Energy and Smart Building Industry Blog

Enterprise Energy Management vs. Building Control Systems

This post is part of The Guide to Building Management Technologies.

What is Enterprise Energy Management?

Quite the Conundrum!  Or, is that a wine?  Well we can save that discussion for another blog…  There are so many choices today for consumers that it is hard to even know where to begin.  There is a wide-spread term being used in the energy efficiency and building management space and that term is Enterprise Energy Management (EEM). This term means many things to many different people depending on the nature of their business and/or industry.  At the root of it is the intent to connect ALL of your enterprise energy and facility assets into one system.

To decide what is needed you first begin by assessing your buildings and the current and future assets you have installed or plan to install to help manage and control your energy and facility strategies.  The obvious one is your building controls systems, but don’t stop there as a building control system IS NOT an EEM!  You should also include things like your meters, lighting, refrigeration, smart cooking equipment, point of sale information, and any other hardware or software point of data that can effect the process and insight to how your enterprise if being managed. If it has a data point that is measureable you should be able to tie it in to your EEM system!

Adaptive Energy Management - How to Use Your Buildings as a Battery

Many building controls companies offer an Enterprise Software Package that is great for tying their own systems together, but, is generally incompatible with other building control systems and often times cannot incorporate your other necessary data points.  If you are a national, multi-site company, you most likely have multiple types of building control systems across your portfolio!  Choosing to install this type of enterprise software package can help you with those systems but could restrict you from incorporating a full enterprise solution as you need to tie in all your other buildings and many times these systems do not incorporate other systems without a “black box” in the field to translate for you.

Next you need to look at the data coming from your systems.  Does this data enable you to grow with future technology improvements?  Is the output immediately actionable? Is it able to command back to your systems in the building WITHOUT human intervention and include available outside data points like point of sale or occupancy?  There is software out there than can do all of this and the best part is you are not limited to using your building control systems specific software.

The EEM software that you chose should give you special “insight” to your operations that enables actions to be automated.  Some examples may be schedules, price or demand response activities, other curtailable load strategies, fault detection rules and many other things like asset life and predictive maintenance – yes you should be looking to pull your work order management system into this EEM solution so that alarming and actions can take place to help with your facilities maintenance needs as well!

There are a lot of things you can do with an EEM solution that you cannot do with your traditional building control systems.  Building control systems are an integral part of your overall EEM strategy but it will never provide you with a full EEM solution as it stands today.  Without much effort, you should be able to drive north of 5% additional annual savings with a true EEM system, paying for itself in a short period of time.

Make sure your solution is nimble enough to be able to adapt as technology evolves and additional data sources become available.   Good luck on your journey on the super highway of data management!

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