The importance of energy management and measurement

By Shayne Wilson
Shayne Wilson, Head of EMS Sales at Pilot Group, explains why energy management and monitoring is of increasing strategic importance

As energy costs continue to rise throughout the UK, it is an increasing priority for business leaders to reduce their costs and lower their carbon emissions.

As energy costs continue to soar, the importance of energy management and monitoring has never been more significant.

According to energy analysts Cornwall Insight, SMEs have faced an average gas bill hike of more than 250% in the last year
alone. Another price increase is expected in October, where, according to the most recent forecasts, we should expect energy prices to rise even further, by a staggering 51%.

Despite this, in a study carried out by the Office for National Statistics, in the latter half of 2021, nearly half of all businesses surveyed reported that they are not implementing any actions to reduce their carbon emissions.

Overcoming cost, expertise and knowledge fears 

The three main challenges that are preventing these businesses from taking action are a concern over the cost of implementation, a lack of expertise to assess different options for change, and a lack of knowledge on how to measure energy outputs.

Decreasing energy consumption reduces running costs for businesses, lowers carbon emissions and shows customers that a company is environmentally conscious. So why is it proving so difficult to convince business owners to take a serious look at their energy outputs and learn how to make it more efficient?

Increased awareness around the strategic importance of energy management and monitoring is vital to overcome these barriers for change. After all, you can’t improve what you don’t know – and that lack of understanding can be overcome by taking simple steps to monitor your energy.

Whether you’re using advanced meters or smart meters, each can provide an accurate measurement of energy use. There are many different types of advanced monitoring systems available that help to build a detailed picture of the energy use within a business. However, even by just obtaining your half hourly meter information from your electricity provider, this
can be the starting point which will help to provide valuable insights into the energy efficiency of your business.

Rising popularity of smart meters monitoring energy output

Smart meters are also booming in popularity as they provide real time readings of how much energy is being used, and automatically send readings to suppliers.

Both smart meters and half hourly meter readings allow you to monitor and analyse energy-use patterns throughout the day, which can then be assessed against operational hours.

For a business that operates within a 9am to 5pm day, you will most likely see spikes in energy consumption during that time, with zero energy usage outside of these hours, apart from base load consumption such as fire alarms and emergency lighting.

Seeing large spikes outside of operational hours is a costly issue and easily fixable through the use of an energy management system which will measure your energy consumption and educate you along the way on how to continue to be as efficient as possible.

Pilot Group’s easy-to-use Energy Manager 2.0 is designed to control and monitor heating systems for businesses ranging from SMEs to large enterprises. The smart sensors and self-learning algorithm enable heating systems to work more efficiently to reduce waste.

Its user-friendly portal is accessible remotely from any location or device with an internet connection, making it the perfect tool to not only monitor one or multiple sites but also make significant savings on money and carbon – an average of 40%.

Recent years have seen a proliferation of energy management system technology, which has brought sophisticated systems and processes into play.

Sub-metering is growing in popularity, as a method that gathers more granular energy consumption information about a business or site, pinning down the energy usage across different areas of buildings and pieces of equipment. This also often acts as an early warning system, for any equipment that may need maintenance, helping to keep your business running as efficiently as possible.

As the cost of buying energy from the grid continues to increase, managing energy spend efficiently in order to protect profits is high on the agenda for every business throughout the UK.

It’s vital that businesses consistently monitor and measure their energy usage, a process that is easy to set up for those who don’t already have it in place. The more energy data you have, the more detailed your energy profile will be. By utilising this data to plan your business operations more efficiently, this will not only reduce your carbon emissions, but will hugely impact profit margins.

It's a common fear that it’s a costly investment to purchase green technology, however, while most energy efficient solutions are relatively inexpensive, the question I always ask my customers is; can you afford not to? When it comes to the cost of purchasing an energy management system versus the risk of inefficient or non-existent controls, and with energy
prices rising higher than ever before, it’s a no brainer.

Research by the Carbon Trust shows that most businesses can achieve meaningful cost savings by reducing their energy consumption and that even low and no-cost action can usually reduce costs by at least 10%.

Taking action now to measure your energy consumption could lead to significant results both financially and environmentally, helping your company survive the energy price hike that we are all facing.

When we look back at the three main barriers reported to be stopping more businesses from implementing energy management, it is clear that these are all easy to overcome.

There is in fact, a positive financial gain to be had by investing in an energy management system. There are also many companies and experts on hand to offer straight forward advice on the best way to measure your energy outputs and assess the results.

If any businesses have obtained their half hourly data but aren’t quite sure how to analyse the information, Pilot Group can help to make sense of it all by converting the data to an energy profile which will identify energy-use patterns throughout the day that can be assessed against operational hours. 

Shayne Wilson is Head of Energy Management System Sales at Pilot Group


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