When it comes to efficiency and comfort, sometimes it helps to centralize things a bit. So, I’ve been working with Mark Duncan, Facilities Services Manager in Florida, on the implementation of a complete energy management system. We selected ASI, which allows us to remotely monitor HVAC systems at the selected properties. Since it works with our existing equipment, ASI is a cost-effective choice for us.
But what exactly is this ASI system, and what’s it going to do for us? ASI is essentially an energy management computer that removes a lot of guesswork! With the ASI system, Mark can log on remotely to see how much energy is being used at the properties in real time. ASI also scores that data and creates reports for review. These reports help keep us on track to save energy and reduce operating costs.
Complete Energy Management
The reports generated by ASI are useful for helping us keep track of our energy use, but the real-time monitoring has another great benefit: alarms! If too much energy is being used by an HVAC system, an alarm is reported. When an alarm comes up, the ASI system automatically emails the site manager, district manager and Mark. These alarms help us uncover HVAC inefficiencies, and get them fixed quickly. Comfort is never sacrificed!
Our Five Storage Properties Currently Using ASI
We acquired two properties with the ASI system already installed: Extra Space Storage Palm Harbor and Extra Space Storage Carrollwood. So, we were familiar with ASI. Knowing that the system was already working for us, we decided to install it in three test properties with the highest electrical bills: Extra Space Storage North Miami and Extra Space Storage Miami Gardens and Extra Space Storage Bonita Springs. We wanted to lower the electric bills at these properties without sacrificing comfort, and using ASI seemed to be the best way to beat the Florida heat without spending so much!
Staying away from High Demand
The ASI system monitors energy demand, automatically making some adjustments when needed. Monitoring demand is very important. For a commercial building, the largest portion of the electrical bill is often determined by demand.
The electrical bill reflects the highest demand during any 15-minute window of the month, not the total kilowatt-hours (kWh) consumed. So, if a property were using 150 kW for only 20 minutes in a month, even if the rest of the month averaged a modest 50 kW, the charge on the bill would reflect that high demand of 150 kW! As you can see, it’s important to stay away from high demand.
Energy Savings with Lowered Demand
We’ve reduced our energy costs at these test sites by lowering our demand, and fixing the inefficiencies unveiled by the ASI system. While exact figures vary by site, we’ve experienced around a 35 percent reduction in energy demand. That reduction will trim thousands of dollars from the electrical bills each year. Plus, the payback for installing the ASI system is just 24 to 30 months.
I’m excited about what’s happening so far with our test properties in Florida. We’re considering expanding the use of the ASI system to the Baltimore area, where we would save not only on cooling costs, but on heating costs as well! I’m looking forward to seeing how we can further implement complete energy management systems to help us uncover inefficiencies, save energy and lower operating costs. After all, there’s nothing like being efficient and comfortable at the same time!
Are you surprised that demand plays such a big role in the electrical bills in commercial buildings? How are you working to lower your electrical bills?