A Conversation With Powerit Solutions® About Energy Management Technology

I recently sat down with Jack Perkins, Director of Channel Development for Powerit Solutions®, to discuss ways the food and beverage industry can benefit from energy management technology. Stellar often partners with energy experts such as Powerit Solutions to provide clients with a full range of tools to increase energy efficiency.

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Top Five Implications of California’s New Energy Standards

Energy consumption is a global issue and California is leading the charge in enacting legislation to reduce our carbon footprint. The state recently revised the energy standards known as Title 24, part 6 of the California Code of Regulations, which will more than likely affect other states in the future. The goal of Title 24 is to reduce energy use and make commercial and industrial buildings more efficient than required by the 2010 Title 24 standards.

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Green Globes ® Gains Traction as Alternative to LEED ®

For many companies, obtaining LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification is often too costly, and the documentation process too cumbersome, to warrant the effort. While not as well recognized, Green Globes is gaining traction as a less-expensive and more user-friendly alternative to LEED certification. Established in the U.S. in 2004, Green Globes is administered by the Green Building Initiative (GBI).

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Six Key Benefits of Insulated Metal Panel Walls

Insulated metal panels (IMPs) installed on a building exterior provide an excellent thermal envelope. In contrast to other envelope assemblies, IMPs more effectively reduce thermal bridging. With the industry continually striving to build more sustainable designs, IMPs are by far the best and most thermally efficient product available today.

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Four Key Budget Considerations in Designing Your Plant’s Mechanical System

It is critical to plan for the future when designing your food processing plant’s mechanical systems. We find that many plants are now undergoing expensive retrofits because future needs were not appropriately considered. Not only are retrofits expensive, but if new equipment is not sized and sequenced effectively, it can significantly affect your energy costs. To avoid these issues, here are four budget considerations to address when designing your plant’s mechanical system:

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What Can Refrigeration Remote Monitoring Do for You?

The ability to remotely monitor your refrigeration system can have a significant impact on your bottom line, reducing energy, maintenance and overall operating costs. If you’ve recently upgraded your refrigeration controls system or are in the process of upgrading, it’s important to ensure your new system offers remote access. This will allow for speedy diagnostics, offsite troubleshooting capabilities, and constant monitoring, all with a “big picture” view of the entire system.

There are three key benefits of remote monitoring:

1. Diagnostics

Remote access allows your team or an outsourced consultant to monitor the system 24/7 for alerts such as refrigerant leak detection, high liquid levels, high product temperatures, high system pressure, and more. Outsourced consultants who offer a higher level of specialized expertise than your in-house team can view your entire system in real time and offer advanced insight and support.

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Benefits of Upgrading Your Refrigeration Controls

Modern refrigeration controls systems have truly come of age. If your controls system is more than a few years old, you might be surprised at the benefits that newer systems provide:

1. Ethernet architecture — Unlike older serial networks with slower, linear structure, new control systems operate via your existing Ethernet. These networks are non-proprietary so in-house IT teams can easily troubleshoot issues, and repair and replace parts.

2. Improved compressor and VFD communications — Hard-wired serial control systems are slower to communicate with your compressors and VFDs. With an Ethernet platform, the system can pull data much quicker and more efficiently.

3. A single integrated platform — Old systems are often disjointed, with input/outputs, PLC hardware, VFDs, communications protocols and automation controllers all operating independently or requiring customized interfaces. Newer systems are integrated, providing you with a single, unified platform with standards-compliant methods for configuring, operating and maintaining a range of instruments and equipment.

4. Increased data availability — With a single, integrated platform, you’ll have increased access to energy, production, and utility cost information, leading to better decision-making at the management level. You can generate trend analyses, alarm logs, energy management data, and runtime reports in real-time to make the necessary changes and modifications to ensure your refrigeration system is running at optimal efficiency.

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Is it Time to Upgrade or Replace Your Refrigeration Controls?

While new refrigeration control systems are significant capital investments, their value far exceeds their cost. In large food processing or cold storage facilities, refrigeration typically accounts for more than half of the facility’s total electric energy use. And with unplanned downtime costing many facilities tens of thousands of dollars per day, an aging refrigeration control system can put your business at significant risk.

If you answer yes to any of the following questions, it may be time to upgrade or replace your existing system:

  • Is your current control system more than 10-15 years old?
  • Have you experienced unplanned facility downtime due to refrigeration failures?
  • Are the individual components of your refrigeration controls system operating as islands, meaning they work independently and don’t “talk” to each other?
  • Are you still operating on a serial network that’s linear, making it difficult to expand your capabilities?
  • Do you have unstable suction and head pressures? Are you unable to trim fans and pumps via VFD control?

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