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Rob Morris, Country Manager at AMETEK Powervar UK discusses how

energy management technology can help to identify inefficiencies in energy use and save businesses money.

Companies are becoming increasingly aware that they need to save energy, both to cut costs and conserve resources. This is seen in practice, in the signs in offices telling us to switch the lights off at the end of the day and avoid printing unless it’s really necessary. Sometimes, however, this isn’t enough. Businesses can go further to make sure they are as efficient as possible. Often they aren’t aware that there could be hidden costs due to unknown energy wastage. To prevent this, companies are starting to consider smarter and more effective types of power management.

A national convenience store chain in the USA turned to facilities management equipment to do just this. While they were saving money by making the usual changes like turning off unnecessary lights, they didn’t realise that some of their freezers were costing more in energy than they were making from the products sold within them. The outdoor freezers containing ice were using lots of energy to keep cool, particularly in hot locations. The energy bill for these freezers alone was higher than the profit from selling the ice. The company removed outdoor freezers from all their sites, saving it money. Combined with the other changes, it made savings of 20% on its energy bills.

The convenience chain was expanding rapidly but to remain profitable, it needed to keep operational expenditure under control. To do this, it used a facilities management system made up of Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices, and accompanying software. The

22 | BEMS

individual sensors and tailored energy management system helped to bring unknown energy wastage to light.

Monitoring energy usage is tricky in many other industries as well. In a shared office block, for example, different companies will use different amounts of energy. Any company that hosts its own servers will use a lot of money powering and cooling the servers, whereas any company that stores its data in a datacentre won’t have these drains on power.

“Monitoring energy usage is tricky.”

successfully is making the most of IoT and Big Data technology.

To help FMs monitor their energy usage and become more efficient, Powervar has created a building-wide smart energy management system. It allows companies to accurately find areas for improvement by capturing data, analysing it and storing it. By collecting data over several years, it can also find trends over time.

Powervar’s ATLAS FA hardware unit works with the Latitude FMS software package to create a smart monitoring system. It allows FMs to monitor energy usage in minute detail, highlighting faults and inefficiencies easily. In most cases, cost savings can be achieved in the first year.

“In most cases, cost

savings can be achieved in the first year.”

The challenge in monitoring energy usage is just one of many that facilities managers (FMs) face. They also need to reduce energy usage in their buildings while finding the best energy price, complying with changing regulations and communicating with the multiple businesses that might operate from their building. The key to doing this

While many companies use Big Data and IoT technology, using it in the right way is difficult. Collecting data without a goal in mind leads to a lot of data that doesn’t produce insights. With user-friendly energy management systems, the era of collecting data for data’s sake is over. This technology no longer needs to seem overwhelming and the benefits of smart monitoring systems mean there really is no need for FMs not to use one.

Big Data and IoT are helping to address the challenges companies face when it comes to energy management. When customers are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental impact of their business, having a cost-effective and user-friendly system in place can help them monitor energy use and make informed decisions about ways to improve it.

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