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Energy management is an important part of any buildings overall “health” but how do you manage all the data that is produced in what little time you have?

The role of the energy manager has changed dramatically over the last five years and as a result a number of things have happened:

  • There are far fewer “Energy Managers” than there used to be; as a result, energy management is now generally just a part of another role, e.g. facilities management or sustainability management – resulting in a significant reduction in time spent dedicated to the energy management role
  • Where there is still a dedicated Energy Manager, they generally now have to look after a much larger estate, where before there may have been a team of two or three, often it has been reduced to one. Again, this means there is not enough time to look at all the sites one-by-one
  • There is more data to look at. Even if an Energy Manager still has the same number of buildings to manage, by now they will probably have implemented sub-metering so could have ten, fifty or even a hundred times the number of meters to look at (instead of a single incomer!)

So, when searching for a software solution, what features should you be looking for to help reduce the amount of time you need to spend looking after your energy?

Dynamic Reports:

A smarter type of energy report that understands the timescales a user has requested. Choose a “last week” report (rather than setting a fixed date range) that will automatically update at the start of every week – this avoids the need to create ‘yet another’ report for last week.

Automated Report Distribution:

Distributing reports via email is an essential but boring part of energy reporting. Finding a system that can automate this by creating a distribution list and a distribution schedule will save a massive amount of time. Combine this with a Dynamic report type and suddenly reporting on last week’s or last month’s energy consumption is done for you automatically – even when you are on holiday!

Alarms:

Today, if you are responsible for energy management you will probably have access to meter data for 10’s, 100’s or even 1000’s of meters, especially if you have pro-actively implemented sub-metering. You can’t possibly keep an eye on all that data. This is where alarms come in.

By looking at a meter’s 7-day energy profile once, it is usually fairly easy to spot things that need to be addressed; lights left on, equipment turned on before it’s needed, etc.

If you can spot the offending equipment, all you need to do is identify the desired baseload level during an “ideal behaviour” period, to do this just look for a day when there appears to be no overuse and set an alarm threshold just above this level.

By doing this for different times of day, you can ensure equipment is only switched on when it should be. As you are trying to make the system work for you, set a distribution list for the alarm so that the relevant people are notified that there is an issue and be able to deal with it, rather than wait until you come in on Monday to realise you wasted 100’s of kWh because equipment had been left on all week / weekend.

By utilising this features your software will give you the peace of mind that the system is working 24/7 on energy monitoring leaving you to get on with the rest of your workload.