'Big energy data' holds key to successful energy management, says technology expert
Businesses with diverse corporate estates could save up to 10% of their energy costs by simply embracing 'big energy data' and using technology to make various energy management systems work together.
That is the view of Richard Funnell, senior manager for Wipro EcoEnergy EMEA, who told delegates at the 2014 Energy Management Forum in Birmingham earlier this week that they should not be afraid of technology and data; but instead be making the most of both to ensure higher energy efficiency and lower operational costs.
"Big data is here to stay," said Funnell. "Many businesses have months and months of valuable data sitting on their PC that they do nothing with. If you take that data and understand what it means, you can save 10% of your energy-related operating costs.
"Heating, cooling, vent fans, access, security, telephones, lifts - the data you collect from the energy consumption of all of these things should be reporting together and giving you a true picture of what's going on in your building.
"That technology is certainly here now and cloud technology allows you to do that very easily.
"It also gives you greater compliance and an extended life cycle on each of those products. When collected together, the energy management data is richer - and it can be manipulated into reports that mean something to lots of significant people."
Funnell was speaking at the third annual Energy Management Forum, held at the Holiday Inn Birmingham City Centre on Wednesday (14 May). As well as discussing the latest energy obligations facing businesses, the Forum explored and showcased a number of existing and emerging technologies that can improve energy management performance. For more information on the event, click here.
Morrisons digs deeper
His comments come in the same week that supermarket giant Morrisons has brought data analysis to the forefront of its energy management strategy; announcing details of a multi-million-pound rollout of a new technology platform that will help it identify and reduce its carbon emissions.
Morrisons has implemented 'Rare Energy' - an operational optimisation software platform that the firm believes will play a big part in its ambitious carbon-reduction plan.
"In support of our carbon-reduction target of reducing our absolute carbon emissions by 30% by 2020, we are considering a number of approaches to energy efficiency," explained Morrisons' head of energy Stuart Kirk.
"Applying this framework gives us the opportunity to dig deeper into the performance of our stores and the results so far speak for themselves. The system allows us to apply a step-by-step process to understanding the assets and processes that drive energy demand and operational cost, and to apply appropriate fixes without impacting our customers' experience.
"In addition to managing down a significant cost to our business, the system allows us to fully understand and control our use of energy.
Following the rollout of phase one across 105 sites, Morrisons is currently realising an initial target energy saving in the region of 16%. Phase two will see the solution deployed across its remaining 395 stores and is due to be completed by October.
For more information on the specific energy management initiatives UK businesses will be implementing over the next 12 month, along with details of what energy-efficiency spending the public sector is planning, take a look at edie and Sustainable Business's recent white paper - 'Energy Managers: Procurement, Planning and Purchasing Priorities 2014/15'.