What are the Benefits of Using an Energy Analytics Platform?
Data is a great thing to have. But processing and managing data can be cumbersome and redundant – and a challenge that many organizations don't have the time or resources to take on.
In this article, we explore:
- How management of energy and sustainability data has evolved in recent years
- How energy analytics platforms work
- How organizations can benefit from energy analytics
The importance of data management
Utility data is crucial for organizations seeking to demonstrate their commitment to energy efficiency and carbon-reduction goals.
Historically, utility data has been collected and processed using spreadsheets or, in some cases, simply stored in filing cabinets. As expected, this isn't the most effective method – for collaboration or goal setting.
Thanks in part to advancements in technology, the management of energy and sustainability data has evolved in significant ways in recent years. Software tools like IGS Energy's JadeTrack product allow organizations to streamline their data management by providing:
- Automated utility bill management with ENERGY STAR benchmarking
- Real-time energy monitoring
- Program management services
This type of solution makes tracking, benchmarking, analyzing and reporting, while reducing often time-intensive and error-prone processes.
Clearer insight into ' energy and sustainability data
Regardless of industry, organizations can benefit from visibility into their energy performance, as it can be useful toward finding ways to cut waste and save money. One challenge is that data may come from many different sources and in different formats.
Data can come from sources including:
- Accounting and finance teams
- Bill-pay systems
- Building automation systems (BAS)
An energy analytics platform can pull data from all of these sources into one platform.
And, for insight into factors that may impact your monthly bill, an energy analytics platform allows you to set audits and alerts on an as needed basis.
Think of it as turning your paper bill into actionable insights.
Where operational efficiency meets energy efficiency
Visibility into energy consumption can improve efficiency by eliminating energy waste through low- or no-cost measures such as scheduling, commissioning and occupant or operator practices.
For businesses that already understand their monthly utility bill data and are ready for more granular details, leveraging an energy analytics platform's real-time monitoring provides energy consumption in 15-minute intervals. This can help identify opportunities for immediate energy efficiency improvements. It can also help answer questions like:
- Is your energy use lower on weekends because of lower occupancy or shorter opening hours?
- Do spikes in energy consumption come from an increase in visitors, or cold weather on those days?
Organizations with more granular levels of energy monitoring information have the potential to gain deeper performance insights – leading to greater savings over time.
How to choose the right energy analytics solution for your business
Ideally, your data, and the way you work with it, should align with your desired outcomes.
There are several solutions available for tracking energy and sustainability data, and each solution has strengths and weaknesses. Spreadsheets, for example, offer a slow and inefficient way of collecting and reporting on high-volume data – but they also represent a low upfront cost.
If you're not sure what will work for your business, consider the following:
- What are your goals? Are you interested in earning LEED points, or working towards your ENERGY STAR certification? Do you need to view specific information to do your job?
- Take an inventory of your existing data. What information do you already collect? Does your process make it easy for you to bring this data into your reporting workflow?
- Engage with your key stakeholders to understand their concerns, workflows and needs.
- Create a centralized data management plan. Having clarity on what information should be gathered, and what it is used for, will help improve uptake.
Learn more about energy solutions for your business here.