Intelligent energy management: central to business success

Intelligent energy management: central to business success

For businesses, energy management can be as beneficial as it is multifaceted. As a process, it involves the presentation of a financial business case for business improvement; it involves improving efficiency through changes in attitude and behaviour. It is about improving your bottom line. Yet, at its core, it remains a sub-set of the wider ‘environmental’ agenda.

Energy management is designed to help you derive a more enlightened approach to energy usage or to encourage the people within your business to recognise that continuing to consume materials at today’s rate is not an option. From an environmental perspective, it is important to note that the obvious benefits for your business are translatable into wider societal benefits.

Wherever talk turns towards the relationship between business and society, the topic of pollution is never very far away – and with the introduction of this latter theme comes the potential for a greater understanding of energy management and the role plays in boosting business performance.

MalcolmLet’s start by breaking pollution broken down into its three main types: aesthetic, thermal and physical.

Aesthetic pollution concerns things as diverse as billboard advertising, telephone towers, open storage of rubbish and such like. I will not dwell on these here.

Thermal pollution tends to occur through the use of equipment such as boilers and turbines. These produce significant amounts of waste heat as a result of the electricity conversion process. This is released into the atmosphere or into water courses, and can have a detrimental effect on flora and fauna.

Of course, ‘waste heat’ also has a detrimental effect on your business’s costs. That’s why heat recovery processes are now crucially integral to most manufacturing processes. Such processes reduce the cost of consumption and typically result in significant savings and increased productivity. Is your business wasting heat? If so, it’s also throwing money away.

Physical pollution is the form mostly associated with climate change and global warming. In solid form, this type of pollution is a best unsightly but can be harmful as a result of the release of toxins and the contamination of land, air and waterways.

Liquid pollutants are mostly associated with transport – an extreme example being that of an oil slick. Accidental or illegal industrial discharges add to the problem.

Gas pollutants, are made up of SO2, NOx gases, hydrocarbons but, particularly CO2 from industrial processes, homes and transport. CFCs from ventilation and air-conditioning units are another significant source.

It is primarily these gases – which cause acid rain, ozone depletion and the ‘greenhouse’ effect – that are the cause of climate change. Slowly mounting concern and awareness about this have led to a series of annual UN global conferences to attempt to find collective solutions to the threat of climate change.

As a result of these meetings the EU and UK governments have created a series of Directives to reduce and control greenhouse gases in line with a series of targets.

A tangible outcome of these Directives has been a series of so-called ‘carbon taxes’ levied on all of us over the last decade. These measures (CCL, CRC, EU ETS, for example) will be described in a future article, but we can say for now simply that they are the legislative drivers of energy management.

At its lightest touch energy management is about compliance with these drivers, so that is the environmental wrap around the subject. But it can be so much more than that. Through considered engagement with energy management, businesses can turn a compliance requirement into a discipline that can be converted into a competitive advantage. At Tadea, we know that business and environmental sustainability go hand-in-hand. It is part of our central mission to help other businesses understand this too.