Case study - Bank energy costs

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Courtesy of Powerhouse Dynamics

There are many pleasures of living and working in the Cayman Islands. However, paying utility bills for your business on Cayman isn’t one of them. The island territory has particularly high energy costs because Cayman has few domestic energy resources. Most electricity on Cayman is produced from imported diesel fuel, which is very expensive. As a result, businesses on Grand Cayman pay electricity rates as high as $0.45/kWh, which is more than four times the US average.

Caledonian Bank of Grand Cayman was no exception in terms of the pain they felt with their high monthly electricity bills. As savvy business people, they knew there were options for driving this operational cost down, but they weren’t quite sure which options were best. They decided to seek expert guidance.

Bringing in the Energy Experts

Caledonian Bank solicited the services of Endless Energy (Cayman), Ltd. of Grand Cayman, a renewable energy services provider specializing in energy audits, energy retrofit services, and photovoltaic installations. Recognizing the complexity of energy use in the bank, Endless Energy’s first task was to perform a detailed energy audit of the facility. Their goal was to assess the business case for energy efficiency upgrades across a range of functions within the facility, including:

  • Air conditioning
  • Lighting
  • Computing and data servers

Collecting Data with SiteSage

To better form their energy efficiency plan, the Caledonian operating team wanted quantifiable data, not just estimates of energy consumption. Endless Energy elected to deploy the SiteSage (formerly eMonitor) platform as a means for collecting hard data – and not just total energy consumption for the facility.

With sensors placed on each of the branch circuits in the facility, SiteSage generated the required level of granularity in energy consumption data – circuit-by-circuit, minute-by-minute, energy load by energy load – that enabled the Endless Energy team to drill down to be able to determine energy consumption by functional area within the business.

Data-Driven Decisions

Armed with hard data from SiteSage, Endless Energy was able to present a solid business case to Caledonian Bank to perform the following efficiency retrofits, and Caledonian Bank had the data it needed to understand that these upgrades were smart business decisions:

  • Upgrading the HVAC Chiller to a more efficient “Smart Mist” system
  • Changing-out lighting from fluorescent and incandescent bulbs to LEDs
  • Swapping-out data server controls with systems that power the servers down when not in use

In addition, the SiteSage data illuminated a number of previously undetected operating problems contributing to higher energy costs, including improperly programmed chillers. Once SiteSage revealed the chillers were running constantly all night long, the operating team quickly rectified the problem, setting the chillers back at night when they were not needed, resulting in substantial energy savings.

Adding Solar

The energy efficiency retrofit projects from Endless Energy will deliver a simple payback to Caledonian Bank in 1-2 years. With these “low-hanging fruit” projects addressed, the Caledonian team wanted to take the next step in their energy cost reduction project.

With data from SiteSage, Endless Energy was able to properly size a photovoltaic (PV) array for Caledonian Bank’s new lower-energy consumption patterns, saving Caledonian substantial costs on what could have been a significantly oversized installation in the absence of intelligent efficiency measures.

With the properly-sized PV installation, Endless Energy projects a 4-5 year payback on this investment, well within Caledonian’s goals for payback on energy generation.

Conclusion

Overall, both Caledonian Bank and Endless Energy are very happy with the use of their SiteSage system as a business tool to enable smart decisions on energy efficiency and generation upgrades and to identify excessive energy consumption due to operational issues.  

Today, Caledonian Bank has a lower energy bill due to a much more efficient facility and much greater insight into the details of their energy consumption. With a successful “energy diet” behind them, Caledonian Bank management can now rely on SiteSage to continually monitor their “energy weight” to ensure that it does not to begin to creep up again.

Their new lower bill combined with the knowledge that it is being watched over may even be enough to help them go back to enjoying many of the pleasures of being in the Cayman Islands.

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