Among the many puzzle pieces for sustainable development in Europe, energy efficiency is a pivotal one. The European Union’s middle-term objective is to increase efficiency by at least 27% by 2030(*). Additionally, the incentive for energy efficiency comes down to financial gains. While assisting the EU to reach its 2030 goal, companies can improve their bottom-line by avoiding energy costs. Remember the motto: the least expensive energy is the one not used.
Your investments have impact
At Greenfish, we are passionate about progressing quickly toward this essential future. Therefore, we would like to know where you stand in your transition to reduce energy consumption. How hard have you reflected the sustainability impact behind your energy investments?
From our energy management experience, we recognize there are two main categories of companies with diverse focus on the value of energy.
On one hand, some companies are at the early stages of their energy transition process. They have not put much thought and are still wondering where to start a reduction strategy. In that case, we suggest they follow two logical steps: first carry out an assessment and then decide on specific actions. With this in mind, their first step should be an energy audit.
An audit aims to dig deeper in a site’s energy usage. It provides a snapshot of the state of consumption at a given moment. For each energy flow (heat, fuel, electricity, gas…), it critically assesses the performance of the equipment and identifies measures to diminish consumption. These measures include replacement with novel technologies, change in usage, change in energy vector, etc. What is more, these initiatives are even valorized by governments. For instance, Belgium has different voluntary regional mechanisms that support audits. The accords de branche énergie, in Wallonia and Brussels, or the energiebeleidsovereenkomst (EBO) in Flanders, were implemented to offer assistance, visibility, and financial incentives to companies wanting to take action on this initiative.
On the other hand, some firms may not identify with the above profile. They might have already relighted their sales facility, implemented a heat recovery system on the industrial process, and installed several photovoltaics panels on their roofs. In short, they are on the right track towards a smart energy use! Yet, they may still be unsure about the existing potential remaining. They may have difficulties optimizing the combined efficiency of their multiple initiatives and find that constant audits take not only their time but their money. In that case, an Energy Monitoring Tool (EMT) is the green technology they need.
You only impact what you measure
An EMT brings today’s high technology context to the traditional energy audit. Providing web platforms and wireless devices, it tracks production and consumption of energy over time on different sites. It is easy to use; just click to select the 15-minute update or a monthly/weekly breakdown of the data. An EMT also delves into the consumption details of a group of similar devices or even a specific device. By appropriately implementing this market solution, companies can unlock the complete energy overview they are looking for. This energy discernment will enable the following: detect abnormal consumption or behavioral trends, assist in preventive maintenance planning, understand consumption patterns to set KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for savings, compare sites and prioritize the actions required, plan the energy budget proactively, and so on.
The implementation of an EMT can be a solid foundation for a company’s energy strategy. However, we recommend to advance with this tool only if used to its full potential. First, move step by step to monitor the data, then allocate the adequate competencies to master the tool, and finally commit to continuously analyze the outputs. Ultimately, the goal is to be able to reap what has been sown: the energy efficiency opportunities located on the process chain. Thus, an EMT is undoubtedly a strong technology to support energy investments in the long-term.
Energy Monitoring Tool – Technological insights:
An energy monitoring tool is composed of three building blocks:
– Visualization platform: A software or online application that allows the user to follow its daily consumption and production. Depending on the technologies available on the market, the display and features of that platform can vary (number of viewers, different level of access, information presented, languages, visuals, …).
– Hardware equipment: A set of devices installed on-site to measure consumption/production at several points for different energy sources. Depending on needs, they can be installed on general meters only, or connected to sub-meters at key points or equipment in the process to have more detailed information.
– Data Analytics: In addition to the two building blocks introduced above, some EMT solutions generate intelligence from the information gathered. It allows to detect anomalies and send alerts, supplement consumption data with contextual factors (socio-demographics, weather, …), engage customers on usage patterns, define measures to be taken for consumption reduction, etc.
Invest to impact your measures
Poker players who believe the round is worth playing will pay to see the next cards from the stack. Installing an EMT or conducting an energy audit is sort of the same: pay their cost to have a better strategic understanding of the energy game. At Greenfish, we believe this game requires a solid strategy in order to play the right cards at the right moment. It is the reason why we assist our clients to define their motivations, identify and help implement the solutions fitted to their needs, and activate all the value drivers created by their investments.
(*) 2030 Climate & Energy framework of the European Commission. More info here.
Quentin Lancrenon – Project Analyst at Greenfish