Previous research indicates there are additional (often unreported) benefits from saving energy.1,2 This paper identifies these "additional benefits" and describes how to calculate their value.3,4 In addition, we found a high percentage of facility managers experienced some of these benefits. For example, in a recent survey, 92% of facility managers experienced reduced maintenance material costs as a result of energy conservation (primarily because lights, filters and other equipment lasted longer when operated less hours per year). Due to site-specific factors, not all facility managers will experience every benefit, however a high percentage of respondents (92%, 71% and 63%) did experience three of the six "additional benefits" surveyed. Because facility managers do receive some of these "additional benefits", we developed two approaches to quantify their value. When applicable, these benefits should yield a direct and verifiable dollar savings a majority of the time. Via a simple example, we calculated these benefits to be worth approximately 31% of additional value beyond the direct energy dollar savings (and that was only applying half of the possible benefits). There are other benefits that defy quantification, some of which we list at the end of the paper for use in future research and when evaluating energy conservation projects and programs.
During a diet, when a person does not "over eat", they are likely to receive benefits that extend beyond weight loss. The person may be happier, live longer, have increased stamina and avoid other disease as well as medications. Similarly, the benefits of putting a building on an "energy diet" extend beyond the reduction of energy expenses. Such benefits can include very tangible and measurable values such as reduced material and labor costs, as well as other "soft" benefits such as increased productivity and morale, although "soft" benefits are not calculated within this article.5
This article quantifies the additional tangible benefits from demand side energy conservation activities (reduced operational hours).6 If a benefit was difficult to quantify, we still identified it, but did not estimate savings. Note to readers: if you see additional ways to quantify benefits, or if there are other benefits we did not include, please contact the primary author (Dr. Woodroof) who will continue this research.
The "Additional Benefits" are explained with examples to illustrate the value that they represent. The benefits we identify below usually apply to a facility's capital, operations, maintenance, administrative, marketing, environmental and/or other budgets.
1. Reduced Maintenance Material Costs7
Example: If lights are not "on" as many hours, they may not burn out as often... meaning you will not have to buy as many replacement lamps in a year. Another example is reduced Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) filter replacement costs as a result of operating such systems fewer hours per year.8
2. Reduced Maintenance Labor Costs9
Example: If an HVAC system is not "on" as many hours, the filters can be changed less often, resulting in labor savings. Similarly, if lighting is used fewer hours, then lamp lives are longer and annual relamping labor costs decline. Finally, if an energy conservation program results in a labor savings worth 10% of a maintenance person's time, that is a real savings as that 10% is available for other activities.10
For more than 20 years, Eric A. Woodroof, PhD, Principal at Profitable Green Solutions, LLC is a leading keynote speaker on energy management, energy efficiency and sustainability. He has worked onstage with Bill Clinton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Condoleezza Rice, and many others.
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