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Energy efficiency in the industrial environment

Nine out of ten large Spanish companies implement sustainability strategically.

We found this statement in the eighth ‘Multisectoral Study on the State of Corporate Responsibility of Large Companies in Spain’, prepared by the Club de Excelencia.

Why is it so important now to have an energy efficiency strategy?

Because having an energy efficiency strategy guarantees a positive economic result. Since 2022 we are facing an increase in energy costs, a large part of a company’s costs are energy costs. According to a KPMG report, in industrial companies they can account for 60-70% of total costs.

The main objective of a strategic plan on energy efficiency is: to produce the same with less energy, reducing the environmental impact as much as possible and at the lowest cost.

But the concern to improve a company’s energy efficiency is not only a question of economic savings, but is also imposed by national and EU legislation.
national and EU legislation.

With the EU’s goal of moving toward a climate-neutral economy by 2050, the
towards a climate-neutral economy by 2050,
which involves reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to levels that can be absorbed or offset by carbon sinks, such as forests or carbon sequestration technologies. This objective is crucial to address climate change and limit its adverse impacts.

In Spain, the
National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan 2021-2030 (PNIEC) defines the objectives and measures for the transition to a more sustainable energy model and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
(PNIEC) defines the objectives and measures for the transition to a more sustainable energy model and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, some objectives:

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.
  • 42% of final energy consumption to come from renewable sources by 2030.
  • Reducing energy intensity and promoting building refurbishment to make buildings more efficient.
  • Electrification of various sectors, especially in transportation and heating, with the aim of reducing dependence on fossil fuels.
  • Promote sustainable mobility, including the expansion of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles and the incorporation of renewable sources in transportation.
  • Promote research and development of clean and sustainable technologies to achieve the proposed objectives.

In an industrial environment, what is energy efficiency?

energy efficiency
is the set of actions that make it possible to improve the relationship between the amount of energy consumed and the products and services obtained from its use.

Within this concept we find several potential savings measures such as:

  • The
    energy-saving lighting
  • Photovoltaic panels
  • Efficient air conditioning systems
  • Improvements in
    and closures

All of them bring significant reductions in energy costs and improve the sustainability of any building.

If we focus on industrial industrial activityIf we focus on industrial activity, we need to identify the main consumption elements of the factories (cooling systems, pumps and motors, handling lines, machinery, robots…).

Historically, maintenance personnel were responsible for manually recording the values of the various counters in the factory to dump them into an Excel spreadsheet and keep a record. But in order to monitor energy expenditure accurately, the following are needed
dedicated measuring equipment
equipment to provide data digitally.


How do we monitor energy efficiency?

At this point we must combine metering with energy monitoring and management software.

monitoring and energy management software

. These softwares are characterized because:

  • Integrated with measuring equipment
  • Real-time data collection
  • Store historical data
  • They allow exporting monitoring data in various formats or creating customized reports.

But monitoring does NOT equate to management or savings.

1.- In a first step, monitoring helps us to
detect potential savings and problematic points in consumption.
. It allows us to build a theoretical consumption model which shows how the factory’s energy expenditure is distributed.

2.- On that basis, as a next step, it is time to analyze
of the installation’s behavior in real time. Monitoring at this point serves to
check for deviations and find out why they occur
. Through connectivity with other systems, we can relate it to:

    • The work shift
    • The production order in process
    • The OEE percentage
    • The maintenance schedule
    • etc.

All this information should be used to propose measures and adjustments in consumption that lead to the optimization of energy resources.

3.- Finally, in control, monitoring is used to quickly see if the measures implemented are
quickly see if the measures implemented are working
to save energy. For example, if automatic control systems are applied in climate, lights… to check that they work.

Thanks to the analysis of this data, the understanding of the information is optimized through energetic KPI reports that serve to make decisions in a much more precise and agile way.

Monitoring systems for energy management help to detect more accurately any deviation or problem that may occur in manufacturing processes. The analysis of this information serves to diagnose problems quickly thanks to the real-time visibility of where and allows us to measure the effectiveness of energy saving policies.

An example would be to be able to sequence production orders according to consumption by product type in order to reduce the amount of energy used.

Energy efficiency will play an increasingly important role in the transformation of the industrial sector into a more sustainable one.

The Government continues to support renewable energies and energy efficiency through aid for the creation of energy communities and self-consumption, sustainability measures in industry and tourism, and by approving regulations such as the Energy Saving Certificates, which will boost investment in energy efficiency technology and reinforce the volume of savings required by the energy efficiency directive.

Administrations are also putting a lot of effort into the digitization of companies. Clearly, new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Big Data, etc., are key tools in the future of energy efficiency.

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