System Assessment Standards: Defining the Market for Industrial Energy Assessments
Improved efficiency of industrial systems (e.g., compressed air or steam) contributes to a manufacturing facility?s bottom line, improves reliability, and better utilizes assets. Despite these advantages, many industrial facilities continue to have unrealized system optimization potential. A barrier to realizing this potential is the lack of market definition for system energy efficiency assessment services, creating problems for both service providers in establishing market value for their services and for consumers in determining the relative quality of these system assessment services. On August 19, 2008, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) issued four new draft Standards for trial use that are designed to raise the bar and define the market for these services. These draft Standards set the requirements for conducting an energy assessment at an industrial facility for four different system types: compressed air, process heating, pumping, and steam. The Standards address topics such as organizing and conducting assessments; analyzing the data collected; and reporting and documentation. This paper addresses both the issues and challenges in developing the Standards and the accompanying Guidance Documents, as well as the result of field testing by industrial facilities, consultants, and utilities during the trial use period that ended in January, 2009. These Standards will be revised and released by ASME for public review, and subsequently submitted for approval as American National Standards for publication in late 2009. Plans for a related activity to establish a professional-level program to certify practitioners in the area of system assessments, opportunities to integrate the ASME Standards with related work on industrial energy efficiency, as well as plans to expand the system assessment Standard portfolio are also discussed.