How Energy Intelligence Can Help the Bottom Line3 Nov, 2014 By: Dave Perrotta
Wanting to learn more about Energy Intelligence, imageSource spoke to Dave Perrotta, VP of Operations and engineering for Electronic Systems Protection, Inc. (ESP/ SurgeX), for his perspective on energy and cost management practices.
IS: How do you define energy intelligence, and why has it become an important concept for ESP/SurgeX?
DP: Energy intelligence is a broad term we use to illustrate the importance of tracking power conditions in order to gain a better understanding of your overall power. This includes monitoring, managing and solving power-related problems that occur on a daily basis, as well as properly protecting equipment from power issues that create disruptions.
Power disturbances happen all the time and cause equipment disruption, downtime and equipment failure. In many instances, we never even know when a power issue is occurring until it’s too late. With higher energy intelligence, imaging professionals can reduce operating costs and downtime while improving the performance of equipment.
IS: What opportunities related to energy intelligence exist for Imaging and IT professionals?
DP: Power protection and energy intelligence solutions are considered one of the safest investments any business can integrate to save money. A recent analyst report conducted by BEI, Inc. for the imaging industry showed that operating costs can be reduced by as much as $205 per machine, per year. When you talk about the cost of downtime and lost productivity from power-related disturbances and the potential to be more energy efficient, the savings are even higher.
The best first step for any imaging dealer, reseller or IT professional, is to perform an energy analysis. With some simple-to-use hardware, you can gain immediate insight into current power quality, and record all future transients, under-voltages, or other power events to raise awareness about power quality concerns and promote energy intelligence. Intelligence starts with education and the biggest opportunities for imaging and IT professionals revolve around sharing knowledge about power related issues and taking the right corrective measures before disruptions or catastrophic events.
IS: What are the current priorities of businesses regarding energy intelligence?
DP: An October 2012 study by Deloitte found that an overwhelming majority of financial executives (85 percent), “…view reducing electricity costs as essential to staying competitive from both a financial perspective and an image perspective.” That same study revealed that 83 percent of those business leaders believe it is somewhat to extremely difficult to achieve their company’s current goals with respect to electricity and energy management practices.
This means the potential exists for you to present energy management solutions to decision makers to help them meet their desires for sustainability and lower operating costs. Your responsibility is to recommend answers to them that result in real electrical cost savings. Fortunately, with the right tools, it’s easy to document how much energy they’re using, and to identify opportunities for savings and added protection.
IS: What practical solutions can be implemented to gain energy intelligence and reduce energy usage?
DP: Understanding power down to the plug level is an important part of energy intelligence. A UPS installed upstream from a server or panel does nothing to protect from surges, and offers no back-up protection for anything downstream. Internal surges over 1,000 Volts can occur many times a day, and surges account for over 50% of all power disturbances. When people see how an HVAC system cycling on affects power feeding a single printer over the short and long-term; it makes a compelling case for installing premium surge protection and power conditioning equipment.
Remote energy management is also key to gaining energy intelligence. Being alerted to downtime and power disruptions in real-time allows a technician to identify the problem and fix it immediately. We had a customer burn through seven flat panel displays before they investigated power as a culprit. By simply plugging our Envision PCS energy diagnostics tool into the line, we were able to immediately identify a wiring fault as the cause and implement an easy solution that eliminated the problem. Getting people to understand it’s not the machine that’s causing the problem, but the power going into it, is a fundamental part of being energy intelligent.
When talking about ways to save energy, there’s an endless list of small and big steps employees and management can take to reduce waste. Some are obvious, like not opening windows when the heat or AC is running, while some are common sense, like not keeping mobile devices plugged in if they’re fully charged or shutting down monitors when not in use as opposed to using screen savers. For actual buildings, companies can do things like cycle power off for non-essential electronics during off hours, install weather stripping on windows for better insulation, reset thermostats automatically in accordance with the seasons, turn lights off during downtimes, and invest in yearly (at least) HVAC cleanings.
With the right diagnostic and protective tools, it’s not hard to raise your energy intelligence and reduce costs related to power issues and waste.
Dave Perrotta is VP of Operations and Engineering for Electronic Systems Protection, Inc. (ESP/ SurgeX), and has engineered patented power protection diagnostics and energy management solutions in the imaging industry for over 10 years. He has an extensive background in ops & engineering management, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Electrical Engineering from Worchester Polytechnic Institute, a Master’s in Business Admin. from Baker College; is an IEEE member & is SPHR certified. ESP/SurgeX offers a complete line of AC power solutions for surge protection, power conditioning, diagnostic analysis, and control of sensitive electrical and electronic equipment. Visit http://www.espei.com for information.