Energy Management Systems


Data-Side Energy Management

In part-one of our series on energy management systems, we examined the way supply-side improvements can help industrial facilities improve ROI and meet sustainability objectives through lowered energy costs and improved operations. Supply-side solutions including tariff analysis, portfolio benchmarking, bill data processing and demand charge mitigation, among others, are largely “on-paper” improvements that help companies streamline their efficiency objectives and provide funding strategies for ongoing implementation.

Part-two in our series reviewed the mechanisms of demand-side management, which represents the nuts and bolts of day-to-day operational improvements. System modernizations including LED lighting retrofits, and controls and process upgrades contribute to more efficient facilities and reduce energy consumption, while also improving workplace safety and energy security.

Here in part three, we will take a look at the final critical element of a comprehensive energy management strategy – measurement, monitoring and analytics.

Part Three: Measurement & Validation, Remote Monitoring and Data Analytics

Back in 1885, American industrialist and steel industry scion Andrew Carnegie said in a speech given to students at the Curry Commercial College in Philadelphia, PA, “put all your eggs in one basket, and then watch that basket.” In more recent years, legendary investment guru, Warren Buffett has repeated that sentiment, and though these investment magnates are referring to wealth management, specifically, the same principal applies to energy management for a number of reasons.

Today, with the deep insights that are possible with the advent of data analytics and cloud computing, the long-term gains to operational efficiency and cost savings that come with “watching the basket” cannot be overstated. Data generated by energy systems can now be captured, processed and examined to help building owners course correct, identify new opportunities, and validate the usefulness of improvements in order to justify portfolio-wide implementation.

Measurement & Validation Through Real-Time Energy Monitoring

As a tool for verifying a project’s viability and cost saving opportunity, data is invaluable. For portfolio owners, before data, knowing where to invest capital was historically a matter of tending to squeaky wheels. But with the advent of analytical tools that can be added to an operational upgrade, capital expenditures are now more strategic and designed to deliver cascading cost offsets that can then be used for future improvements.

The ability to plan and roll-out projects based on their future cost savings is a game changer for large property holders looking to manage funds in the most efficient manner possible. In addition, using data to prove a project’s worth helps generate willful buy-in from all stakeholders. The data can prove that an upgrade delivers the cost benefit promised over time, which can help in deciding whether to implement the new upgrades at additional locations. Meanwhile, the critical improvements inherent in the upgrade help to modernize systems, meet sustainability objectives, and improve the comfort, safety and wellbeing of employees.

Real-World Example – Energy Monitoring Proves Value of Lighting Upgrade at Airplane Hangar

One of Ally’s clients is a fixed-based operator with sixty airplane hangars nationwide. All locations needed lighting upgrades for their aged and inefficient systems, but they were hesitant to sign off on a multi-site rollout until they knew the efficiency savings would be enough to offset the cost. The projected savings just seemed too good to be true.

To prove the project’s value, Ally installed energy monitoring equipment at the initial site and measured system performance before and after the upgrade. The results were dramatic, indicating a 10-year positive cashflow of $500,000 and an annual cost savings of more than $60,000.

Find Out More About This Project:

Remote Monitoring

Monitoring system performance not only helps justify project investment, it also helps insure that the system is continuing to deliver expected returns. This is where watching the basket really comes into play. A facility’s operational systems are technologically complex, and without monitoring and recalibration when necessary, the return on performance and savings can degrade over time. Lighting, refrigeration, HVAC – these are not “set-it and forget” endeavors – and they never have been – but now, with remote monitoring capabilities, problems with performance can be identified in real-time and corrected immediately. This helps maintain the economic integrity of the investment and helps identify potential issues while they are still small and relatively inexpensive to mitigate.

In addition, remote monitoring and persistence service allows for off-site experts to gain system insights via cloud-connected dashboards that are accessible in an instant from anywhere. This reduces the expense associated with on-site visits, travel, and the labor involved in blindly troubleshooting a problem or performing tasks onsite that can be performed remotely.

Mt. Rushmore Brewing is a great example of the ways remote monitoring contribute to efficient operations. The Ally Operational Technology Group recently modernized their brewing system controls for improved efficiency. The upgrades allow for remote monitoring and task implementation, which is saving the brewery labor costs. The upgrades also provide immediate chiller alerts when systems shut down, which save the company money in wasted product and labor.

In addition, the cloud-based GUI allows Ally to provide remote support in perpetuity for any issues they may encounter.

Find Out More About Our Work at Mt. Rushmore Brewery

Data Analytics

Finally, data analytics provide deep insights into system behavior that can influence improvement strategies over the course of a facility’s lifetime. Being able to see what operations are performing at their best, and what systems – or system parts – are failing or need tending has the potential to save untold amounts of money in labor costs, waste, unnecessary energy expenditures, and safety-related incidents.

In addition, to system insights, supply-side data analytics provide the groundwork for energy procurement and management strategies that can result in millions in energy and cost savings. Ally’s KnowRisk™ supply-side data aggregation and bill processing platform provides usable data that is analyzed by our team of experts to track budgets, energy market indicatives, and more to help facility owners strategize energy management in the most cost-efficient manner possible.

Moreover, data analytics allows businesses to monitor and display – in real-time – their carbon ledger. On-site dashboards can provide insights into whether or not companies are meeting their sustainability objectives, illustrating to clients, customers and shareholders that their commitment to carbon footprint reduction is paying off.

Ally client, JBS recently installed an onsite solar project to offset carbon emissions featuring prominent displays that show when they are operating in carbon neutral territory. Find out more about this project.

Ally – Energy Management Systems Experts

When it comes to energy management, knowledge truly is power, and today’s data solutions lift the veil on operations to deliver a clarity of insight and knowledge that were unheard of before now. Here at Ally we talk a lot about enterprise-level efficiency and the ecosystem that addresses all operations, all stakeholders, all objectives: savings, sustainability, process improvement, occupant health and well-being. Just as the efficiency ecosystem is made up of mutually beneficial parts, the energy management ecosystem performs at its optimum when every aspect is addressed. Supply, demand, and data are interconnected and work best when working together. Finally, it takes a team of true experts to put all pieces together to create a cohesive strategy with the highest possible return.

Ally Energy Solutions has the understanding and acumen, the people and positioning, the strategic insight and real-world experience to help you create an energy management system that delivers benefits to all stakeholders now and for years to come.

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