There is a huge array of options available in the market, ranging from emerging technology to tried and tested solutions. For organisations looking for a quick and efficient approach to reducing costs and consumption, one of the first steps is considering upgrading or replacing existing assets. One example is lighting: The Climate Group is currently urging more businesses to switch to LED lighting, as it is estimated that a global switch to LEDs could save around £70m and 403m tonnes of CO2 annually.
For a longer-term approach to energy reduction some businesses may find that a BEMS (Building Energy Management System) is better suited.
Installing and operating a BEMS does come with substantial upfront and ongoing maintenance costs, but these are falling as the technology becomes more established and can result in a significant payback – an effective BMS could reduce operational costs by up to 20%.
A BEMS will flag common issues that can easily be missed, such as the heating and air-conditioning running at the same time, or machines running when there’s no production taking place. By managing energy consumption through a BMS, organisations can ensure that operations are running as efficiently as possible with minimal human resources required.
Internet of Things (IoT) Devices
It has now become more common for businesses to implement IoT within their BMS and with the cost of sensors falling rapidly, they are becoming more accessible. This allows for a greater understanding of your energy usage and can help identify areas where energy efficiency could be improved, from smart devices to thermal imaging sensors that visualise heat flows in buildings.
This technology is already making its mark and with more devices being connected every day, we are now collecting more data than ever before – 90 percent of the world’s data was generated in the last two years alone, and this shows the increased importance placed on data which has risen by 27% in the last five years.
Many businesses already have a huge amount of data that is continually growing but AI (Artificial Intelligence) has the ability to automatically capture, process and analyse data, and learn as it does so. It’s this learning capability that can truly optimise your energy efficiency, using it to find trends, build relationships between databases and automating decisions and actions to drive down consumption. For example, integrating AI into a BEMS means the system can learn about an organisation’s typical energy consumption and make autonomous decisions to tweak usage for optimum efficiency.
AI could also assist more organisations in participating with Demand Side Response (DSR) schemes, by driving energy consumption intelligence to participants and inform theming to either shift or lower demand to aid the Grid. Organisations could also choose to automate their response through AI, using it to analyse operations and identify which machines to turn down/up quicker and more accurately than humans can.
Emerging technologies such as on-site storage and Electric Vehicles (EVs) are also changing business’ energy needs. There were 47,000 EVs on the road in 2017 and substantially more predicted over the next decade. There are more options available to businesses than ever before and technology is putting your business in the driving seat.
Whilst plans for charging EVs must be built into an organisation’s wider energy strategy, they could also unlock additional opportunities. As V2G (vehicle to grid) technology becomes more accessible, businesses can use the energy stored up in EVs to sell back to the grid at peak times, providing extra flexibility for the Grid and additional revenue for the business.
Take-up of onsite energy storage is also predicted to rise, allowing businesses greater flexibility to manage peak demand periods and reduce costly consumption during red DUoS bands as well as driving down Triad and capacity market charges over the winter.
Today’s technological advancements will only help further develop the role of the energy manager. Inenco’s own Future Utilities Manager report acknowledged that energy managers of the future will witness a substantial shift in the way technology affects their role, transforming their ability to analyse and visualise data and action strategies.
The report predicted that data would be at the heart of a business energy manager’s role, with daily activities focusing more on understanding, management and communicating data enabled through greater AI and IoT integration.
Technology has affected society as we know it, and the role of and energy manager is no exception. They will need to be an IT native, utilising all available technologies to ensure the smooth running of their business energy.
Stay one step ahead
At Inenco, we believe that technology is going to transform the energy industry, and businesses need a knowledgeable, proactive consultancy to help them make the most of the new opportunities the changing market will present.
If you’d like to find out more about the technology that can help you to reduce your energy bills, call us on 08451 46 36 26 or email email@example.com.