Operations and maintenance (O&M) activities don’t have to be a drain on an industrial energy manager or facility operator’s time when energy monitoring software, connecting data to action, is in place.
If you’re a plant energy manager, you know your facility operators have To-Do lists a mile long. When operators are charged with keeping a large facility running strong and maintaining the machines that drive productivity and profit, they may have little time left to spend on mastering energy consumption. Yet, from an energy manager’s perspective O&M is a very important activity.
Sometimes not everyone has a clear picture as to just how much O&M affects energy efficiency. In many cases facility maintenance staff either may not know what measures to take to increase energy efficiency, or maybe they do know, but see too many barriers to accomplishing O&M improvements. The bottom line is that everyone needs to get involved in supporting an O&M effort.
Driving Success for O&M Efforts
So how does an energy manager promote O&M activity to drive energy efficiency, so that all of a facility’s energy stakeholders understand the benefits and agree it’s a priority?
First, it’s important that everyone recognize the benefits of O&M actions as low-cost, no-cost ways of achieving significant savings on a facility’s energy bills.
Second, in addition to energy and resource savings, everyone should understand that a well-run O&M program can:
- Increase plant safety
- Ensure that the life expectancy of machines and equipment is achieved
- Facilitate compliance with local and federal energy management legislation
Third, you need to figure out how to gain traction on those O&M efforts without compromising productivity. A big part of that answer lies in the tools your company uses to monitor and analyze energy consumption. With the right tools—tools that get you the exactly the information you need, and that facilitate a collaborative approach—O&M projects don’t have to be a drag on anyone’s day. In an ideal situation your energy monitoring program should provide your team with clear information, leading to specific actions and reasonable deadlines that are delegated to team members. That way everyone knows what the plan is, who’s doing what, and when tasks are due to be completed.
O&M may sometimes be seen as a distraction, but when your team is “all-in” and you have the right tools in place, your O&M accomplishments will feel like a big win for everybody in your company. In fact, your plant may become the model that the rest of the enterprise looks to for best practices in meeting industrial energy efficiency goals.
For More Information …
If you’re in the process of selecting energy monitoring software, check out our blog post on Energy Tracking Software: Do You Know What You Need?
For detailed O&M information, including a chapter on O&M for specific equipment types from boilers, chillers, and cooling towers to fans, pumps, and motors, download the U.S. Department of Energy’s Operations & Maintenance Best Practices guide: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/femp/pdfs/omguide_complete.pdf