We’ve lost count of the many and inventive ways that organisations look to meet their sustainability goals, keep on top of costs and transform to operate more efficiently and effectively. And like the old adage about not seeing the forest for the trees, we know that quite often they are overlooking one obvious, but significant change that can address all three issues in one single action: through better management of energy consumption.
Yes, we know that this is an issue at the front of everyone’s minds right now, but we’re not talking about simply ‘using less’. What we are seeing more and more is that organisations are investigating new ways to access the underlying data that will help them to understand the way they consume energy. This data-first approach can give them the means to tailor their operations and use energy in a smarter fashion. And well they might because taking an Internet of Things approach to all areas of energy monitoring and management can be transformational. But what could this look like?
Our customers come to us to support them in solving this challenge across complex organisations. They may be industrial operations or multi-site retailers, chains of hotels and restaurants, or government buildings and facilities. What they all have in common is that they consume energy variably and have key targets to meet in terms of success and sustainability. They already have an understanding of what they wish to achieve, but after a short conversation the scale of the issue often becomes clear. The scope actually extends beyond a need to understand and reduce general energy consumption, such as HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and into addressing other, more long-term issues, such as:
- How can we make more efficient use of our machinery and/or equipment?
- Can we build smart controls into our infrastructure?
- What will reporting look like?
- How do we turn learnings from reports into actions?
As you can see, something as seemingly straightforward as a basic energy monitoring system has so much potential.
Loosely speaking, because of course every operation is different, the questions above naturally lead to an integrated solution that uses both IoT and machine learning algorithms to create a kind of virtuous circle of ‘data-learning-action’. Relatively simple low power energy monitors can gather data across one location or hundreds and in almost any energy-consuming scenario. This can then feed into an algorithm trained to recognise and predict patterns of consumption. Not only can this help to financially plan in the long-term, but it can lead to the kinds of cost-saving automations that will potentially mitigate any preventable negative impacts.
In parallel with to energy consumption monitoring, adding performance tracking of your equipment makes absolute sense when you have your eye on KPIs. It can be quite a revelation to see, particularly in real time, just how energy consumption fluctuates in inconsistently maintained machines. Building in performance monitoring to your energy plan can make sure maintenance is completed regularly and in a timely fashion. It also functions as an early warning system, preventing unnecessarily lengthy outages, but most importantly it keeps equipment in tip top – and energy efficient – operating condition.
Viewing operations via a dashboard is nothing new and it’s absolutely the same for energy monitoring. Frequent and regular reporting parameters can be set in advance, as standard, as well as having the flexibility to drill down and create your own consumption and performance insights. When you begin to see the trends, you can start to address them, both operationally (many are seeing the benefits of data in supporting their transition to green energy) and in terms of financial planning.
So, you see, it’s not just about monitoring consumption. It’s about creating a tech-forward business performance solution that streamlines your operations today but also protects them long into the future.
Avnet Embedded has designed, manufactured and supplied technology solutions for businesses worldwide that make energy monitoring solutions for domestic, commercial and industrial applications.
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If you are looking for a smart ways to improve the energy efficiency of your organisation, please contact us today.