IMPROVING ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Improving energy efficiency involves reducing energy costs by decreasing its consumption. This is understood as the ratio of the achieved useful effect of a given object, technical device, or installation under typical conditions of use or operation to the amount of energy consumed by that object, technical device, or installation. It may also involve the provision of a service necessary to achieve this effect.
The goal of improving energy efficiency is to reduce energy consumption in a company, as mandated by the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of May 20, 2016. This is achieved through the implementation of projects aimed at improving energy efficiency, involving changes or enhancements in a facility, technical equipment, or installation, resulting in the greatest possible savings of primary energy.
Rational energy use and activities aimed at reducing energy consumption enable a company to operate more efficiently, cost-effectively, and become more environmentally friendly.
The range of possibilities for activities aimed at improving energy efficiency and thereby reducing operational costs for a company is very broad. In many cases, these activities do not require advanced technologies but are associated with typical optimization actions in the processes and energy infrastructure with small or medium investment outlays.
Such actions include:
- Production processes: More efficient use of compressed air, condensers, switches, and valves; use of automatic and integrated systems; efficient standby modes.
- Motors and drives: Increased use of electronic control devices, variable-speed drives, integrated user programming, frequency changes, high-efficiency electric motors.
- Fans, variable drives, and ventilation: New devices/systems increasing energy savings, utilization of natural ventilation.
- Active demand response management: Load management, peak load leveling systems.
- High-efficiency cogeneration: Combined heat and power generation devices.
- Heating and cooling: Heat pumps, new efficient boilers.
- Insulation and ventilation: Insulation of walls and roofs (low heat transfer coefficient), double or triple glazing in windows, passive heating and cooling, energy efficiency, and thermal modernization of the building.
- Hot water: Installation of new devices, their direct and efficient use in space heating.
- Lighting: Lighting system modernization, new efficient bulbs and resistors, digital control system circuits, use of motion detectors in commercial buildings.
- cooking and refrigeration – new, efficient devices, heat recovery systems,
- other equipment and devices – combined heat and power generation devices, new efficient devices, time controllers for optimal energy consumption, installation of capacitors to reduce reactive power, transformers with low losses,
- energy production from renewable sources and reduction of acquired energy – solar collectors and national thermal sources for obtaining hot water, heating, and cooling of rooms assisted by solar energy.
Improving energy efficiency is a key measure in reducing energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and lowering energy-related costs. There are many actions that can be taken to improve energy efficiency in various sectors of the economy.
Here are some key actions:
- Energy Audit: Conducting an energy audit helps identify areas where energy can be saved. This serves as a starting point for taking actions to improve energy efficiency.
- Thermal Insulation: Improving insulation in buildings, windows, and doors helps retain heat in winter and cooling in summer, reducing the need for heating and air conditioning.
- Renewable Energy: Utilizing renewable energy sources, such as photovoltaic panels and wind turbines, allows for the generation of electricity without greenhouse gas emissions.
- Efficient Lighting Technology: Using energy-efficient light sources like LEDs and lighting management systems significantly reduces energy consumption.
- Energy Efficiency in Industry: Implementing energy efficiency technologies in manufacturing processes, such as heat recovery and process optimization, can significantly lower energy consumption.
- Low-Emission Transport: Promoting public transportation, bicycles, electric cars, and other low-emission means of transportation helps reduce fossil fuel consumption.
- Energy Efficiency in Households: Using energy-efficient appliances, such as refrigerators, washing machines, and heaters, as well as temperature regulation in buildings, helps lower energy bills.
- Energy Management Systems: Implementing energy monitoring and management systems enables real-time control and optimization of energy consumption.
- Pipe Insulation and Water Heating Systems: improving pipe insulation and employing energy-efficient water heating systems contribute to reducing heat losses.
- Educational Programs and Awareness: educational initiatives and raising awareness among employees, residents, and other stakeholders about energy efficiency and ways to save energy can yield positive results
To approach energy efficiency improvement consciously, it is recommended to start with a comprehensive and thorough audit of the enterprise. An energy efficiency audit should be conducted based on current, representative, measurable, and identifiable data regarding energy consumption and power demand. During the audit, the technical condition of installations and equipment is assessed, areas where the highest amounts of energy, water, and heat are consumed are identified, and recommendations for minimizing excessive losses are prepared, taking economic considerations into account.