Controlling Energy Use at Argonne National Laboratory

By Consulting Specifying Engineer Staff September 14, 2005

One of the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s largest science and engineering research laboratories is equipping its facilities with intelligent energy management technology to help control energy-related costs and improve reliability.

Based near Chicago and operated by the University of Chicago, Argonne National Lab conducts a range of scientific research in the physical, life and environmental sciences. Argonne is dedicated to developing and evaluating advanced energy technologies to enhance the nation’s energy resources, support national security and help solve environmental challenges. To improve the efficiency and reliability of its extensive research facilities, Argonne has equipped its 1,500-acre complex with an enterprise energy management (EEM) system from Power Measurement of Victoria, Canada.

The EEM system uses a network of advanced energy meters installed at all power substations, mains and feeders to monitor the electricity supplied to Argonne’s highly specialized research facilities, such as the Advanced Photon Source (APS) and the Argonne Tandem Linac Accelerator System (ATLAS). Meters collect data on power quality, energy consumption and breaker status throughout the distribution system, and provide the information to a centrally located workstation equipped with energy management software.

From this web-enabled interface, Argonne’s Plant Facilities and Services Division and its Utility Systems Department continuously track energy usage by facility, and can quickly identify any potentially disruptive power-quality conditions that, if left unchecked, could otherwise result in equipment damage, downtime and costly interruptions to power-sensitive research projects. With this framework in place, Argonne next plans to further enhance the facility’s operational effectiveness by using the new system to allocate costs by process.