If you are an energy consultant, analyst or company providing energy analytics or related services to commercial & industrial businesses—be they large or small—you’ll be acutely aware of the lockdown-inflicted challenges faced by your clients over the last year.
Perhaps the budget constraints of your customers would lead you to believe that your efforts to sell your services would be fruitless? Or, that it would not be their priority? Or, that they are too busy to think about energy savings or carbon footprint? Let me explain why it is the opposite.
2020: Managing business disruption & re-evaluating current building operations & performance
As business activity across many industries slowed as a result of restrictions on movement worldwide, business owners, building managers, owners and occupiers, were, perhaps for the first time in many months or years, compelled to re-think and evaluate the operations, processes and policies that constitute the largest portion of their energy budgets, and assess other areas of costly waste and inefficient practices.
With the onset of the pandemic, businesses prioritized cutting costs and maintaining cash flow in order to survive. And as lockdown restrictions have begun to ease, some business owners, and building managers have begun welcoming back staff, occupiers and clients in an effort to make a start toward regaining profits lost during long periods of inactivity.
Even so, targeted cost cutting and eliminating waste remains a strong focus, especially as building and business owners face the added challenge of being charged full-capacity electricity bills while their buildings are only at half-capacity.
While the knee-jerk reaction would be to cut costs wherever necessary, research shows that businesses are taking a renewed stance and looking at energy savings as part of a larger plan, to operate more sustainably aided by investment in the technology that will facilitate green, intelligent, optimised, cost-effective and occupant safe business and building facilities long-term.
“The global smart building market size stood at USD 43.64 billion in 2018 and is projected to grow to reach USD 109.48 billion by 2026”
Energy management software present a significant opportunity to cut costs and save money, rather than making unwanted budget cuts that threaten the livelihoods of employees essential to business operations.
2021: Building & retrofitting resource efficient, healthy, sustainable buildings aided by strategic technology investment
Monitoring is the first step for many building owners when embarking on an efficiency project. It is after all, the data from metered equipment and appliances, sensors and other IoT enabled building technologies that is critical to understanding not only buildings’ energy performance, behaviours & the associated cost implications, but also its successes and shortfalls in terms of health and other environmental factors.
According to a report compiled by Fortune Business Insights, the global smart building market size stood at USD 43.64 billion in 2018 and is projected to grow to reach USD 109.48 billion by 2026, exhibiting a CAGR of 12.6 percent between 2018 and 2026. The report’s findings state that the commercial segment accounts for the largest investment in technologies that provide “real time monitoring through bi-directional data flow, real-time reports and communications, data and analytics, fault detection, optimal control through remote adjustment, capability and proactive equipment testing.”
Monitoring data, when combined with energy analytics, enhances the real value of the data collected. Data is its raw form doesn’t make much sense unless you have the tools to analyse the data, an activity which raises questions about performance and helps you as the energy analyst/consultant or service provider diagnose potential issues and identify opportunities for savings and improvements to enhance comfort. For example:
- Which appliances are consuming the most energy?
- Why is the HVAC running on the weekend when there is no-one working on Saturday & Sundays?
- What is the impact of occupancy and outside temperature on my client’s utility bill?
- How much can my client save if they switch energy suppliers?
- How much energy & cost savings could be achieved if a timer is installed for the lights in their warehouses?
- What percentage of the facility’s total energy requirement is being fulfilled by renewable energy sources/ traditional energy sources?
- Which stores/branches are not on track to meeting the stipulated 25% energy reduction target this quarter?
- Does the building meet the requirements of recommended air quality levels?
As business/building owners and managers try to balance the demands of energy efficiency and building health & safety in an effort to reintroduce their occupants, staff, and clients to offices, schools, universities, restaurants, retail, places of recreation etc, the demand for technologies to monitor & analyse resources such as energy, water, gas consumption will continue to grow along with data collection technologies for occupancy, air quality (IAQ), inside temperature, lighting intensity etc.
[Related: Evolution of energy efficiency trends 2020-2021: Achievements & Trends]
Top 8 reasons why your commercial & industrial customers need monitoring & analysis services NOW
With energy and cost reduction remaining a focus for many businesses and the demand for visibility over building performance, health and safety intensifies, we’ve compiled a list of the 8 reasons why your commercial & industrial clients would benefit from energy monitoring and management software now more than ever.
Increased visibility & transparency into how a building is consuming energy and other resources
Monitoring and analysis is key to evaluating to discovering trends and inefficient behaviours and forms the basis for which to make data-driven decisions about saving actions.
Granular insight into area, process or appliance specific performance
Get insight into which set of appliances, piece of equipment, process, activity or behaviours is the source of the greatest inefficiency and cost to better target & prioritise energy conservation measures.
Evaluate the impact of environmental/operational factors on energy and other resource consumption
Many factors can play a role in the way that energy and other resources are consumed in a building. It is therefore important to analyse the impact of environmental or operational variables that could affect usage patterns eg. occupancy, production, outside temperature etc
Reduce operational and maintenance costs & lowered capital investments in equipment
Monitoring and analytics can assist in identifying potential issues with building equipment and facilities i.e. abnormal energy spikes, irregularities in consumption or offline equipment, warranting further investigation to remedy potential faults to avoid large capital investments, costly repairs and disruptions to operations.
Evaluate the efficacy of energy conservation measures to produce desired savings
Whether it’s trialling a new energy efficient technology, or retrofit or modification of behaviour or operational schedules, proving that a proposed saving action can produce the desired energy and/or cost savings, is crucial to avoid investment of time, effort and money into a project that will yield little to no results.
Monitor the impact of business/buildings operations on the environment & its occupants
With the increasing concerns and mandatory reporting of CO2 and other GHG gas emissions, transparency of the impact that building/business operations have on the environment is important for regulatory energy compliance, stakeholder relations as well as business longevity. Furthermore, COVID 19 has necessitated an increased focus on occupant health and safety, requiring that building owners prioritize indoor health factors & variables, such as air quality, temperature and occupancy.
Encourage energy-saving behaviors through dynamic visuals and displays
It can be difficult to get building occupants, staff and employees engaged in energy-saving programs by distributing data sheets & reports that don’t inspire action or modifications in behavior to save energy. Using our energy monitoring dashboard to create dynamic visualizations can be an effective tool to engage occupants in saving energy.
Increase property value
The role of energy efficiency and strategic energy management software shouldn’t be underestimated by building owners/managers. Well-maintained, efficient facilities not only assist in reduced maintenance and operational costs, but can form part of a wider, holistic strategy to improve efficiencies across operations and improve sustainability. High-performing, green, buildings that prioritize tenant comfort, health and well beings such as those recognised by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), WELL and other building standards bodies have the potential to attract new occupants and can fetch higher lease and sale prices.
Many device manufacturers (meters, sensors, other building technologies) offer web-based dashboards to visualize device data with basic analytics, however, it is not goal of such applications to provide the advanced functionality and machine-learning capability required to uncover energy waste, perform complex energy calculations, forecast savings, or analyse bills charges & tariffs to understand how you can shift energy use – which is necessary to develop an effective cost reduction plan & inform sustainable energy saving behaviours.
Instead, hardware vendor provided dashboards are purposed primarily for data collection, visualisation and device condition monitoring. As the number of managed buildings grows, it is likely that these tools will prove ineffective to scale monitoring, data management, energy savings analysis & reporting activities for a growing number of projects.
How can Wattics help?
Wattics is a hardware-agnostic cloud-based energy monitoring, management and analytics software designed to help energy service companies (ESCOs), analysts, consultancies, green building professionals, and facility management teams to monitor energy consumption, spot energy inefficiencies and reduce CO2 emissions for buildings and businesses in commercial and industrial sectors.
Our energy analytics dashboard gives you the ability to view consumption trends and behaviours down to appliance level, so that you can better target energy & cost saving actions. You can scale your monitoring, analysis and reporting activities for large building portfolios – no matter where they are situated around the world.
With Wattics energy software, you can effectively manage utility/IoT/sub-meter data to conduct energy audits, forecast savings, benchmark building energy performance, measure and verify conservation measures, analyse tariffs, create sustainability reports at scale and more. An added benefit is the platform’s whitelabelling feature, giving you the opportunity to brand the energy analytics dashboard with your logo, corporate colours and other customised elements to impress your customers!