- Reduce energy costs by 30 percent with smart data capture and a comprehensive strategy.
- It's important to have collaboration across all departments and the support of top executives.
- Smart technology captures energy data in real time and delivers it to a single dashboard.
Does your organization treat energy as a core resource? It should. After all, electricity and natural gas helps maintain building comfort and powers essential operating equipment. Like any critical resource, energy should be managed strategically, and good management requires good data. Unfortunately, energy data is often fragmented and inconsistent. Smart technology allows you to capture data in real time and organize it in a way that makes sense so you can prioritize energy-efficiency improvements and measure and track progress.
What you need to manage energy
To manage energy as part of your overall organizational strategy, you need to understand its true cost. In addition to the actual energy resource—electricity, natural gas and other fuels—there are indirect costs associated with energy use in your organization including maintenance, personnel and administration.
In addition, you must have collaboration across departments and the support of top level executives. Without executive leadership, energy data loses its value because it's not part of any strategic vision; it'll be difficult to prioritize capital expenses for efficiency improvements. You must also:
- Integrate capital and operating expenditures with core performance indicators
- Think strategically and understand your load profile across all operations
- Capture all billing components and normalize to weather changes
- Track energy usage for each building or location and identify outliers
- Centralize energy supply management
Remember, data can be a barrier if it lacks integrity and uniformity, as well as a systematic approach for gathering, storing and displaying it. Any strategic approach to managing energy use is driven by accurate data for measuring and tracking progress.
Get the right tools
Your organization can track energy data in several ways, including spreadsheets, third-party data management tools or proprietary, in-house software. Enterprise resource planning programs are another option. You can also install submeters to measure the energy use of individual equipment or locations. A growing number of organizations are implementing smart data technology.
Smart technology allows you to capture real time data from online utility accounts as long as it has the appropriate data collection platform. It automatically checks utility websites for new data—including monthly billing and consumption—and delivers this data through a single dashboard. When energy spending is correlated to business metrics, it helps support the business case for such data capture.
With smart data capture and a comprehensive energy strategy, you have the opportunity to reduce energy costs by 30 percent and you will see benefits almost immediately:
- Energy spending correlated to business metrics (profit and loss)
- Actionable information resulting in absolute, sustainable cost reductions
- Increased shareholder and brand value; improved ROI and employee productivity
- Risk mitigation and the development of best practices
- More informed decision making on areas for improvement
In 2015, owners of a cafe in the Anna Maria Historic Green Village realized they weren't achieving net-zero energy consumption. The owners implemented software and sensors to provide real-time, circuit-level energy consumption data, which showed:
- The largest energy consumers were two air conditioners, a refrigerated display case, some freezers and several coffee machines.
- An air conditioning compressor was unexpectedly cycling on and off due to an erroneous HVAC control sequence.
- Exhaust heat from the refrigerated display case was causing the air conditioning system to work hard overnight. A "night cover" reduced the display case energy consumption by 25 percent.
- Plug loads were operating all night long; installing smart strips and timers solved this issue.
- The electric water heater was supplying almost all of the hot water. The existing solar thermal plumbing had been installed backward.
- Coincident operation of air conditioning units within the same 15-minute time period resulted in a high peak demand fee. Reprogramming the thermostats avoided more than $2,000 in peak demand charges.
By embracing strategic energy management and smart data capture, your organization will reduce operating costs. You'll also be in a better position to handle such challenges as regulatory changes and rate increases.