Efficiency & Total Energy Conservation

I’m sure over the past several years the readers of this article will more than once have heard the term efficiency. These ratings can be found in most every manufacturer’s literature packet.

Quite often many customers have made their purchasing decisions based on the 87% plus efficiency rating for oil or the 90% plus efficiency ratings for gas equipment in order to be eligible for the rebate programs. Let’s also not forget those yellow Energy Star rating stickers that are often placed on boilers, furnaces, stoves, and water heaters etc.

I also believe that some kind of E/S rating tag can be found displayed on most any product that requires some sort of energy source to function. After all, the U.S. government has placed energy demands on most everything from automobiles to washers and dryers.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m in favor of anything that can save oil, gas or electricity. In fact, I recently installed new Energy Savings light bulbs throughout my own home and purchased a high efficiency washer and dryer. I was amazed at how much less water is required and the small amount of the new ‘he” high efficiency detergent is used compared to the old washer.

            Because I have spent most of my professional career primarily working within the oil industry, I have monitored the progress of the boiler manufactures to see what they are doing to help support the reduction of fuel oil. From my observation along with the testing of several proto-type controls, it seems the manufacturers have done a good job in reducing boiler water content and producing controls that support the reduction of burner run time, which means less fuel oil consumption.

However when it comes to conserving energy, this responsibility goes beyond just the boiler manufacturers.  Let’s talk ‘total energy conservation” and in doing so take a close look at this subject.

 For example, some boilers have water content in the two gallon range and of course have 3450 oil burners or gas type power burner. However, thinking of ‘total energy conservation,” imagine a high low fire residential oil burner that has a 50-1 turndown ration. (1.00 GPH High Fire .50 GPH low fire) A control that will react to water temperature required based on the heat load. A circulator that will ramp up or down based on the heating load requirement. This same circulator will display the current usage while ramping up and down as the zone valves open and close during a heating cycle.

            In the past we counted on the boiler manufacturer to make a product that would supply us with the best efficiency. However, we now need to look beyond the boiler manufacturers and realize that it’s the responsibility of all the component manufacturers to join together as one and lead us in the direction of fuel and electricity for total energy conservation.

            Recently I attended two industry trade shows in both Pennsylvania and Boston, sponsored by the National Association of Oil and Energy Service Professionals (formerly NAOHSM) and New England Fuel Institute, where I had an opportunity to chat with several of the manufacturers’ representatives on the subject of Total Energy Conservation.

I was pleased to hear that they all seem to be working in their own way toward the goal of energy conservation and some I’m sure their plans will remain closely guarded in the areas of new technology. At least for the time being!

      By everyone working together, we will be less dependent on foreign oil and less threatened as we possibly face another $4.00 per gallon fuel charge in the 2011-2012 heating season.

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