How to monitor your business’s energy consumption
To check your business’s energy consumption, you will need a specialist partner who isn’t only capable of providing sophisticated meter systems but can also draw up a tailored strategy and suggest corrective measures
Published on 20 January 2020
Do you feel that your business’s energy consumption is too high? Have you noticed an unusual increase in your bills lately? Or do you simply want to find out how to save on your energy costs? The only workable solution is to have your energy consumption monitored, a simple, completely non-invasive operation that won’t interfere with your company’s normal day-to-day activities but which, nonetheless, demands both specific skills and equipment that only a specialist partner can provide.
With regard to electricity consumption, for instance, the usual approach is to use an instrument, a meter, capable of measuring the main electrical or heat parameters, such as kilowatts consumed and the electrical power absorbed by each individual device connected to the grid or user of heat, be it a manufacturing machine, a data management server or an air conditioning unit.
Other measurement systems, such as special valves and flowmeters, can monitor water, gas for domestic hot water production and heating, and the compressed air required to run industrial machinery.
The first step is to develop the site/department’s “energy model” by establishing how the energy vector is used. A measurement instrument should be assigned to each use to measure the vector and how to correlate consumption.
This basically means that a network of sensors has to be created in the company that will collect data. This will be monitored and analysed by specialist software as part of a project that takes into account the activity and production process.
Businesses that cannot do this themselves through their in-house energy manager or dedicated staff member, can call in an Energy Service Company – ESCO(1) or an Energy Management Expert – EME(2). They will provide meters and monitor consumption using analytical software, producing regular reports or providing access to an online dashboard to allow the situation to be monitored.
Any anomalous data picked up, for example, on the company electricity network, such as consumption peaks, will help give a very precise indication of where to intervene and then correct any issues that might be discovered. Some such issues can be as banal as a badly-maintained machine or a compressor malfunctioning. The individual or company doing the monitoring can thus provide advice on which energy strategy to adopt and on any corrective measures that need to be taken. They could be anything from simply replacing components or plants to changing management and personal habits.
Further monitoring is essential to check that the measures taken are working, to calculate any savings made or to measure the effectiveness of environmental sustainability-focused projects such as the installation of renewable energy systems or the development of White Certificate (also known as TEE, “Titoli di Efficienza Energetica,” or “Energy Efficiency Certificates”) request project.
(1) ESCo - Energy Service Companies support businesses in the management of efficiency-related measures, sometimes even financing the latter. Under Italian legislation, these companies must hold UNI-CEI11352 certification.
(2) EME – Energy Management Experts are professionals certified to work as consultants in the energy sector. To work in Italy, they must hold UNI-CEI 11339 certification.