Energy and Smart Building Industry Blog

How IoT is Helping Facility Managers Control Energy Spend

For many businesses, controlling energy spend is rooted in simple cost management techniques and broad price reduction. But as regulatory pressures increase, costs rise, consumer pressures intensify, and carbon footprint tariffs emerge. This means that finding ways to
dynamically reduce energy spend via technology can be a critical driver of organizational success.

The "energy well" trapped inside of each business' building portfolio is significant. Companies who choose to focus on leveraging their existing energy data to identify energy waste and maximize energy potential across facilities will become differentiators. Mastering energy flow is key to mastering the future of your business.

But what does it mean to master energy flow, and how can businesses transform their energy blueprint?

Guide to Building Management Technologies

What Does Energy Cost

Whether you know it or not, energy is a source of revenue leakage for your company. According to a U.S. Energy report, there are over 5 million commercial buildings in the United States — and they output over $200 billion worth of energy annually. To put this into perspective, the average commercial building consumes over 50% more power today than it did in 1985. Additionally, those cost of that energy is nearly three times the cost it was in 1985 (accounting for inflation).

Not only are businesses consuming more energy at a higher rate than in the past, but they also aren't creating any areas of opportunity. Energy risk management has stagnated. The average commercial building still wastes 30% of the energy it consumes — a problem that many organizations attempt to mend with price reduction techniques.

But do they work?

Emerging Solutions

When most businesses think of energy management, they think of energy price reduction. The lower your energy costs, the broader your overall savings. At least, that's the primary thought driving a plethora of today's energy management sector. However, energy waste in the commercial space is still significant — and rising costs and increasingly complex regulatory oversight has made simple price reduction a pain point.

Beyond cost reduction, facility managers also indirectly look after energy management. Between on-site safety (e.g., OSHA, DoT, etc.) and hazard compliance, facility managers often struggle to assess and mitigate energy sinks in their facilities. There simply isn't enough time or resources to granularly address problematic energy areas.

But things are changing.

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How can you reduce energy costs with IoT?

Today, companies have tangible options that can help reduce energy costs and reduce energy risks granularly. Predictive energy analytics and IoT can target energy savings. Solutions like Enterprise Data Xchange® can monitor millions of energy data points and automatically push commands out to HVAC systems, refrigeration units, and machines across multiple locations.

The ability to detect energy opportunities and automate energy workflows unlocks new areas of opportunity for facility managers. Let's look at three pillars of value that IoT can provide.

  1. Reduced energy consumption
  2. Improving energy workflows
  3. Increased energy visibility

1. Reduced Energy Consumption

Commercial facility managers are often asked to manage complex energy requirements without the resources they need to track, configure, and record on energy consumption adequately.

The average commercial building has many unique energy-generating components. HVAC systems, lighting, and machinery are all critically important to the overall function of commercial spaces, but they're also power-hungry.

With energy-predictive IoT technology like EnterpriseDX, all of those energy-consuming components can be carefully monitored and controlled. IoT sensors can track energy consumption trends, recognize energy spikes, regulate energy granularly (i.e., via pre-defined settings), and control demand-side activities. 

This leads to decreased energy consumption across your entire energy network — which means lower energy costs and a reduced carbon footprint.

2. Improved Energy Workflows

Implementing energy controls work. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, energy efficiency programs only cost 2 cents per kWh saved

With IoT, energy efficiency becomes energy automation. Imagine a world where building managers didn't have to check on each energy-connected device manually. Imagine that IoT-powered sensors could automatically adjust every device to run at the optimal level continuously (i.e., the "comfort zone") 24/7.

In this world, HVAC systems always keep the room comfortable, and IoT sensors ensure that the system only consumes the minimum amount of energy possible to make that happen. With sophisticated algorithms that account for the building environment, pre-configured controls, weather, occupancy, and past device history, every component in your energy-connected building runs at-peak non-stop.

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Energy consumption is an incredibly complex ecosystem. Simple changes can have massive consequences. Simple changes to lighting can boost employee productivity by 22%. At the same time, too much light can lead to energy waste. With IoT, that happy medium is maintained around-the-clock — with little-to-no manual input necessary.

Now imagine that that's not the future. That's today. EnterpriseDX can not only do all of the above, but it's easily manageable from a single browser with advanced schedule editing features and plenty of back-end control. Your energy control systems shouldn't be complicated. Facility managers have plenty of tasks on their hands. Controlling energy consumption while taking millions of extraneous factors into account, is simply unfeasible.

3. Increased Energy Visibility

Dealing with a failing HVAC system is a nightmare. Commercial HVAC systems cost around $20 per square foot of the building. So, for facility managers looking at a 10,000 square foot building (which is around average), a single HVAC system can cost upwards of $200,000.

What if facility managers could detect failures before they happened?

And what if the secret to preventive maintenance was energy data? 

Long before HVAC systems (or most energy-dependent components) fail, their energy usage signals change. Using IoT Smart Building systems, these spikes in energy can be detected and utilized to promote an atmosphere of predictive maintenance — instead of an atmosphere of reactionary costs.

The Future of Energy, Today

Facility managers shouldn't look at energy consumption as a cost center. With the proper solutions, managing energy across buildings becomes an easy, automated task that can create new revenue areas and reduce existing revenue leakage.

For a free guide to facilities energy management, please click below.


Posts in this series

What Facility Managers Need to Know About Load Shifting - Part 1

Are You Managing Your Energy Spend?

4 Common Myths of Energy Conservation in Building Management

Precision Building Management: Understanding Closed Loop Control

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