Efficient energy management is the solution for this world’s ever-rising energy demand.
As per EIA, the total energy consumption of the world is expected to increase by 48% before 2040. Favorably, employing an energy management system(EMS) in a building may save up to 29% on energy consumption costs.
But the process of managing energy smartly isn’t limited to just buildings and houses. It also covers areas like logistics, industrial production, machine maintenance, the energy procurement process itself, and even your personal life.
If you find this interesting enough, then in this article, you’ll be knowing more about the process of energy management. Finally, we’ll also introduce to you our Energy Monitoring System.
What is Energy?
Starting with the term “energy”, then it’s defined as – the capacity of a body to do work”. It’s present in various forms, like – Heat, chemical, light, motion, or gravitational.
The First Law of Thermodynamics is worth recalling here, that states –
Energy can neither be created nor be destroyed, but it’s just converted from one form to another.
We eat food to keep us alive with the energy it stores. So, we use the chemical energy present in the food after it’s converted inside our bodies for our day-to-day activities.
Similarly, the chemical energy present in coal is converted into electrical energy, and then into light energy for lightning in our houses.
What is Energy Management?
As per Verein Deutscher Ingenieure (VDI), which is an organization with 150,000+ engineers and scientists, energy management is defined as follows-
Energy management is the proactive, organized, and systematic coordination of procurement, conversion, distribution, and use of energy to meet the requirements, taking into account environmental and economic objectives.
To put it simply, Energy Management is a process that involves optimization of energy use for the best possible outcomes and taking steps for its conservation. It also includes planning related to the production of energy and its storage for future usage.
So, the ultimate aim of the process is not only to save the cost, but also to achieve one of the goals of sustainable development.
Whenever energy is consumed or is produced by fossil-fuels, some amount of greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. This contributes to global warming which is an undesirable phenomenon. So, efficient energy management is also a key component of Carbon Management or Net-Zero.
Contrary to the prevalent belief, energy management applies not only to large buildings and industrial facilities but even to small living units, like our kitchens or dining room. So, you can start applying the process right away from your home by switching off your electrical appliances when not in use.
Various aspects of Energy Management
Efficient use of electricity in commercial/residential buildings is just one part of the energy management process. But the fact is – the process extends itself in other domains too, such as Logistics, Industrial Production, Machine Maintenance, Energy Procurement Process, and your Personal Life.
Let’s look into each one of these.
1. Facility Management
Energy management in commercial spaces involves steps to reduce electrical energy consumption costs, but without compromising the quality of work. This also makes energy management a part of the facility management process.
As already told, the authorities may save up to 29% of the total energy costs through the proper implementations of energy management systems.
2. Energy Management in Logistics Operations & Transportation
Energy management in Logistics implies choosing the right means of transportation, routes, performing load optimizations, using fuel-efficient vehicles, and opting for clean fuels.
Around 15% of CO2 emissions worldwide are caused by road transportation operations. So, implementing energy management here will not only save transportation costs but also combat environmental damage and global warming.
3. Energy Management in Manufacturing Industries
A lot of energy improvement scope also lies in industries. The management may take the following measures to save energy.
- Replacing old manufacturing machines with modern energy-efficient ones,
- Proper planning of production and maintenance activities,
- Using innovative ways of energy storage devices e.g. lithium-based electromechanical devices, and
- Spatial plannings.
- Using energy-efficient technologies – One of the examples of energy-efficient technology is using Infrared Radiation(IR) for heat treatment or cooking purposes. IR treatment in a food processing company may save up to 78% of its electricity costs. It also doesn’t require any oil, unlike traditional cooking which also needs to be replaced regularly, and thus provides more savings.
Ensuring best energy practices in industries will save substantial costs, improve work efficiency and provide a safe working environment.
4. Energy Management in Energy Procurement Process
The energy procurement process involves selling/purchasing energy units.
The poor approach and transactional decisions here may result in increased energy bills of an organization. So implying energy management in this field involves taking proactive and smart buying decisions.
5. Personal Energy Management
Personal energy management is about managing your physical activities, mental efforts, as well as your emotional state throughout the day for a happy and healthy living.
What are the steps involved in Building Energy Management?
Here, we’ll me primarily focusing on Energy Management inside commercial/residential buildings.
The process of energy management comprises the following 4 steps-
1. Collection of energy data
As a rule of thumb: the more data you can get, and the more detailed it is, the better it is.
The modern approach to energy-data collection is to measure and record energy consumption at short & regular intervals, like for every (15-30)minutes. Detailed interval energy consumption data makes it possible to see patterns of energy waste that would be impossible to see otherwise.
So, an Energy Management System(EMS) has a role to play here. It can be used to track many types of equipment like lifts, electric panels, diesel generators, etc.
2. Inspection or Analysis of energy data captured
The detailed data you have collected will be invaluable if it’s not analyzed properly to quantify energy-saving opportunities.
The easiest and most cost-effective energy-saving opportunities typically require little or no capital investment.
And this how you can do this-
a.) Use your interval data to calculate how much energy (in kWh) is used each weekend.
b.) Estimate the proportion of energy that is getting wasted on a daily basis.
Using the figures from (a) and (b), calculate an estimate of the total kWh that is wasted each weekend.
3. Act accordingly to improve the energy consumption
Only by finding the opportunities won’t help you to save energy. One has to take action on the basis of the data collected and findings done.
4. Keep tracking the complete process for continuous future optimizations
Once you’ve taken actions to save energy, it’s also important to find out how effective your actions have been.
Energy savings that come from behavioral changes need ongoing attention to ensure they remain effective and achieve their maximum potential.
If you’ve invested money into new equipment, you’ll probably want to prove you’ve achieved the energy savings you predicted.
If you’ve corrected faulty timers or control-equipment settings, you’ll need to keep checking back to ensure everything is still working as it should be.
If you’ve been given energy-saving targets from above, you’ll need to provide evidence that you’re meeting them, or at least making progress towards that goal.
Why is Energy Management important?
Energy management is today’s need of the hour. We have already talked it aims to conserve energy turning into cost savings. But there are plenty of more reasons attached to the scene.
1. Energy Management saves costs
Now we already know this, using an EMS in a building may bring up to 29% savings on total energy consumption costs.
But even a small measure if taken, such as replacing old CFL bulbs with more energy-efficient LED lights, can reduce the lighting energy consumption by more than 50%, given that it’s used for a long period of time.
2. Reduces the risk of energy scarcity
Though energy is just converted from one form to another, it’s still susceptible to its scarcity.
As per a study conducted by the US Energy Information Administration(EIA), the world’s energy consumption is expected to grow by 48% by 2040. If not taken adequate steps, a sudden surge in energy demand may cause energy scarcity in the future.
3. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions
38% of the world’s total electricity is produced via coal power plants. The burning of coal and other fossil fuels release Greenhouse gases like CO2, CH4, CO, CfCl, etc that poses the threat of global warming and its induced climate change.
4. Renewables have overhead costs too
Even the energy obtained from renewable sources has substantial overhead costs and capital costs attached to them. So this factor also needs to be considered.
As per EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2021 report, the capital costs in terms of per kW for renewable energy sources like,
- Nuclear Power is approx $7000,
- Bio-mass is approx $4000, and
- Hydropower is approx $2700.
For the sake of comparison, it varies from $(3800-6000) for coal power plants depending upon their type as per the National Renewable Energy Laboratory(NREL).
5. To maintain energy price
A balance between demand vs supply is essential to manage the cost of any commodity. And this goes with energy too. The fluctuations in energy prices will also affect the prices of electrical appliances. So, proper energy management will ensure the affordability of energy and its appliances in present times and for the future.
6. To meet statutory compliance
Keeping the cost savings and other reasons aside, it’s also becoming obligatory for industries to abide by energy compliances issued by regulatory bodies.
In 2019, Singapore implemented a “carbon tax” set at $5 per ton of CO2 emissions. It’s the first country in Southeast Asia to implement such a scheme. They did this to encourage industries to reduce their carbon footprint. Talking of today, the SG authorities are planning to increase this tax to $(10 – 14) per ton CO2 emissions to further curb the CO2 emissions inside their country.
7. Managing energy also saves water
We just discussed the overhead costs of renewable energy sources. Going down further, the hydroelectric power plants, though they are free from fossil fuel consumption, may degrade the quality of water resources in a variety of ways. Oxygen stratification, eutrophication, thermal pollution, and mercury pollution are the major challenges posed by hydroelectric facilities where they are constructed.
What is an Energy Management System(EMS)?
An energy management(or monitoring) system(EMS) is an automation-based system that consists of energy data capturing tools and a display system to efficiently analyze the energy consumption for desired benefits. It solves the problem of lack of proper insights and unplanned saving initiatives that results in unaccounted energy bills.
Analysis tells that energy managers across the globe are now changing their way of working towards energy analysis. As per known figures, 67% of the managers pronounced that the data has affected their thought and decision-making process.
The impact was phenomenal where they were able to see savings graphs shooting up-to a huge 17% in just 12 months. And the entire project cost recovery was achieved in 14 to 17 months!.
But managing energy consumption doesn’t have to be a full-time job. As you’ll achieve much better results if it’s made a part of the regular routine.
What is LogicLadder’s The Sustainability Cloud?
Having all said on energy management, we at LogicLadder offer our Energy Monitoring & Management Solution – The Sustainability Platform.
The Sustainability platform allows you to monitor your equipment in real-time. With the help of data, you can visualize the consumption in-sights and then act accordingly to save energy costs.
Know full features and advantages of our Energy Monitoring System.
But our platform is not just another energy management tool in the market. As its name also suggests, it aims to achieve complete environmental sustainability. So apart from performing energy management, you can also get insights into effluents, groundwater, and emission insights, making it a true Sustainability platform aiming at NetZero.