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RCM Exchange

Control Systems

An energy management control system (EMCS) will likely be installed in any new facility. An EMCS is a powerful tool to help save energy and it can also provide historical monitoring functions - useful when diagnosing problems such as a demand spike on an electric bill.

The EMCS needs to be programmed to provide historical monitoring or trend logs of equipment performance or space temperature measurements. You could program the EMCS to give you temperature readings in a particular room every minute, but because an EMCS typically has a maximum number of trend points, it would save only a few days-worth of information. If you reprogrammed it to record the temperature every 10 minutes, you may be able to get a trend log for a whole month. You could also trend the “on” and “off” cycles of equipment.

Many EMCSs also have electric load-shedding capabilities, typically accomplished by:

  • Prioritizing loads. For example, an electric domestic hot water tank could be shed first when the predetermined maximum load is reached.
  • Duty cycling equipment. For example, turning HVAC equipment on for only a few minutes over a one-hour period. This “on” period is rotated from one piece of equipment to another.

If a facility has a high demand charge, different load-shedding strategies can provide substantial savings. Reducing the demand by 20 kW each month, at an average rate, would provide annual savings of about $1,450. If this could be done at 20 facilities, the annual savings from demand-shedding alone would be about $28,900.

Attend any training classes offered to the maintenance and operations staff. Consider videotaping the sessions to provide orientation and training for new staff.