Thermal mass flow meters play an integral role in facilities management, and significantly reduce energy consumption through natural gas submetering, and measuring and monitoring compressed air systems.
Reducing energy consumption is a continual goal for facilities management or energy management in any industrial or commercial operation. Programs such as EPA Energy Star and LEED are leading the way in green building programs. All of these programs utilize a continual evaluation and improvement in energy conservation. This is accomplished by conducting energy audits, followed by identifying and then implementing energy efficiency measures.
Sage Thermal Mass Flow Meters play a key role in performing energy audits of natural gas flow and compressed air flow. One of the most common applications for Sage flow meters is natural gas flow measurement for individual combustion sources. By analyzing the natural gas consumption of separate combustion sources the facility can identify the relative efficiency of different operations. This same utilization information also serves as a baseline to determine efficiency improvements when burner modifications or improvements are needed.
Natural Gas Submetering
There has also been an increase in internal submetering. Historically, the facilities department in a plant has typically paid for all the utilities. By using a flow meter as a submeter, the individual departments can be charged for their energy consumption. Measuring utility consumption is the first step in energy conservation.
Many industrial and large commercial facilities are required by the EPA to report greenhouse gas emissions. When using natural gas, the easiest method is to obtain the total consumption of the fuel and use EPA formulas to convert usage into greenhouse gas emissions. The totalizer in the Sage flow meters provides a simple method of obtaining usage.
Compressed Air Systems
Another significant source of energy utilization is compressed air systems, and it is estimated that over 30% of the compressed air is lost due to leakage. Excessive consumption will further increase this percentage. Sage Prime thermal flow meters are often installed in compressed air systems where they continuously measure and totalize the compressed air usage. When utilized on the primary line, the flowmeter can identify the section of the facility where the leakage or excess consumption occurs. This helps quantify usage and isolates the source of leaks. When estimating the cost of a ¼” leak, which is considered minor, the air lost expense can be as high as $20,000 per year depending upon electrical rates.