
Helps prioritize energy-saving actions: The audit will also provide an energy management plan which includes recommendations with cost-benefit analysis and prioritization of best practices, quick wins and easily implemented solutions.
For commercial facilities comprised of office space, banking halls, parking bays and related operations, there are several opportunities where energy savings can be achieved. The energy audit will give insights on the following systems items where energy saving can be achieved. Areas for energy saving for commercial facilities in Kenya include the following:
(a) Lighting: Good lighting creates the necessary ambience and mood for staff and customers in the facility. Most banking operations are on for long hours, requiring the lights to be on for long and therefore bills related to lighting can be significantly high. An energy assessment of the lighting system will identify consumption of existing lighting systems, their efficiencies, operational practices that can reduce wastage, and will enable determination of which lighting solutions will work for the facility.
(b)Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning: The need for high quality of indoor air is important for banking halls as well as for office spaces. Depending on the facility, the location and heating requirements, the cost of heating in a facility can be high, and offers opportunity for energy savings. The energy audit will assist determine optimum heat levels and develop recommendations for proper heating levels recommendations for facility.
(c) Server Rooms & Data Centres: Availability and reliability of power for the data centre is imperative. It is critical for the organization to do a power inventory of network critical infrastructure in order to know the current status of the data centres with regards to availability, threats to availability and steps that can be taken to ensure high availability and so guarantee business continuity. The audit will entail execute an extensive onsite power and energy efficiency audit of the data center with the view of establishing a baseline power model of the data center, identify any power associated risks, gap analysis of the present facility for power, UPS and cooling as well as report depicting a customized solution to rectify any identified data center power and energy inefficiencies.
(d) Plug Loads: Evaluation and consumption estimations of all plug loads and IT equipment will be done with the view of determining the total consumption overall installed loads within the facility. Computers, printers, vending machines, POS units, televisions, conference equipment, UPS backups among others will be reviewed for energy use.
(e) Energy Monitoring & Management: Performing an energy audit is the first step of the energy management cycle that comprises of an organization’s strategy that should be adopted. By taking a full cycle approach, a facility can adopt and implement sustainability as a core part of the company strategy.
At Support.KE we offer turnkey energy solutions with focal markets being in Commercial building, Hospitality, Telecoms, Manufacturing, Retail and Agriculture. We specialize in assisting clients in designing, installing and retrofitting mechanical and electrical equipment, including renewable technologies, and implementing process improvements that use less energy and improve facility production while at the same time lowering the facility’s operating and maintenance costs. Get support today. Call us toll free on 0800 211 245.