What is energy management and how to implement it
Energy management in the AECO sector involves monitoring and optimizing energy consumption. Find out about its benefits and how to successfully implement it
If you are a professional in the AECO sector, you are probably aware that energy management is an important task for a facility manager. Improving energy efficiency in buildings is one major need for the construction industry, being responsible for 30% of total global final energy consumption. Fortunately, there are some specific energy management software that can help addressing the energy efficiency matter allowing you to manage energy consumption in real time, having all data centralized in a single solution for activity tracking and easily identifying efficient energy saving opportunities.
Then let’s see how to put in place a successful energy management strategy.
What is Energy Management?
Energy management is the proactive and systematic monitoring, control and optimization of energy consumption to conserve use and decrease energy costs. The purpose of the energy management phase is twofold:
- paying attention to the increasingly pressing environmental needs;
- reducing the costs associated with energy consumption.
Energy-efficient technologies and materials can be widely deployed, including small but very important actions such as the use of light bulbs and energy-saving equipment, and more extensive actions such as, in the case of buildings, installing insulating layers, photovoltaic systems or the enhancement of HVAC systems, etc
It is important to highlight that energy management also involves an accurate monitoring and control plan. The sooner and better the energy management plan is implemented, the more it will have positive effects on the environment and on the costs associated with consumptions. For the implementation of an efficient energy management plan, it is essential to use new technologies and software that support professionals in assets monitoring together with their components and energy efficiency.
Generally speaking, energy management software typically rely on new technologies such as IoT (Internet of Things), advanced connectivity systems and Big Data, allowing a company to leverage energy data analysis for better facility management.
Why is energy management important in the construction industry?
As mentioned, the issues relating to current environmental needs are one of the major challenges of our time and it is vital to pay the right attention to them, especially for the AECO industry. It is now known, in fact, that the construction sector is a highly energy-intensive sector, accounting for 36% of energy consumption and 39% of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. In order to lower these percentages, it is necessary to address the energy management phase as efficiently as possible.
Energy management is the means of controlling and reducing the energy consumption of a building, which allows owners and operators to reduce:
- costs: energy accounts for 25% of all operating costs in an office building;
- carbon emissions to meet internal sustainability targets and regulatory requirements;
- risks: the greater the energy consumed, the greater the risk that rising energy prices or supply shortages could seriously affect profitability.
Which are the benefits of energy management?
Addressing the energy management phase in a complete and efficient way entails a series of advantages in terms of environmental and economic sustainability. Let’s see in detail which are the 4 main benefits of energy management:
- helping to achieve the “carbon neutral” objective: energy management allows to analyze energy data highlighting areas of excessive energy consumption and hypothesizing solutions for the reduction of carbon emissions. The aim is to operate more sustainably, reduce energy waste and remain compliant with carbon legislation.
- tackling rising energy costs: energy management helps to identify energy dispersions, sources of excessive consumption, to maximise energy efficiency in times of high demand and low supply and to avoid retrocessions in the future;
- monitoring energy consumption: energy management allows complete monitoring of consumption, equipment and everything related to the energy sphere. Thanks to energy management it is possible to plan a program of analysis and alerts in order to collect and analyze energy data;
- improving overall energy management strategies: Energy management makes use of key information such as monitoring and consumption data to identify energy-saving pathways, create well-informed processes, optimize risk and performance, and find areas for improvement.
How to best manage energy consumption in the construction industry?
Clearly, each project and each new construction challenge brings with it different sources of energy consumption and peculiarities to be analyzed at the moment, but in general it is useful to implement these three points for building energy management:
- measuring energy consumption and collecting data: this step is essential to identify excessive consumption, study the reason for it and act accordingly. Before data collection took place more manually, for individual worksheets, today fortunately through specific software for energy management it is possible to control energy consumption much more efficiently;
- find and quantify energy saving opportunities: the data collected through the first step will be valuable for finding and quantifying energy saving opportunities. Periodically and in detail analyzing the data collected thanks to monitoring can in fact allow to identify sources of savings that do not require excessive capital investments;
- monitor the trend of energy consumption: this third step is important to understand if the decisions taken in point 2 have been sufficient, if they have led to the achievement of the desired results or if they should be enhanced with other measures.
The long-term importance of sustainable construction is undeniable. How a building is designed and built lays the foundation for how energy efficient it will be throughout its lifetime. At the same time, looking for a way to control and improve energy usage in facilities that you manage with an energy management software will help you quantify energy waste and easily identify effective strategies to reduce energy consumption.
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