The importance of real-time energy data monitoring

How can real-time energy data & monitoring improve utility management?

Real-time energy data is a key metric for an energy management program to be successful. With live data being collected, the question becomes how to organise and review it.

This is especially critical for organisations that are balancing a variety of business operations. Being able to monitor energy data in real time provides an understanding of energy consumption and performance across separate operations units.

For example, an organisation might only capture energy usage data on a weekly or monthly basis. While this gives them a good idea of overall consumption across the business, it provides no daily breakdown of energy usage (making it hard to identify trends and spikes) or daily energy usage per business unit (making it difficult to isolate energy eaters). Real-time energy data and monitoring solves this by providing up-to-date information across the enterprise on a regular basis.
Monitoring real-time energy data also provides energy managers with better insights into cost per unit of energy. This metric helps organisations to reduce costs in demand or power factor, as well as utilise rebates to improve return on investment (ROI) on energy products and energy procurement.

Furthermore, by using real-time energy data and monitoring, energy managers can identify and manage energy spikes throughout the day. By reviewing energy trends and spikes over the course of the day, energy managers can determine best practice methods to reduce equipment energy consumption, as well as determine the most efficient scheduling to reduce energy consumption when spikes occur.

Accurately measuring energy consumption

In most cases, energy managers reactively manage their utilities whenever they receive their utility bill. Utility bills give some basic information on usage and cost, but they cannot directly tell you what you’re paying for and why last month’s bill might be drastically different than this month. Subsequently, utility bills do not provide energy managers the appropriate statistics and conclusions they need to make data-driven decisions.

However, by utilising real-time energy data and monitoring software, energy managers can proactively measure spikes in consumption, reduce base loads, evaluate peak hours, identify irregularities, optimise operational scheduling and track energy saving targets and goals more accurately.

Improving employee energy awareness

Having real-time energy data improves awareness of energy usage and consumption across your entire organisation. It will also improve employee engagement in corporate sustainability goals, encourages employees to reduce energy consumption and energy costs, and helps communicate large amounts of data to a variety of audiences.

Particularly where the communication of data is concerned, real-time energy data and monitoring will show energy consumption across all business units (including daily breakdowns), as well as how much it has cost the enterprise. But the real value in having this kind of analytics in place is that it helps businesses to make informed decisions.

For example, C-level executives and directors will want to understand top-level metrics – costs, overall energy consumption and how energy reductions have contributed to monies saved. Energy managers, on the other hand, will be principally concerned with energy consumption per business unit (on a daily, weekly and monthly basis) as well as energy trends, spikes, and other more granular information. Having a solution in place to show this kind of information will help organisations to rapidly reduce energy consumption, save costs and improve energy efficiency overall.

Real-time energy data and monitoring software also allows employees to measure the impact their individual sector has on the overall energy consumption across the company. Having the ability to report on sector specific energy usage can serve as a wake-up call to employees that their day-to-day activities directly affect the business’ bottom line. The more informed an employee becomes in terms of energy awareness, the more inclined they will be to do their part.

The impact of employee awareness in regard to energy consumption can be felt across all levels within the business. From C-level executives requiring insights into ROI for future energy management programs, energy managers looking to improve operational efficiency, and plant operators who work with equipment daily. Real-time energy data and monitoring are a necessity to raise energy awareness and keep all employees on the right track towards corporate sustainability goals.

With the goal of making data-driven energy management decisions, real-time energy data and monitoring solutions provide the clearest picture on what authoritative metrics to analyse across your building or sites. Real-time energy data provides the information to plan actionable goals, calculate return on investment on energy projects and drive company-wide engagement.

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