The benefits of smart technology for energy management
Rising energy prices, stringent climate change targets and an increasing awareness of the need to be environmentally responsible mean the way businesses consume energy is under the spotlight in a way it never has been before.
Regardless of the size of the business, the issue of energy management is on everyone’s radar right now. But how easy is it to make changes? And where do you start?
What is smart technology?
Smart technology is the name for devices connected to the internet that can collect and transmit data to a centrally-stored hub.
It typically comes in the form of sensors and receivers, and can show how much energy is being used in specific areas of a building or by certain pieces of machinery.
Much like smart meters which are being installed in homes across the country, the smart technology available to businesses enables you to see what and where the most energy is being used, allowing you to make changes accordingly.
Smart technology can be used in several areas of business energy management. Two of the most common are:
- The management of power supplies and machinery: CT clamps or current sensors can be placed on cables to assess how much power is running to and through them, measuring energy consumption at a circuit, zone or machine level, while temperature sensors can give an indication how much energy they are generating.
- The environmental management of buildings: Sensors, which can be attached to doors, walls, desks and windows, monitor variables like temperature, humidity and CO2 levels, helping businesses to identify areas that are being over-heated or over-cooled.
What are the benefits of using smart technology to monitor energy use?
While many businesses will be aware of their energy costs and have plans to make savings, this is often based purely on total energy consumption and totted up when monthly or quarterly bills come through. Smart technology gives you the granular detail needed to make real change. These are just some of the benefits:
- Continuous monitoring in real-time: Using smart technology means you have a continuous view of the energy use within your building. Data collected by the sensors is fed back to a central dashboard and, at any given point in time, you can see the energy usage picture across your building or organisation, without having to wait for energy bills to come through.
- Ability to make instant changes, enabling greater cost-savings: Being able to see everything that is happening in one central display means you can react instantly and implement changes to reduce energy usage. This could range from simple things like closing blinds in areas that get too hot at certain times of day and shutting off machines that are left running when they shouldn’t be, to more complicated issues like identifying outdated equipment that is not performing as well as it should. Click here to see how Sensorfact, a software provider based in the Netherlands, used Pressac’s energy monitoring sensors to help their clients make savings.
- Helps ensure a consistent, reliable power supply: By monitoring the energy flowing into and out of machinery you can spot potential issues before they arise, for example surges in demand at particular times, and put plans in place to change these. This can help to prevent sudden fluctuations in demand and power surges, and ensure you always have power when you most need it.
- Decreased downtime due to maintenance issues: According to Deloitte, downtime costs industrial manufacturers $50 billion a year, with 42% of that caused by equipment failure. Current sensors and CT clamps can help improve predictive maintenance, highlighting potential issues with machinery before it fails altogether. This helps to minimise equipment downtime and keep production up and running.
- Helps plan for the future: Being able to monitor power usage trends means you can develop realistic targets for future energy management. The detailed data means you can look at specific machinery, rooms or offices and develop action plans for energy reduction. The data can also be a helpful way of driving staff engagement. Being able to see exactly how and why what they do has an effect is a really useful tool in making sure everyone in the business plays their part in reducing energy use – a key part of any successful energy management strategy.
- Helps reduce carbon emissions and improve compliance: The UK government is currently working towards a target of reducing carbon emissions by at least 100% of 1990 levels (net zero) by 2050, meaning businesses will certainly be coming under increased scrutiny over the coming years. Your company may also already be working towards complying with the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) regulations. Businesses that have installed smart technology to help them with their energy management are better placed to meet these, and any new legislation, as they will have a much greater understanding of their energy use and the areas where reductions can be made.
To find out more about Pressac’s environmental and energy monitoring equipment get in touch.