Choosing the Best Solution for Managing Energy Consumption
Utility costs are among the top 5 operating expenses for most enterprises. Statistics show that small businesses annually spend more than $60 billion on energy. That’s where a smart energy management system comes into play. It’s a framework that helps organizations and businesses monitor, manage, and optimize their energy consumption to reduce costs, conserve resources, and reduce their environmental impact, especially if combined with green workplace practices.
Read on if you consider implementing energy management software in your business. Below, we share helpful tips for picking the perfect solution.
What is a Smart Energy Management System?
Such software collects data from energy-consuming devices, such as HVAC systems, cooling equipment, lighting, etc., and makes it available to operators in the form of detailed reports and graphics. Having all information at their fingertips, businesses can analyze their energy performance levels and utilization degree, pinpoint saving opportunities, set targets, plan energy-efficient measures, and much more.
How to Pick a Smart Energy Management System
Set Clear Goals
Every business is unique and has its own energy management needs. As well as there is no one-size-fits-all solution on the market. Therefore, to make the right choice, you need to clearly establish what exactly you want to alter and achieve by implementing a smart energy management system. Do you lack visibility into your consumption to improve efficiency? Are you tired of high monthly utility bills and looking to cut costs? Or maybe you would like to automate routine tasks and save time for more important issues? Being more aware of your goals will help you narrow down your options to the software that will help you solve your specific problems.
Look into Functionality
Now, as you’re clear about what you plan to accomplish, it’s time to examine the market. Here are key things you may want to consider when selecting energy management software for your business.
Ease of Use
The last thing you want is to get software that is so difficult to navigate it can be used only by qualified personnel. That also applies to installation and implementation. We recommend that you opt for a solution with an intuitive, user-friendly interface you and your staff will feel comfortable operating. Otherwise, training staff on the use of the new system may cost you a lot of time and a pretty penny.
Specify what type of data you’ll be able to extract from your smart energy management system. Some solutions provide only quarterly hourly data on the building/facility as a whole. Don’t settle for less than real-time infrastructure-wide and equipment-specific data. Having up-to-the-minute, full information on the amount of energy your business and separate devices use, you can timely identify and troubleshoot problems, thereby preventing or reducing downtime, and pinpoint energy-saving opportunities. Moreover, being aware of how much energy each particular piece of equipment consumes, you can spot top “guzzlers”, and adjust their operation accordingly or simply replace them.
Also, make sure the software offers historical data. That way, you’ll be able to compare your current consumption levels to previous years, detect trends, and analyze past issues.
Alarms and Warnings
You may also want to look for solutions with an automated warning system, to keep you and your staff promptly notified of any equipment malfunction. This will facilitate abnormality detection and ensure quick problem-solving, especially with per-device alarms.
Any energy management software consists of two main parts: hardware and software. So it’s important that the solution you choose can easily interact with your smart meters and sensors with little to no intervention on your part.
No matter how user-friendly the software is, we realize that not all users are energy experts and that you will probably need help with “deciphering” tons of consumption data. Therefore, we recommend that you opt for a smart energy management system that offers analysis support. For an additional fee, a dedicated team of professionals will help you find trends in your data, identify opportunities for cost and energy savings, and ensure your employees respond to failures properly and timely.
Your Next Step
We hope these tips will help you select an effective energy management system so that you can start saving on energy and adding additional value to your business right now. And in case you consider building custom software, Softarex is here to help!
We develop a whole range of manufacturing and energy solutions that cover everything from smart meter reading to HVAC management. Our team leverages 20+ years of experience in full-cycle software development and extensive technical expertise in AI, computer vision, and machine learning to create smart digital solutions that help businesses reduce operating costs and improve energy efficiency. Feel free to contact us to discuss your project.