Working out the most efficient way to run a commercial building can be a challenge, particularly with the vast range of new technologies on the market. Our last blog discussed why visibility is key when it comes to good energy management. Here we explain why it is important to look beyond initial savings and how you can plan your building’s energy efficiency in the longer term.
Firstly, it is important to remember that not all improvements require the same amount of long term input. For example, replacing all of your ‘Emergency Exit’ signs with an LED equivalent or insulating your building to the latest standards would give an initial saving and wouldn’t require any long term adjustment, calibration or monitoring. A complete LED lighting scheme for an entire building, on the other hand, would require periodic action to provide ongoing benefits and it is these that can be derailed by inattention. While in theory the LED system would deliver energy savings, if end users start manually bypassing the system because it’s not providing their desired light levels, then the building performance could end up being lower than it was before the lighting upgrade.
Most building improvements which are aimed at reducing energy usage therefore require ongoing monitoring to sustain their benefit over time. Monitoring energy use in a commercial building is very different to monitoring energy in the home because while a ‘big picture’ energy consumption summary is better than nothing, it doesn’t provide the right amount of information to identify which items of plant are the biggest consumers of energy and which are costing the most to operate.
There is a common industry misconception that by deploying an energy monitoring system alongside a BMS you can control your building’s energy use. However, energy monitoring solutions can vary in their ability and capacity to collect data from different sources. In order for it to provide the right information and be future proof it also needs to be flexible – which means it must be able to collect energy consumption data from a vast array of points within a building, including smart meters, data loggers, ModBus or M-Bus meters and data points to create a comprehensive picture of energy use.
Long term, detailed monitoring is fundamental in allowing an organisation to develop an energy reduction strategy, but to do this effectively it is important to be able to analyse the information provided. This analysis is made easier with a solution like SIPinsight Energy & Building Information Software (EBIS), which brings all of the data together in one place.
Perhaps it’s time you looked beyond initial savings and implemented a better long term efficiency plan for your building’s energy.