The Technology of Energy Conservation
Energy Conservation, or "Energy Avoidance" as I like to call it, is an overlooked means of rapidly attaining our energy goals. The technology and the means to reduce our country's electrical use by 20%, or more, has existed for years. We've been achieving these results, and better, in factories and large commercial buildings for nearly thirty-one years. We do this by focusing on the wasted power that is already inherent in motors, lighting systems, electrical distribution systems, and air conditioning and refrigeration. Furthermore, we combine these existing technologies and apply them in a way that yields a very quick (2 to 3 years) return for the business owner. With a twenty to thirty year life expectancy, they will pay for themselves many times over. Yet, in spite of the ease with which this can be accomplished, energy conservation still needs to be "sold."
After all these years, I remain puzzled as to why. I suppose part of it may simply be attributable to human nature and that energy conservation has the connotation of "medicine." People don't naturally do things that are "good" for them. Part of it may simply be that it's a mundane approach and not exotic enough for some folks. Yet, time after time, I've seen companies that were glad they implemented our systems and sorry they waited so long. Especially, when they realize how easy it was and required absolutely no change in their businesses. However, each new customer is like starting all over again.
Ironically, when I began my business in 1978, there were already government incentives to encourage businesses to save energy. One was a 10 percent Investment Tax Credit (ITC), and the other an additional 10 percent Energy Tax Credit, along with the standard depreciation. In many cases, these reduced the payback period on our systems to just a few months. For some unfathomable reason, both were allowed to expire (the Energy Tax Credit in 1981 and the ITC a little while later). Since then, a limited number of rebate programs offered by individual utility companies have come and gone. However, they were usually short-lived and targeted at specific devices, like energy saving ballasts, or energy efficient motors and chillers. Certainly, nothing that would encourage conservation on a universal scale. I believe that if these tax credits were reenacted and not confined to just a handful of specific products (no doubt inspired by special interests) we can gain near overnight relief from our energy problems and it will certainly cost a lot less than building new generating plants, expanding the national grid system, and developing alternative fuels.
Think about it. If EASI had it's energy savings systems installed in every business in America and reduced wasted electrical consumption by 20%, the cost of all goods would go down, there would be no need for additional generating capacity, we would free up 20% of the capacity of our existing electrical grid, we would reduce the amount of carbon based fuels being used to generate electricity, carbon emissions would go down overnight, our dependence on foreign oil would go down and we would buy ourselves the time to develop, and make commercially feasible, alternative energy sources.
With, or without, government incentives, energy conservation is, without doubt, our best and most immediate hope in solving our energy problem. And, it can be done with no change in our lifestyle.
About the Author:
Joe Merlo is founder and CEO of Energy Automation Systems Inc. (EASI). He started EASI in New York more than 31 years ago. EASI provides guaranteed, electric energy savings for commercial and industrial companies such as GE, BP, Sabic, Hampton Inns, ConAgra, and others world-wide. http://energysavingbusiness.com/