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Validation of Energy Efficiency Projects: Can You Run Effective Energy Management Programs Without It?

By V. Martin and M. A. Falk


In its most basic step by step form, it sounds quite simple and logical. 1.Find an opportunity to improve efficiency. 2. Carry out the upgrade. 3. Realize the great energy savings that were obtained through the modification. 4. Lay claim to bragging rights as the one who obtained the most savings, the best Return on Investment (ROI), or the quickest payback. There's only one problem with this scenario. In most cases, the end results are so encumbered with other complex details of the operation or so difficult to prove that the most adequate response to a success story is "Oh, really?". Welcome to the world of unverified optimization projects and energy savings claims. The determination of energy savings involves a comparison of the energy use of a process, system or facility before an energy efficient measure is applied to the energy use after the measure is installed and operational. More accurately, the actual savings can be defined as the difference between "what is" and "what would have been". Since competition exists within organizations for limited capital resources, project approval is based on the principle that the short or long term benefits of a specific upgrade exceed the investment potential of other proposed expenditures. When a typical investment is made, one presupposes that the investor will be interested in tracking performance. When companies invest in energy efficient upgrades, it is assumed that an analysis of some sort will be conducted to provide managers with the data necessary for gauging success. However, in most cases, beyond the cursory and qualitative observations, meaningful analysis is simply not conducted and the true success remains forever as an unanswered question. The verification of a project's ultimate performance can be established through a number of means. The most objective approach involves the services of an independent third party with a high level of expertise in the specific technology employed in the upgrade. Popular targets for applying energy efficient upgrades are fan, pump and blower systems since they collectively represent the largest percentage of motor driven load. The experience gained by FLOWCARE Engineering Inc. in reviewing this specific equipment forms the basis of this paper. Reasons why there is reticence to conducting a validation review of a project, the problems that can be encountered and the approach that has proved to be consistently successful are explored herein

Topics: Energy Efficiency Projects, Project Evaluation
Publisher: Energy Systems Laboratory (
Year: 2000
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