Why is it that so many businesses have assigned a staff member to the task of tracking the office supplies to ensure they know how much is being used but fail to account for their energy consumption in the same way?
Like tracking those pens and staplers, monitoring and measuring your electricity consumption will help your business:
- identify where you are using the most electricity.
- choose energy saving measures that are most likely to reduce your consumption
- measure the impact of your energy saving measures.
So, if it’s that simple why isn’t energy monitoring seen as core business?
Unlike those office supplies, energy consumption is largely intangible and often complex. While it may be possible and appropriate to measure consumption of some equipment and fixtures based on assumptions (e.g. wattage of lamps multiplied by the numbers of hours they are turned on), measuring energy consumption is often far more multifaceted and intricate. Without real-time monitoring, energy data is provided after the fact, making it difficult for companies to harness information to quickly and easily identify and realise the full potential of energy savings.
These are just some of the reasons a growing number of business are turning to remote real-time energy monitoring systems. Such systems have the added benefit of enabling alarms to alert the business immediately of excess consumption or malfunctions. This can be of tremendous value whenever predefined demand usage thresholds are approached. The system can be programmed to automatically ramp down or even turn off items of equipment when near pre-determined settings. This is useful for any non-essentials e.g. air conditioners or other equipment items that can be ramped down without impacting on production rates or business services.
Most importantly such systems enable long-term trends to be analysed to help sustain reduced energy consumption efforts!
So, is an energy monitoring system right for you?
For businesses that is using over 100 MWh of electricity per year (spending well over $25,000 p.a.) the demand charge is the costly part of their bill. Minimising this peak demand usage will minimise costs. An EMS can be a great investment as it can be used to identify equipment contributing to the peak demand, be programmed to alarm or reduce the peak demand and hence reduce the charges.
EMS’ are becoming increasingly more affordable. You can install a simple system for as little as a few thousand dollars with 15-20 monitoring points. Or you could invest in a system that has a monthly subscription fee and provides an ongoing data analytic service. In this world of ‘big data’, the system can be set up to use energy consumption ‘models’ that help take the guess work out of what is ‘normal electricity consumption’.
For medium to large businesses, energy monitoring systems can identify options for significant savings on the cost of electricity. However, adopting more sustainable practices in energy consumption creates savings for businesses of any size.