7 practices to reduce energy consumption in large consumers

Submitted by Sérgio Grassi on Mon, 08/12/2019 - 19:47

Cost reduction is crucial to improving your company's performance. In this article we list seven practices that can help reduce energy consumption in large consumers.


Implementing and maintaining practices day-to-day that are aimed at reducing energy consumption in large consumers is of great importance for everyone seeking to achieve energy efficiency and reduce energy costs.

Saving energy is associated with reducing costs but also with factors such as preserving natural resources. Given a scenario where energy is increasingly expensive, using it without waste is a challenge for large consumers. A study by ABESCO (Brazilian Association of Energy Conservation Service Companies) indicates that just between 2013 and 2016 Brazil wasted 143,647 GWh of energy, corresponding to a loss of $15.5 billion.

With this in mind we have drawn up a list of seven practices that can help reduce energy consumption by your company.

1 – Avoid basic waste

The first step to reduce the impact of increasing energy spending is avoid energy loss. To this end your company needs to map out its costs and adopt solutions that reduce waste. In addition, your company should perform an analysis of its electrical system and verify the state of repair of equipment.

Stopping visible waste, such as unnecessary lighting and recurring leaks – can make all the difference in reducing your company's energy consumption costs.

Often the installation of an efficient Energy and Utilities Management System can improve a company's energy performance, improving productivity in the performance of energy and utilities management functions.

Also read: 7 Reasons for Investing in an Energy and Utilities Management System

In the corporate environment, where many people consume electricity at the same time, the chance of energy being wasted is even greater. Here it is very important to keep an eye on routine tasks that require energy because inattention can lead to losses and significant increases in your energy bill.

2 – Ensure the proper use of energy

Verify that work procedures include activities that ensure proper energy use. It is also advisable to train employees so that they do not waste energy in their daily activities.

The peak time of the Brazilian electricity grid occurs between 5:30 PM and 9:30 PM, on average, and during this period energy consumption and energy prices are higher. This being the case, it is recommended to adapt the work routine to avoid excess consumption during this period.

There are several ways to use energy efficiently:

  • Smart habits: correct use of electrical equipment
  • Smart projects: use creative solutions that help reduce energy consumption. Design environments to use as much natural light as possible and appropriately scaled electric circuits.
  • Efficient equipment: In Brazil, verify that electrical equipment carries an "A" rating from Procel. In the United States, look for the Energy Star seal.

3 – Verify that energy consumption by each consumer is metered.

The digital electricity consumption meter is a tracking and monitoring device for energy use that can be found in a variety of models and has several functions.

It is advisable to provide energy consumption meters that allow the transmission of data using communication protocols and ensure precision of information about consumption. Energy consumption meters are electronic devices used in acquiring energy consumption data that automatically capture information about electricity consumption, and can provide rapid and precise measurements of energy consumption.

The installation of these devices in large companies can be crucial for good energy performance and for the optimization of electricity consumption.

4 – Identify consumers with significant energy consumption

It is advisable to implement a routine of defining reduction targets. To achieve this it is worth investing in consumption analysis by the sector and identifying the points of highest consumption where the most waste occurs and which improvements should be made in the management of each sector.

This requires a consumption study of each sector of the company. This makes it easier to identify the principal consumption points, verify where the most significant energy waste is, and direct improvements that should be implemented.

In addition, it is important that there be someone responsible for the analysis of energy consumption to organize invoices and verify anomalies in the reading of meters.

Other important tips:

  • Verify and order maintenance of equipment
  • Check that electrical panels are always secure and well identified
  • Establish procedures and schedules for the use of shared equipment and spaces

Also read: How to perform energy planning successfully

5 – Implement an energy monitoring routine

Obtaining a quality energy performance analysis for your company is highly important. Adopting an effective Energy Management System can promote the most efficient use of available energy sources. This being the case, it is important to understand the relevant process variables and how their proper use is vital for achieving continuous improvement of energy performance.

According to the ISO 50001 standard, the relevant variables are quantifiable parameters that significantly impact energy performance and that routinely change, such as product temperature, production rate, pressure, leaks, and climate indicators.

Monitoring, measurement, and analysis of the characteristics of the operations and processes of an organization are prerequisites for achieving significant results in efficient use of energy. This should happen at planned intervals and includes:

  • The identification of processes with significant energy use and related variables
  • Energy Waste Indicators
  • The effectiveness of action plans for achieving objectives and targets
  • The evaluation of real versus expected energy consumption

6 – Investment in the analysis of energy performance indicators

Create teams focused on analyzing indicators and defining rewarding projects that will ensure performance improvements in specific consumption.

The definition of Energy Waste Indicators includes the implementation of operational control and allows evaluation process performance at defined intervals and implementation of corrective actions when necessary.

The implementation of this system is greatly facilitated when the company uses a computerized platform. Among other advantages, this allows the real-time use of information that is important for management and creates a database for proper planning.

7 – Adopt an efficient Energy Management System

Traditionally, much of the effort of management systems is directed toward reducing losses and waste. This involves the implementation of techniques and tools focused on operational efficiency.

Here it is advisable to create an Energy Management System that uses its own platform to digitize consumption data, such as relevant process variables, which are the critical operational parameters that directly or indirectly influence the energy performance of the equipment or installation.

The activity of defining these variables correctly and determining the optimal operational points are the great secrets of optimizing energy performance.

Also read: 10 capabilities that should not be missing in an effective energy and utilities management system

We know that electricity is highly important, so we should use it with responsibility and care. Awareness of the entire team is essential for the smooth operation of a management system.

Commercial Director, Viridis

Viridis’s Commercial Director. He has worked for 35 years at Vallourec in energy, maintenance, and industrial assembling. He managed the energy and utilities project at the Vallourec & Sumitomo (VSB) plant. He holds a BEng in Electrical Engineering and graduate degrees in Industrial Automation and Business Management. He is a member of CB-116, which developed the ABNT NBR ISO 50,001 – Energy Management standard. He was responsible for making Vallourec the first steel company in Brazil to achieve this certification. He is a member of the Board of Renewable Energy and Oil & Gas at FIEMG.

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