Carbon Conservation & Energy Efficiency


Bruce Rowse & Team

Posts Tagged ‘save energy’

Tracking Energy Use

Monday, September 20th, 2010

I’ve decided to write this blog in a somewhat different format than usual. I thought I should share some of my observations in tracking energy use since I’ve been involved for a little while now in installing, analysing, presenting and monitoring ‘real time tracking systems’ (or ‘carbonrealtime’) as we refer to it.

I was actually really shocked to learn recently -when an environment officer at one of the councils posed the question to a small business audience, whether they knew how much power they used, how much their tariff rates were or how much their actual bills were- that most didn’t have a clue. Out of about 35 people only one knew. The rest had no idea! Even more surprising was the fact that a few of these audience members were accountants and financial advisors. They just automatically pay their bills both at home and for their businesses. How are you supposed to reduce your electricity use, cost and of course greenhouse emissions if you don’t even know (or care) how much you use and pay?

So there are a number of ways to overcome this problem of knowing your electricity use. Starting with the analysis of basic yearly use of the bi or three monthly bills you can get a bit of an idea what’s happening throughout the year. However, many of the larger sites already have interval electricity meters. These record power consumption every 15 minutes and eventually send some aggregated data to the suppliers. This information can be requested free of charge from the electricity retailer and we usually do this on our client’s behalf. Having access to at least a year’s worth of data is extremely useful. If you know how to compile the data and what to look out for one can get a really good idea of a site’s usage profile and how to save energy.

If your site doesn’t have interval metering another option is to install temporary electricity loggers on various distribution boards. Again the data obtained from this is very useful and we often do this for specific circuits at some of the sites. However, the latest revolution is in online tracking. We have developed an affordable real time tracking system that is extremely easy to install and then it’s plug and play. Once set up the device sends the data through the internet and can be accessed from anywhere. The user-friendly interface on the monitor presents all the data in an easy to understand language with graphs and images that don’t need a physics degree to understand. Some of our systems have everything incorporated such as water, gas, electricity consumption/generation and temperature. All these are highly valuable tools for any facilities or environment managers and even for educational purposes.

The ‘carbonrealtime’ systems are used in households and offices greatly reducing energy consumption but schools and council buildings have also installed them to keep an eye on their energy use. From some of these systems a few sites have already identified huge wastage that occur out of operating hours during the night or weekends. The findings from larger council site had effected changes in the HVAC BMS in relation to public holidays, starting and finishing times or discovering faulty equipment or in one instance double charging of electricity over 12 years! Lowering the base load is another useful outcome of using such a system. The tracking system can also be employed to overcome electricity apportioning disputes between tenants, which we often have to investigate for our clients.

With electricity prices going up constantly and with the emphasis on reducing greenhouse emissions; monitoring your electricity consumption is no doubt one of the most important steps towards averting huge electricity bills and the threats of climate change.

How self-limiting beliefs are wasting money and energy

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Last year VECCI – the Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce and Industry – undertook a survey of business attitudes to climate change.

A surprising – and very disappointing result – was that many businesses believed they had done all they could do to minimise their energy use and carbon footprint.

This self-limiting belief means that these businesses are wasting money and energy, and producing greenhouse gases – needlessly.

One of our customers, who has already cut their energy use by up to 40% across a range of facilities, had us do a quick search for further energy saving opportunities late last year. This organisation is well known as being a leader in energy conservation and saving. Were we able to identify further opportunities to reduce their energy use, within their payback period? The answer to that is a resounding YES.

Henry Ford had a great saying which I love to quote. “If you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.”

If you turn all your computers off at the end of the day and don’t leave lights on in empty rooms you might think you are doing all you can to save energy. But that would be wrong. For example, you probably still have opportunity to delamp (remove excess lamps in areas that are too bright), and to save computer power through aggressive power management settings. And that’s without investing any capital! If you have some money to invest you can save any more, and get a return on investment the banks would kill for.

If you want to cut your energy use, you can!

Computers Off Australia

Monday, December 1st, 2008

Computers Off Australia is a not-for-profit organisation and Green IT labelling initiative designed to educate and recognise organisations that are doing their part to reduce their carbon footprint through the implementation of power management and virtualisation technology.

We all agree that computers are a great invention, and can be used to unlock all sorts of social, economic and environmental benefits – including reducing the carbon impact of our modern lifestyle.

But when they’re left idling for hours on end, they’re contributing to the greenhouse gas problem. For most of us, its an easy way to reduce the carbon impact of our computers by a third, a half or even more.

Go to to find out more