The question that industrial decision-makers will most frequently ask about energy cost control is "How much can I save?" The question that really should be asked is, "How much am I likely to save?"
How much can I save?
The average industrial facility can expect to reduce its energy consumption somewhere within a range of 10% to 20%. Keep in mind that this describes an average range of expectations. Some facilities can capture more savings, some less. If you want a more precise number, you will need to conduct an energy audit—a facilitywide study of energy inputs, uses and losses.
Keep in mind that energy audits are a very human process, refl ecting the skills and experience of the team that conducts them. Ten different audit teams can examine the same facility—and develop 10 different sets of recommendations. Their findings may generally overlap, but each report will present different cost-benefit evaluations, suggested priorities or even unique findings. I say "10% to 20%" because of the following sources:
How much am I likely to save?
I wish more people would ask this question. My answer involves the following checklist. The more times you can answer with a "yes" to these questions, the more likely you are to achieve savings (or the higher you will be on that range of potential savings).
Will you conduct an energy audit?
Will your staff know the purpose of the audit and not be intimidated by it?
Will your facility support energy cost control as an ongoing process rather than as a one-time project?
Will your top management stand behind the goals and accountabilities set by an energy management plan, or ignore them after a year has passed?
Will your staff be responsive to energy awareness training?
Will operations, maintenance and procurement be willing to change the way they do things by incorporating energy best practices into their work habits? Take heart. No one answers "yes" to all of these points. But, as you achieve more "yes" answers, the more you are likely to save.