With the high price of energy, it is more important than ever to find ways of improving efficiency and saving money. The trend for the wholesale price of energy recently has been upwards and is likely to continue to increase for the foreseeable future.
As commodity costs continue to rise, the continued good management of energy usage becomes increasingly important. However, the cost is not the only factor to consider.
Environmental considerations are important for businesses of any size, both from a sustainability and reputational perspective. Ensuring customer satisfaction through the maintenance of a consistent and comfortable environment is also a key issue to consider.
We get inside the envelope of energy usage to identify consumption saving opportunities.
What is the meaning of energy management?
When it comes to energy saving, energy management is the process of monitoring, controlling, and conserving energy in a building or organization. Typically this involves the following steps:
- Metering your energy consumption and collecting the data.
- Finding opportunities to save energy, and estimating how much energy each opportunity could save. You would typically analyze your meter data to find and quantify routine energy waste, and you might also investigate the energy savings that you could make by replacing equipment (e.g. lighting) or by upgrading your building's insulation.
- Taking action to target the opportunities to save energy (i.e. tackling the routine waste and replacing or upgrading the inefficient equipment). Typically you'd start with the best opportunities first.
- Tracking your progress by analyzing your meter data to see how well your energy-saving efforts have worked.
(And then back to step 2, and the cycle continues...)
To confuse matters, many people use "energy management" to refer specifically to those energy-saving efforts that focus on making better use of existing buildings and equipment. Strictly speaking, this limits things to the behavioural aspects of energy saving (i.e. encouraging people to use less energy by raising energy awareness), although the use of cheap control equipment such as timer switches is often included in the definition as well.
The above four-step process applies either way - it's entirely up to you whether you consider energy-saving measures that involve buying new equipment or upgrading building fabric.