June 16, 2016

How To Self-Assess Your Building’s Load Profile

June 16, 2016 | by Cully Meier

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Load Factor demonstrates the amount of energy usage in a period of time, versus if the facility was operating at its maximum peak over the entire period, showing the building’s variance in usage.

Your electric bill consists of energy usage and demand charges, which help calculate the building’s load factor. Calculating the load factor requires actual kilowatt-hours used during the billing period, the peak demand in kilowatts, and the number of days in the billing period. All of this information can be found on your electric bill, which allows self assessment of your building’s load factor.

Load Factor (%) = Kilowatt-hours (kWh) / (Maximum Demand Peak (kW) x Days in the period x 24 hours)

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This number is represented as a decimal value, which, in turn, demonstrates how consistently a building utilizes its power capacity.

Guidelines for Analyzing Your Load Factorusage_1

100% – There is little or no variation between high and low demand usage and the only room for saving is by reducing your overall baseload.

100%-70% – There is some variance in the building’s demand usage, such as peaks being high during the day and low at night, and there is slight room for improvement in your business’ energy use.

70%-50% – The building has variance in its peak demand that would amount to significant energy savings, and would be a great candidate for our ADMS

50%-0% – Begin to examine many quick fixes such as lighting, outdated HVAC units, look into building controls/automation systems, and look into the potential for a solar array.

The Importance of Demand Spikes & How to Reduce Them

With demand spikes, there is a lot of wasted capacity that could have been used but was not, due to high usage at one time and little usage at another. These spikes are expensive, as you end up paying for that capacity even if you do not use it all the time. Demand control will help level spikes and will fill in the wasted capacity to minimize demand charges with the emphasis on not necessarily how much energy is used, but when and how it is used.

Determining energy usage with the load factor formula is the first step in beginning the process of combating high energy costs. Due to demand playing a significant role in energy charges, it is important to implement actions that take into consideration not only energy consumption, but also demand peaks. Some of the ways to increase the load factor and reduce your demand spikes is through lighting retrofits, HVAC upgrades, and controls systems. All of these improvements will help with the overall base load and some peak reduction.

Lighting

Significantly improve efficiency by reducing your electricity usage, and lowers the building’s base load. Halogen and T12 light bulbs are outdated and energy inefficient, but upgrading to LED, T5, or T8 greatly improve your efficiency. Many utilities offer lighting rebates to help with your lighting retrofits.

HVAC Upgrades

Helps with efficiency, and can help reduce the magnitude of HVAC demand spikes, but will still spike frequently if not properly controlled. The payback period on a new HVAC unit alone is generally not less than 20 years, if it ever pays back. Typical HVAC unit’s useful life of the system is around 20-30 years, depending on the manufacturer. Newer systems are more efficient, but do not pro-
vide reasonable ROI.

Controls Package/Building Automation System

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Synchronizes all of the building’s operational systems, like HVAC units, lighting, chillers, VAVs, etc., and monitors the way facilities use energy. They are extremely helpful, but can only do so much without an alternative energy source.

How EnergyLink Can Help You

EnergyLink’s ADMS custom creates building system algorithms to smooth out energy demand spikes and maximize energy savings. By installing a renewable energy source and combining it with a buildings controls package, EnergyLink can help you reduce your energy bills by 25% or more.

Your energy utilizing systems can be connected to our automation controller using custom algorithms to modify how you use power, and, in turn, how you are being billed. EnergyLink services offer a substantial solution by creating ways to minimize energy costs once it is determined that your building’s load factor is low.

Self-assessing your usage by calculating the load factor with a simple formula can help you evaluate your needs in energy management systems that can be consulted and provided to you by EnergyLink.

 

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