Real-time electricity monitoring is an important tool in understanding when and where electricity is being used, and to find energy saving opportunities.
Traditionally, the only information building owners have had access to is what’s on their electric bill – a total power consumption value (kWh) for the past 30-60 days. It’s electricity that was consumed some time ago… nothing to do at that point but pay the bill. This applies to all building types, whether it be a residential, commercial, industrial, or government building.
If you’re not happy with the bill amount and want to do something about it then you can certainly look at energy saving tips, but beyond that the only way to understand why your electric bill is high is to see the full electricity usage details with a real-time monitor such as Eyedro. Electric utilities that have deployed smart meters sometimes share smart meter information via their website but it is still in 15 minute blocks and lags by 24 hours – better, but still not as good as real-time feedback. With real-time feedback you’re able to learn how often equipment is on, and how much it costs to operate, especially the larger more expensive power hogs. Here’s an example of a 20kW heater that the owner knew about but did not know how often it was actually turning on.
20kW Electric Heaters
At far less power and cost but equally interesting is the aquarium heater example shown here cycling 24 hours a day. The owner certainly enjoys their 80 gallon aquarium, but was surprised to learn the heater alone cost approximately $7 in electricity each month. Power consumption from the water pumps and lights (not shown here) increased the monthly cost further.
Aquarium Heater 280W
With real-time electricity monitoring you are provided with actionable intelligence because you can see exactly how much electricity is being consumed at any given point in time, and then keep an eye on consumption and costs before the bill arrives. No more surprises when your bill shows up!
Customers generally save energy after installing Eyedro because they learn why their electric bill costs are what they are, and do something about it. Minor changes to their daily routines have little impact on their comfort level but do have a positive impact on their electric bill.
This post is about a customer in Wellesley, Ontario, Canada that found a 20% savings in their electric bill within the first few days of having Eyedro installed. The family of 5 had already been in their home a few years and most of their major appliances were not very old.
Electric Water Heater Spike of 1750W
After installing Eyedro and letting it run for a couple of days, they quickly noticed large spikes within their normal electricity usage. The 1750W spikes clearly stood out and raised the question – Which appliance is that (in our home)?
During the next day, the family kept a laptop in the kitchen area with MyFreeMonitor.com streaming their electricity usage in real-time. It turned out that the spike was the electric water heater turning on for 20-30 minutes each time a hot water tap was turned on, even if only for a few seconds. Some quick math showed that the electric water heater was costing the family over $20 in electricity each month.
Electric Water Heater 20% Savings
The electric water heater was then replaced with a natural gas model on March 5th and, as can be seen in the before/after comparison graph of electricity consumption (kWh), this simple change has resulted in more than 20% savings on their monthly electric bill. Even once the costs for increased gas consumption are factored in they are still saving money!
Tell us about your experience with electric water heaters. Is it a significant cost on your electricity bill?
70% energy savings is quite an accomplishment, and one that exemplifies the benefit of doing energy saving projects in your organization. The larger the facility and electricity bill, the greater the opportunity to find savings and the greater the payback. This particular company is already profitable and drives awareness and energy saving initiatives as a social responsibility. This particular project was certainly a success.
The company operates a factory with approximately 100 employees between the office, warehouse, and production line. The production line requires the use of four large 3-phase pumps to move liquid throughout the building and production process. As part of the energy saving project, the team installed the Eyedro Business electricity monitor to measure the baseline electricity consumption and cost. Capturing proof of the before and after results was a requirement of the project for obvious reasons.
Before the project, the pumps ran continuously at a constant speed consuming a combined 800kWh per day, or $80/day if we assume $0.10/kWh. That’s approximately $2,400/month and $28,800/year. The project task was to install variable speed controllers to better match pump speed with demand. As can be seen below, the installation of the new controllers occurred on June 12th and was optimized by June 14th.
70% Energy Savings as Measured by Eyedro Electricity Monitor
The project reduced the daily electricity consumption by the four pumps from 800kWh to 200kWh, achieving a 70% energy savings and a cost savings of approximately $20,000 per year. Hidden benefits include less heat generated (which would have required air conditioning costs to offset the heat), and less wear on the motors. The team celebrated their success but didn’t stop there. Next stop is to upgrade the warehouse lighting, a project that is certain to achieve additional energy savings.