This is the question we get asked most often at UrbanVolt.
But the real question that is lurking in people’s minds is, are you going to make a fool out of me?
The flippant answer would be that it’s too late for us, you already have our money in your ceiling.
But the more detailed answer is that we measure twice and cut once when it comes to our data analysis as we guarantee the savings. This means that we won’t overpromise and vanish with your money before you see the results. It means we invest significant resources in ensuring our numbers are correct, and we guarantee that the savings will be realised.
After all, we have a five year partnership with our clients and five years is a very long time to have an unhappy client.
However, we still come across the odd hiccup and we’ve worked with those clients to determine what the problem is.
To date, we’ve found these are common reasons why the saving aren’t being realised:
An LED lighting retrofit tends to go hand in hand with another major project. If this is the installation of new machinery, any savings generated by the LED lights will likely be consumed by the new machinery
The data provided was incorrect. We rely on our clients to give us accurate data on things such as operating hours. If we are told the current operating hours are 24/7 but the reality is that it is only half of that, the current consumption will be overestimated and therefore the expected savings won’t be realised.
The energy provider has increased the unit rate.
There is faulty machinery on site which is using more energy than it should.
And it was a combination of these scenarios which caused one mystified client to come back to us with queries over their energy bill. Their energy bill didn’t go down after the installation, so were our LED lights drawing more power than promised?
The short answer was no, and we installed measurement and verification (M&V) software to prove it. But that didn’t solve the problem of the higher energy bill. So if it wasn’t the LED lights, what was consuming it?
We launched an investigation to help our client, as their energy consumption had more than doubled since we installed our LED lights.
We asked all the questions; did you provide the correct operating hours; have those operating hours changed; did you install any extra machinery; did your unit rate change?
“Yes, no, no and no.”
We were mystified. If our LED lights were drawing exactly what we guaranteed and nothing had changed on site, what could be going on?
So we asked the questions again. Did you provide the correct operating hours for your lighting; have those operating hours changed; did you install any extra machinery; did your unit rate change?
“Yes, no, no and no. The only extra piece of equipment is the fridge.”
A fridge you say? A fridge in the canteen for staff to put their lunch?
“No, a walk-in fridge.”
This new ‘fridge’ turned out to be the size of small warehouse, so we had found the likely source of the energy eating problem.
In order to help our client, who was becoming increasingly frustrated that there appeared to be some sort of energy leakage on site, we transferred our M&V equipment from the UrbanVolt LED lights to the fridge.
What we found was that it was consuming 12kWh of energy per day, which resulted in a monthly energy bill of €1,500 for the fridge alone.
The next call our client made was to the company who sold them the refrigerator, and a technician came straight out to fix the faulty thermostat.
This was the result.
We could determine to the minute when the faulty thermostat was fixed as the energy consumption fell off a cliff. And that was followed by a corresponding drop in the next months energy bill.
Cue one very relieved client and one embarrassed refrigerator salesman.
We also transferred our M&V equipment to the lighting to demonstrate once again that the LED lights were drawing what we had promised.
We were delighted to be able to help our client get to the bottom of their energy problem, even though it was caused by another provider.
We would encourage anyone who is not seeing the promised energy savings, to first ask themselves the above questions – was the correct data provided and gathered in order to accurately determine your energy consumption pre and post installation; and has anything changed since the installation?
And if you installed a fridge, check the thermostat!