A scheme by consultants Star Technical Solutions, part of the Star Refrigeration group of companies, is delivering proven savings to customers by making their cooling systems more efficient.
Ethos, a performance optimisation and energy management system, uses a data-led approach to monitor performance and identify solutions to keep energy consumption at a minimum.
Malcolm Dufton, Property and Energy Manager at The Ice Co & Logistics said: “Energy consumption is a large operating expense for us. Add on charges increasingly diminish the control we have on our electricity costs. Therefore we focus on reducing energy usage and already the improvements identified on one system will reduce its energy cost by 10%, encouraging us to roll out the service to our other systems and sites.”
“A key feature for us is the online monitoring dashboard, it gives our managers and engineers clear real-time visibility of all our connected systems’ health and performance and allows them to drive energy savings and preventative maintenance.”
Remote monitoring is the key to the STS approach. The refrigeration experts install a number of sensors and an Ethos panel to the customer’s system. These remotely send information to a web portal via the built-in 4G mobile connection. Live data can be accessed by both STS refrigeration consultants and customers via an online dashboard which gives details about performance and allows communication between the parties.
By monitoring performance and energy consumption, owners of refrigeration plants can then take corrective action to make operations more efficient. The data relayed by the system is examined first with complex software and then by the refrigeration experts, who decode and interpret the information to provide the customer with insight and practical advice through the online interface. The information is laid out in a simple way with suggested actions for improvement or to advice on targeted maintenance. The reports also include estimates of potential savings if corrective action is taken which helps to justify investment decisions as well as raising the visibility of the cost to the business of not correcting inefficient operation.
John Clark, Refrigeration Consultant Engineer at Star Technical Solutions, said: “Ethos remotely monitors and analyses data as well as identifying corrective actions which will save electricity – typical savings are between 10 and 30%. It also provides data on available plant behaviour and capacity which facilitates future investment planning such as equipment replacement or upgrade.
“If a large portion of your power consumption and energy costs are accounted for by your refrigeration plant, it then makes sense that your sources of energy waste are controlled by refrigeration experts. The majority of businesses which require cooling can often spend over 50% of their electricity bill on cooling, with figures in the cold store sector shooting up to 90%, so it is an area where efficiency is vitally important.”