There is a great tool that we encourage all facilities to use, at least, once a year and more often if you can. It's a simple calculation of Btu/square foot/heating degree-day. This analysis gives owners of multiple buildings the ability to compare facilities to themselves, and to each other, from one year to the next, as well as to other facilities throughout the region.
Why is this so useful? First, and foremost, it lets your administration know that you're doing a good job. If you don't tell them, they won't know. By providing an ongoing history of all facilities' energy consumption, it really tells a story. If you replaced a burner last year, this will help you illustrate the economic impact. If the new burner didn't help, it may give you some ammunition to go back to your contractor and ask why.
Even if your numbers aren't all that good, when you first report your findings to the administration, it demonstrates that you're working on a plan to make improvements. You can't make a plan to go somewhere, if you don't know where you are. This is your starting point.
If the administration complains about busting the energy budget, the annual analysis helps you illustrate that it was the number of heating degree-days, or increased cost per unit of fuel, that caused the problem, not the consumption rate.
This calculation is also important to understand the basic need for energy conservation. Even with today's increased ventilation requirements, a steam heated facility, in a region with approximately 8,000 heating degree days a year, should be able to operate in the range of 6.0 Btu/square foot/heating degree-day. If you're operating much lower than that, you may have a need for investigating your ventilation rates. You may not be providing adequate outside air for your occupants. If your consumption is significantly higher, you definitely have good economic justification for a boost in your energy optimization program. Again, benchmarking can help you with the economic justification.
Hot water heated facilities are much more economical to operate. We have hot water heated schools that consistently operate in the range of 3.5 Btu/square foot/heating degree-day. This is a figure that the folks in the Wisconsin Focus on Energy program, and I agree, is an appropriate target for most schools, again in the areas that see approximately 8,000 heating degree days a year. No matter what the heating system design, natatoriums (indoor swimming pools) will probably add about 0.5 to 1.0 Btu/square foot/heating degree-day to the cost of operation.
Just open it up, Go to File> Download As > Excel and fill in the blanks with your:
You can worry about the boiler efficiency and price of fuel later. It's the first item in the "Calculated Data" area that you're looking for the spreadsheet to calculate. From there, read the other instructions on the use of the spreadsheet for determining the annual savings potential for various scenarios. If you need help, drop a line to Lori Bauer, firstname.lastname@example.org