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Energy Monitoring And Energy Insight Systems

The difference between maths and physics

27Oct

Opportunities to save money by utilizing energy monitoring systems are appealing calls-to-action for facility managers and executives striving to meet – and exceed – corporate sustainability goals. Who doesn’t want to take advantage of an innovative way to save thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars?

Today, the spectrum of energy management solutions on the market can be broken down into two basic categories – one which aims simply to map and introduce controls over the free flow of energy throughout the different assets in a given facility, and the other which reports on energy current patterns in search of a more complete and granular understanding of asset performance.

Solutions from the former category are very straight forward – deploy submeters in your building and on your equipment, identify unnecessary or inopportune energy consumption (usually in the form of after-hour system continuance or inefficient lighting), make some adjustments, and enjoy the energy savings.

Solutions from the latter category are a little more involved but go way beyond simple energy savings. In these cases, the sensors don’t just report on the energy consumption but on the nuances in the energy signature of an operation’s systems and component devices. Of course, this information can be used in much the same way as that provided by a parallel solution to uncover waste.

The difference comes in the real time data processing of an advanced analytics platform. The more comprehensive energy signature provided by an Energy Insight System can yield incredible insights into the operational health and interdependencies of assets. This insight can then be leveraged to recalibrate and better service capital equipment to prevent failures while optimizing efficiency and effectiveness.

Is Your Facility’s Energy Usage End Goal Too Nearsighted?

Not surprisingly, the promise of smaller energy bills is often the first and most appealing thing on the minds of facility managers and executives considering investing in energy monitoring technologies.

Energy-efficient processes have already made a clear impact in the corporate landscape, with energy consumption growing at a snail's pace compared to the industries that contribute to it. Many facility managers have reported energy savings of up to 20%, slashing tens of thousands of dollars off their annual spend. In large part, these savings are owed to the fact that new constructions typically include built-in facility management and energy monitoring systems.

Whether your facility is new or old, there remains a great deal of energy management potential left untapped. And though derived from energy, that potential is not limited by it.

In order to tap the full potential, a facility manager needs to shift the conversation from painful penny-pinching to a total reevaluation of how a facility operates. Reducing energy spend is just the tip of the world’s smartest iceberg.

Sure, the information extracted is all eventually plugged back in with the goal of reducing spending and improving outcomes, but by shifting their base understanding of the purpose of an energy management system, or Energy Insight System, facility managers can open up whole new domains of operational excellence.

Unleashing An Energy Insight System

Energy Insight Systems allow managers to strive for perfection at the source – from the equipment used day in and day out to run their operations. With reporting and analytics tools at their disposal, facility managers can put the data to use in optimizing usage patterns, streamlining maintenance schedules, identifying and snuffing out operational problems still in their infancy and implementing a data-driven plan for perpetual improvement.

  • Push your equipment as far as it can go. Whether your machinery is six days or six years old, facility managers can gain valuable insight into their operations by collecting performance data, benchmarking and analyzing how it’s being used. With a full picture of how assets operate and interact, facility managers can reevaluate the most effective way to use their equipment.

  • Identify problems before they start. Energy Insight Systems give facility managers the information needed to visualize normal usage patterns. Thanks to up-to-the-minute real-time reporting, facility managers can see when equipment may be malfunctioning or in need of a tune-up just by seeing the dips and spikes in energy consumption. Facility managers can then schedule predictive maintenance or fix a minor problem before a major, more expensive one develops.
  • Properly allocate resources. Particularly in high-output facilities that run on 24/7 schedules, allocating resources factors heavily in the struggle for operational excellence. For example, some machinery is not designed to be powered down at the end of the work day, but may allow for variation in its energy intake while not actively in use. With the granular visibility enabled by an Energy Insight System, such an asset can be managed for both minimal operating costs and optimal performance.
  • Similarly, high-energy equipment can be evaluated for load shifting away from peak demand hours. This can help limit the strain on the electric grid and the facility’s internal energy infrastructure, reducing the likelihood of brownouts, blackouts, blown fuses and system conflicts. In some energy economies it could also mean lower energy costs.

For those facility managers uninitiated with Energy Insight Systems, it can be helpful to start small. Choose one area of the facility that has become cost-prohibitive to operate or is manageable enough to roll out a trial data collection and analysis program. Use the system in that one area to learn the ins and outs of deriving operational insights from energy and roll out an actionable plan to achieve operational excellence. Once the results (and the savings!) speak for themselves, the technology can be rolled out to other areas of the facility.

Yaniv Vardi is the CEO of Panoramic Power, a leader in device level energy monitoring and performance optimization

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