What is energy management and why do I need to manage my energy supply?
Think of energy as if it were money. There are few people who do not manage their money – particularly businesses. There are plenty of people who would own up to not being very good at it but most have some way of keeping a check on how much they earn and how much they spend – even if it’s just checking bank statements once a month.
Most people have an idea about how much money they have at their disposal at any one time; how much they use on a monthly basis to pay the bills, where it is being spent and what they are getting in return for that money. And many people at various times in their life implement some form of money saving initiative that helps them spend less on certain things and even save money for the future. Everyone knows money is a finite resource and that we need to take care of our supply, not be wasteful or irresponsible and to ensure we keep it secure.
The same is true of energy supplies but consumers don’t think of them in the same way they think of money, that energy is a finite resource, until they have to through legislation, to meet carbon reduction targets, or implement energy efficiency measures, reduce costs, secure energy supplies, or for a variety of reasons.
But what exactly is energy management?
There are a variety of definitions for energy management. At its most fundamental, the goal of energy management is to produce goods and provide services with the least cost to the business and least environmental impact. Other definitions include:
The judicious and effective use of energy to maximize profits (minimize costs) and enhance competitive positions. Guide to Energy Management. Fairmont Press 1997.
The strategy of adjusting and optimizing energy, using systems and procedures so as to reduce energy requirements per unit of output while holding constant or reducing total costs of producing the output from these systems. Source unknown.
So, basically, by applying effective energy management, businesses are trying to minimise energy costs and waste, without affecting productivity and quality, whilst also minimising environmental impact.
Just as with managing finances effectively, firstly, energy consumers need the data and intelligence that will allow them to implement clear and effective energy management, planning and efficiency measures and energy security procedures.
For a single business, operating out of one site, gathering such intelligence and data may not be difficult. Depending upon the size of the business, and if it’s a large, dynamic and energy hungry facility such as a data centre, energy management may even warrant the full-time employ of a dedicated Energy Management operator. If not, it may fall under the auspice of either the facilities or IT manager. If the business is distributed, throughout a chain of branches, multiple sites and locations such as retailers, restaurant chains, supermarkets, the task becomes more difficult. In either scenario, it often makes economic and business sense to buy in the expertise of specialist energy management consultants or to outsource remote energy management to a specialist supplier that is established to provide a dedicated service.
A good energy management system and service will be:
- Simple to install and use and not require any onsite, bespoke programming or configuration. All configuration should be able to be done centrally.
- It should offer customers secure web access to online and historical data (such as site reports, results of system tests, etc.).
- It should seamlessly integrate with other energy management equipment and devices such as meters, controllers and so on.
- It should be cost-effective and offer fast ROI (return on investment) through proven and quick savings from reduced energy costs, better operation and reduced downtime.
- It should offer good and accurate data capture and reporting, preferably in real-time and should offer remote monitoring and automatically adjust parameters to account for seasons, weather and energy strategies.
- A system should enable automatic alarms and events that can be sent by SMS, MMS or email.
- It should offer remote configuration of all system parameters.
- Data analysis should be available by day, week, month and year with customisable reports.
- By implementing it, it should extend equipment design life and play an active part in any on-going or preventative maintenance.
Riello UPS offers several monitoring and surveying services with energy management at their core. Power Disturbance monitoring, for example, will help identify and counteract the problems that can and do occur in every electricity power supply before they cause system damage or interruption. Power disturbances can include sags, surges, brownouts, transients, spikes and harmonics.
Energy monitoring will enable Riello UPS to test the reliability of your energy supply, its quality, how and when those two things vary, alongside presenting customers with an accurate and up-to-date overview of how much energy they use and how much they could save by setting in place certain energy saving measures. It’s about being proactive and taking steps towards a cost-effective and secure energy future.
Riello UPS’s Technical Energy Consultant (TEC) team are experts in energy management and can undertake energy surveys to uncover crucial information about power supply management and standby power requirements. They also provide Critical Power Surveys, offering a comprehensive analysis of current power and cooling capacity and utilisation alongside recommendations for the future to enable your business to become more efficient and resilient.