In the past two to three years, we have seen the market moving up the curve towards actively managing energy. The long term goal for most organizations is Energy Optimization.

For many of us, the first quarter of the year is a time for reflection and planning.  So, here’s a question for you, “At what stage of the ‘Energy Management Journey’ is your organization, and where do you want to be in one to five years?”

It is widely accepted that there are energy efficiency and savings opportunity on offer across most industry verticals, and particularly in the built environment. Whilst estimates range widely from 20% – 50%, it can be said with certainty that the energy efficiency opportunity is significant.

In our experience, harnessing this opportunity is closely linked to the quality and timeliness of information available to drive decision making. We have developed the “Energy Management Journey” chart to illustrate how efficiency savings can be generated over time as organizations proactively embrace energy management.

Historically, the market has been focussed on the Monitor stage – treating energy as a “non-controllable” overhead. You know you are in this mode of operation if your utility bill data is your main source of information.  At this stage, all you have is a “rear view mirror” assessment of energy performance.  Furthermore, this type of data doesn’t provide adequate detail to identify possible changes.

In the past two to three years, we have seen the market moving up the curve towards actively managing energy. This has been particularly true for the management of utility costs based on supply side dynamics i.e. how you procure energy.  A sure sign of “supply-side” energy management is a focus on procurement activities as well as regular validation of utility bills. These activities can be performed in-house, but are often outsourced to third party consultants given the deep market and tariff expertise required.

Demand management is also on the rise, albeit at a much slower place. If you are starting to make use of utility interval meter data (which provides a 15 or 30 minute view of energy consumption) for daily monitoring and analysis of consumptions trends then you’re well on the way to implementing a more proactive energy management strategy.  The challenge with this approach however, is getting access to the data in real time and working with the limited insights the data can produce as it tends to be at a whole of building level.

The long term goal for most organizations is Energy Optimization, where access to real time data at the sub meter and sensor level provides a detailed view of the hourly performance of individual assets.  Clients at this stage of maturity are utilizing granular data to actively investigate the causes of energy wastage, which gives them the insight they need to improve operational practices and create greater accountability for energy performance.