Manage your data and your energy

Gathering data on your energy use is a bit like turning on a tap. You can let it run, but if you don’t keep an eye on things you can easily be awash before you know it. With the increasing availability of building management systems (BMS) that can gather energy use data and track patterns over time, some organisations can find that they are unprepared for the flood of information.

A central data warehouse for monitoring energy use is increasingly common. This can store information on a number of buildings, enabling the end-user to quickly collect and present energy usage information on a large organisation with buildings across the country, or even in different countries.

There are a number of excellent software packages and graphical user interfaces that put a lot of information into the hands of energy and facilities mangers. However, problems can arise when users do not consider how they are going to manage the incoming information which can be substantial.

The most important step is for specifiers to work with end-users to identify exactly what information will be needed and how best it can be presented. As building controls become more sophisticated there are many more options available, so making a careful choice is important. Organisations involved in the CRC will know what data is required for that, but is there other information that the business could benefit from?

Energy data should definitely be regarded as business data, as important as tracking the performance of different divisions or measuring returns on investment in new equipment. Energy use is also a good indicator of business efficiency. For example, the ability to track the energy use of several buildings such as a chain of retail outlets can quickly identify stores that are using more energy than others.

For businesses interested in investing in renewable technologies such as combined heat and power, for example, the energy data will be invaluable because measuring the return on investment of any expenditure is vital. The BMS can also show the efficiency of simpler energy saving schemes such as encouraging staff to turn off lights and air conditioning in unoccupied spaces.

Just as a business looking to grow would analyse sales and revenue figures, an organisation seeking to reduce energy consumption must put energy data at the very heart of any strategy. If you are managing your data, then you are managing your energy.

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