A common thought within the Energy sector is that the vast majority of end-customers (B2B, B2C and B2B2C) doesn’t know how much they consume and spend on energy. Surprising? not really. Energy prices used to be quite low historically and, except for energy-intensive companies, they turn to be far from being the first budget item.
However, it clearly gives a clue on how far energy management based decisions are from commonplace. Yet, energy awareness is a key item to understand the initial opportunity, design a project, and verify whether you’re actually saving energy. Let’s how a drop of good information can help raise some determinant Energy Efficiency barriers.
Energy Efficiency projects carry natural barriers, which lead to uncertainties. These uncertainties make projects less attractive for investors. First, let’s recall what are the main phases of a regular Energy Efficiency project:
- A project starts with Energy Conservation Measures’ (ECMs) identification through analysis such as energy audits
- Once these actions identified, it’s time to assess them (Energy Savings, payback time, and so on) and pick up the most relevant
- Based on the project performance, a third step turns to find capital to invest into the project
- A go decision leaves the stage to the ECM’s implementation with the participation of several players (FM, occupants, CFO, sustainability officer, and so on)
- Once implemented, it’s time to measure and verifiy the project performance and, it might be the time to share the savings with the different players.
Thus, a missing information in one or all of these steps make harder for companies to justify spending money on efficiency upgrades. Second, let’s see how good data through energy management systems (EMS) can make the difference in an Energy Efficiency project:
- Energy savings’ awareness: EMS can provide accurate data about company energy expenditures and their buildings/assets portfolio-wide performance.
- Project performance: EMS can help improve equipment connectivity (such as HVAC and access control systems), data analysis (such temperature and degree-days correlation) and ongoing monitoring (such as maintaining the performance)
- Capital for projects: outward-looking EMS can provide information about the market (such as day ahead energy prices) and benchmarked project performance data (such as on other similar assets portfolio)
- Technical capability: EMS can help align all players’ interests and facilitate interpersonal communication (such as links between property and facility managers or building’s behavioural data shared with occupants through dashboard)
- Certainty about savings: EMS can help check the expected amount of energy and greenhouse gases saved (such as IPMVP-based software)
Sometimes all it takes is a little information awareness to get companies thinking seriously about energy efficiency and make the difference in a project achievement.
As we saw how useful a little information awareness can be for the good of an Energy Efficiency project, we’ll describe in a forthcoming post what are the different kinds of energy management systems and how they can practically help, especially the very innovative ones.
Source: Stephen LACEY, Vincent BRYANT
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