Energy management and data go hand-in-hand; you can’t manage what you don’t measure. But while collected data provides insight, there is no true result without analysis and action. To see maximum value with an Energy Management System (EMS), an organization must have the right data, produced at the right time, aligned with the right processes, and combined with the right people to take action. GridPoint’s EMS leverages these key factors to create custom solutions designed to provide immediate value that increases over time. These values include reducing energy costs, increasing building efficiency, validating capital planning decisions, driving organizational sustainability, and improving employee and customer comfort.

This post will focus on how the right data can drive significant energy savings across an enterprise.

Energy professionals generally have a good understanding of the value provided by a building management system (BMS). Through a BMS, site managers can control lighting and HVAC equipment to optimize comfort, and reduce unnecessary energy spending driven by improper set points or mismanaged schedules. However, what is often missing from the BMS equation is the data needed to validate the system – how do you know it’s working if you can’t measure the results?

Submetering adds granularity and provides powerful data that can be combined with BMS information to achieve greater savings. A BMS will allow you to control your environment, and submetered data verifies that your controls are working as expected. This information, combined with advanced analytics, can provide deep insight into where opportunities exist to reduce even more energy across an organization.

The keys to achieving greater results through a comprehensive energy management system fall within four areas; scheduling optimization, equipment optimization, comparative analysis, and peak demand management.

Scheduling Optimization

By combining a BMS with submetering and advanced analytics, users can identify deviations between what is happening and what is supposed to happen.

  • Identify overrides: schedules are often overridden by employees or vendors. This leads to temporary overrides or schedule changes becoming permanent. GridPoint’s EMS enables override parameters to ensure employees and customers stay comfortable within a set threshold. These overrides then default back to normal after a specified period leading to more savings over time.
  • Validate scheduling: Sometimes schedules appear to be set up correctly, but communication isn’t happening at the equipment level. GridPoint’s data confirms that each piece of equipment within a site responds according to the set schedules, thus validating all communication paths. If is off-schedule, the data can provide further insight into what is malfunctioning and why, and immediate action can be taken.

Equipment Optimization

Not only is it possible for schedules to be misaligned at the site level, but it’s also possible that individual pieces of equipment may not perform as expected. Submetering enables users to identify which piece of equipment is malfunctioning and for how long.

  • Equipment issues: individual equipment, such as economizers or electric reheats, often rely on complicated control strategies to power it on or off. When a piece of equipment malfunctions during BMS control, users simply identify that it’s not working – there is no insight into why, such as an economizer damper failure, or simultaneous heating or cooling. GridPoint connects energy usage to the control schedule to validate if the units are operating as they should and provides feedback when they are not aligned.
  • Startup/shutdown: Understanding when the right time to turn off and on HVAC equipment isn’t as easy as setting a time and letting it go. Factors such as outdoor temp, time of year, and occupancy, can affect the daily schedules of individual sites. GridPoint’s EMS incorporates these factors and adjusts schedules automatically to optimize each site independently.

Comparative Analysis

Comparing energy usage across sites can help identify underperforming facilities and equipment.

  • Building and individual equipment comparison: Understanding equipment performance and comparing it across similar assets seems simple, but without the right context, it provides very little value. GridPoint’s EMS normalizes usage to accurately compare the performance of individual pieces of equipment and buildings with similar footprints.  By understanding site performance across an enterprise, decision-makers can identify which sites are excelling and which are not.  This can then be used to promote communication and competition, and to drive sustainability initiatives.
  • Deviation from baseline: Without understanding how a building or asset performed previously, it’s impossible to know if it’s performing well now. Comparing predictive models against actuals can provide deep insight into performance issues and help maintain energy efficiency measures. GridPoint incorporates historical data to trend energy efficiency projects over time. The project tracking feature enables users to set baselines for individual projects and track the project’s life to ensure goals are being met.

Peak demand management

One of the most powerful aspects of incorporating metering and BMS data together is through advanced management of peak demand.

  • Peak demand avoidance: GridPoint’s predictive algorithms forecast demand spikes and automatically shift loads to minimize the impacts of monthly peak demand charges.
  • Targeted equipment optimization: GridPoint’s data analytics tools make it possible to identify opportunities where system usage overlaps. Overlaying this with operational data, such as hours of operation or production schedules, it’s possible to optimize the run-time of the equipment automatically to reduce demand.

As you can see, submetering drives significant value opportunities not only at the facility level but at the enterprise level. I’ve touched on just a few examples of how the right data, at the right time, can identify hidden savings opportunities and reduce costs – and energy savings are just the beginning. Stay tuned for follow-up posts where I will detail how to leverage the right data to maximize additional values, including employee and customer comfort, capital planning, organizational sustainability, and building efficiency.