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Tricks Of The Trade: Energy Usage Patterns

Written by Tricks Of The Trade Columnist. Posted in Ask The Expert, Columnists, Energy, Featured Post, Magazine, Professional Development, Topics, Tricks of the Trade

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Published on January 21, 2014 with 1 Comment

By B. Kevin Folsom, CEP
Published in the November 2013 issue of Today’s Facility Manager

QWhat is the best or most effective energy efficiency recommendation you can make for facility managers?

Behzad Imani
San Francisco, CA

AThis is not something that can be answered in one part because there are three primary functions: consumption, efficiency, and unit cost. However, I can say the most effective way to begin is with consumption; if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. There are ways to measure electricity use in 15 minute snapshots, but the data is quite vast and difficult to manage. This is useful to highly skilled energy managers and/or energy consultants.

A monthly basis is the easiest way to start with all utilities—and the numbers are served to you every month via your bill. Simply record the consumption reported on the bill into a spreadsheet. It will require a minimum of three years for the information to become fully meaningful and useful. If you can find a way to record this information three years back, that is the most effective, immediate start. Once you have a good handle on this, you can begin to see the cause and effect on system changes with less guesswork.

About Tricks Of The Trade Columnist

Tricks Of The Trade Columnist

Folsom is director of campus operations at Trinity Christian Academy in Addison, TX. Previously, he was director of facilities & plant operations, and energy procurement & efficiency at Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, TX, where he worked for 25 years. He is the recipient of numerous awards from the associations of Higher Education Facility Officers and Energy Engineers for facility and energy management practices, industry leadership and involvement, and writing. He has also provided facilities assessment consulting to several organizations through All questions have been submitted via the “Ask The Expert” portion of the magazine’s web site. To pose a question, visit this link.

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  1. I would suggest the first step is to develop a depth of understanding of what you’re paying for, how much you’re paying and when you’re paying for it. Most organizations are not concerned about saving energy, they are concerned about saving $. From my experience, very few organizational “energy managers” have a thorough and knowledgeable enough understanding of the rates, rate elements and pricing signals to make guided decisions on saving energy/$.

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