Having full control of your operational costs is key getting ahead in today’s business environment. One of these operational costs, playing a surprisingly big role, is the cost of energy. With energy costs on the rise, it is important to get an understanding of how we can control and in turn reduce these costs.
Now, we all know that we can influence these costs by negotiating better energy procurement prices and thus pay less for our energy. However, there is also the consumption aspect! The formula for energy costs is no secret:
Cost = Consumption x Price
We know there is no magical way for this formula to change and focus purely on price while disregarding the consumption aspect entirely. This is where the power of Energy Data Management (EDM) comes into play.
The technical explanation of EDM is that it is a system that is used to identify areas of high energy use and energy waste while at the same time optimising and reducing energy requirements. In essence, it can be used to help you identify where and how you are using your energy. Thus it all comes down to two elements:
There is an old management adage that goes: “You can’t manage what you don’t measure” which rings true in this case. This is why I put monitoring prior to controlling. For you to be able to influence your consumption, you need be aware of it and how it is affecting your business.
An EDM system is essentially an X-ray for your business. It drills into the core of energy consumption and provides you with an overview of when and how you’re using energy.
From the above, you can clearly see how the system works and what type of information you can gain from it. The sheer information that the system draws from builds up a profile, a health check if you will, of your energy consumption. EDM reads data directly from your meter or will accept manual input from invoices or meter reads. The system will then churn the data and provide you with insight as to how you can better use your energy.
Monitoring the system on a regular basis can be somewhat of a resource-heavy task. This is why most EDM systems will provide you with scheduled reports and simple dashboards. You can access the data from any device with internet access to ensure that you get the information that matters when you most need it. EDM systems also allow you to store and split the data in any way that is best suited for your business and/or company.
- Do you have specific cost centres?
- Do you operate across multiple markets/countries?
- Do you need to compare similar facilities in different areas?
- Do you need to produce regular management reports detailing your cost and consumption?
- Do you need to do carbon reporting?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions (and there are plenty more questions I could ask you), you are in need of EDM. They allow for easy monitoring of your current and real-time consumption allowing you to react in time to influence the aforementioned formula for your energy cost!
Once you have the monitors in place within the EDM in the form of targets and alarms, you can proceed to the next phase: controlling. Having the power to monitor every aspect of your consumption
1is nothing without adding the controlling element. By unlocking a detailed view of your energy usage, you are then able to think about structural savings.
Besides the obvious savings possibility of being able to influence when and how you use energy (thus controlling your Red-Amber-Green
2 usage, taking advantage of Demand Side Response
3, etc), you can also benefit from something we call Optimised Demand and Usage Curve. This aids you in accurately presenting your usage and demand patterns to your supplier, which in turns leads to you getting a more competitive price due to minimised risk premiums.
EDM provides a relatively easy path to controlling and reducing your energy consumption without having to put up with a big upfront capital investment or intrusive and lengthy project implementations. It also provides your business a way to achieve structural savings through primarily targeting your consumption levels and then reap the benefits of an optimised tariff structure during your next procurement deal.
It is an opportunity to tailor your approach on how you use energy, which leads to reducing operational costs, increased asset value, improvement in occupant comfort, and a better bottom line for your business.
- The information within any EDM is limited to the information it has available. The best data comes in the form of HH data or AMR data feeding directly into the system. However manual reads and invoice data provides enough for the system to give an overview of consumption patterns. ↩
- Distribution Use of System (DUoS) rates that are split into three tariffs: Red, Amber and Green with each representing time bands throughout the day. Charges are the highest during the red zone with the cheapest being during the green zone. ↩
- Demand-side response is when electricity consumption is being adjusted during set or given times in response to a signal from the grid. ↩