Offering an invaluable energy-tracking tool to the federal department entrusted with protecting West Coast marine resources
"An energy management program must be an ongoing process in order to optimize the benefits. Information from PUMA is an excellent tool which allows clients to provide timely feedback to the energy management team and the facility users, increasing their interest in the program and focusing their efforts."--Brian O'Donnell, Prism Engineering
The DFO has 43 major land-based facilities in British Columbia, consuming a total of more than $1.6 million of electricity and $600,000 of natural gas per year. DFO facilities include Canadian Coast Guard bases, scientific research labs and fish hatcheries. (Lighthouses and other nautical aids are not included in the usage totals above.) Cognizant of the fact that "you can't manage what you don't measure," DFO sought a means of tracking and analyzing energy consumption at their numerous facilities to reduce costs and greenhouse gas emissions as well as improve overall energy management.
Prism proposed its proprietary online system for utility accounting. The Web-based database system, an online tracking tool known as Prism Utility Monitoring and Analysis (PUMA), allows the DFO to accomplish the following key objectives, with no need for installed software:
- review billing reports from electricity and fuel bills for each account
- access customizable reports online and generate reports for individual or any desired grouping of locations
- track electricity and fuel consumption and costs compared to previous periods in an individual or consolidated fashion
- identify locations with higher than targeted consumption that may require investigation
- evaluate the impact of energy and cost-saving projects, adjusted for the impact of weather
- track energy savings and GHG reductions in comparison with a baseline
- identify utility billing anomalies
"Information is liberating
Knowledge is power"--Kofi Annan
- allow benchmarking against internal and external sources
- add new facilities to the database as they come on line
Through DFO's energy management actions, energy costs for the 43 monitored locations have been reduced by an average of 7% for electricity and 14% for natural gas for their 2008--09 fiscal year compared with the 2005--06 baseline. Based on an analysis using the PUMA tracking tool, DFO is saving more than $110,000 in annual electricity costs and $70,000 in gas costs, while reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by more than 1,500 tonnes of CO2 per year. The information gathered has provided critical feedback to DFO staff, which encourages their ongoing conservation efforts. As part of the service, DFO receives an overview each month from Prism listing key concerns that require investigation as well as a detailed annual report summarizing results and setting a future course of action.