Managing energy consumption is a major issue confronting many industrial companies. While some companies have been slow to change in the past - many are faced with rising energy demand costs and realize that the status quo is no longer the standard way of doing business.
Concerned about monitoring its own facility’s energy usage, MCD, Inc., a Wisconsin-based specialty print finishing company, teamed up with Informing Ecological Design, LLC, a Madison-based consulting firm, to monitor the printing plant’s electricity use and help manage their peak energy demand.
Kevin Little, Ph.D., founder of Informing Ecological Design, managed the project. “Because our client is a commercial specialty print finisher, they have specific equipment that draws high levels of power. MCD’s utility charges are on both a time of day and demand rate and they are very mindful of the rising costs associated with energy demand charges. They are also looking comprehensively at the environmental impact of their business,” explains Little.
Firms like Ecological Design use their expertise to help their clients track and understand energy use in buildings, while providing informational tools that help save money, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and make better energy decisions.
Specifically, MCD needed real-time access to their energy data to better understand how to manage their electric energy usage. Utility companies charge commercial buildings a fee for the power that they use (peak power draw), as well as for the electric energy that they actually consume. In addition, the time of day makes a difference in the rates charged.
To monitor MCD’s energy usage, Little chose a web-based HOBO® U30/Wi-Fi Remote Monitoring System manufactured by Massachusetts-based Onset Computer Corporation. The monitoring system consists of a Wi-Fi-based data logging unit and a pulse input adapter that monitors the plant’s electric energy consumption. The HOBO U30 uses MCD’s existing wireless network and is connected to the local utility’s pulse-equipped meter.