Energy Management Systems

3-PART BLOG SERIES

Data-Side Energy Management

In part one of our series on energy management systems, we examined how 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 primarily “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 modernization, including LED lighting retrofits and controls and process upgrades, contributes to more efficient facilities and reduces energy consumption while improving workplace safety and energy security.

Part three will 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

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. Though these investment magnates refer to wealth management, the same principle applies to energy management for several 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 build owners course correct, identify new opportunities, and validate the usefulness of improvements to justify portfolio-wide implementation.

Measurement & Validation Through Real-Time Energy Monitoring

Data is invaluable as a tool for verifying a project’s viability and cost-saving opportunity. 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 confirm that an upgrade delivers the cost-benefit promised over time, which can help decide whether to implement the new upgrades at additional locations. Meanwhile, the critical improvements inherent in the upgrade help modernize systems, meet sustainability objectives, and improve employees’ 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. Still, 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 cash flow of $500,000 and an annual cost savings of more than $60,000.

Find Out More About This Project:

Remote Monitoring

Monitoring system performance helps justify project investment. It also helps ensure that the system continues to deliver expected returns. This is where watching the basket 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 have never been – but now, with remote monitoring capabilities, problems with performance can be identified in real-time and corrected immediately. This helps maintain the economical 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 onsite visits, travel, and the labor involved in blindly troubleshooting a problem or performing tasks on site that can be performed remotely.

Mt. Rushmore Brewing is an excellent example of the ways remote monitoring contributes to efficient operations. The Ally Operational Technology Group recently modernized its brewing system controls for improved efficiency. The upgrades allow for remote monitoring and task implementation, saving the brewery labor costs. The enhancements also provide immediate chiller alerts when systems shut down, saving 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 throughout 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 valuable data 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

Knowledge truly is power when it comes to energy management, and today’s data solutions lift the veil on operations to deliver 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, stakeholders, and objectives: savings, sustainability, process improvement, occupant health, and well-being. Just as the efficiency ecosystem comprises mutually beneficial parts, the energy management ecosystem performs optimally 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 benefits all stakeholders now and for years to come.

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