There are several areas today’s business owners need to be looking at when it comes to energy management and efficiency, and one of these is the role of big data. Data is an increasing part of numerous areas of our world today, and helping keep facilities energy efficiency while offering them many other insights is a great example of how.
At Onsite Utility Services Capital, the use of data is an important part of many of our programs offered to clients in the realms of energy efficiency and management. For instance, we offer Energy Benchmarking services that help our clients understand if their energy usage is similar to other buildings in the area — this data can be used in several ways, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg that makes up many of our services. More broadly, what are some of the major ways data influences building energy management today, and how should you be utilizing it? Here’s a rundown.
Analysis of Energy Consumption
One of the simplest areas where data leads to obvious improvements from prior generations of energy management is the ability to see how energy is being used in near-real-time. This data can help to identify issues with a particular piece of equipment, or where rooms or sections of a building are using more energy than others.
In the past, this information was often gathered manually through walkthroughs and observations, but this process was very time consuming and not always reliable. With the advent of energy management software and the vast amounts of data now available, building operators can quickly see where issues may be and address them before they become bigger problems.
This also includes understanding how weather patterns and other outside influences are affecting energy consumption in your building. For example, if you know that a cold front is coming in, you can take steps to warmer the building before people start arriving for work.
Building Infrastructure Analysis
It’s not just energy consumption alone that can be analyzed using modern data, either. There are also a vast number of metrics that can be gathered from a building’s infrastructure, such as its HVAC, lighting and electrical systems.
Themes like equipment status, energy loss and fault detection are now possible to explore through data-driven analysis. This information is often used to improve a building’s operational efficiency, and in some cases it can even lead to significant financial savings.
Predicting Future Energy Demand
Another extremely valuable area where data provides great insights to businesses: Their ability to plan for future energy needs.
Through data analytics, it’s possible to not only understand how much energy your building is using right now, but also make predictions about how much energy will be needed in the future. This information can then be used to forecast long-term budgets and make other strategic decisions about the way a business is run.
For instance, if your company is expanding and you know that you’ll need more energy in the future, you can start planning for that now. You may even be able to get quotes on what future energy costs may be and factor that into your long-term business plans. There are also numerous other examples where this data can be used to great effect.
Fault Detection and Fault Prevention
Faults in your energy infrastructure can lead to big problems, both in terms of wasted energy and potential safety concerns. Even a single major fault can result in significant financial losses for a business.
Data-driven fault detection is a process where data is analyzed to find patterns that may indicate an issue with a piece of equipment or the overall energy infrastructure. Once these issues are found, they can be addressed before they turn into bigger problems. Without this data, these kinds of issues often couldn’t be detected until it was too late.
IDing Energy Fraud
Finally, a rising issue in the energy management world is energy fraud. This refers to issues where metering or other systems are manipulated in order to get more energy than what is legitimately being used. While these issues may sometimes come up due to mistakes or unintentional errors, there are also many situations where they are the intentional result of tampering, whether by an individual employee or even by a supervisor.
Data analytics can be extremely useful in identifying these types of issues. By analyzing energy data over time, it’s possible to see patterns that may indicate fraud is taking place. This information can then be handed over to the authorities to investigate.
Finding the Right Data Partner
If you’re looking to improve your company’s use of data within energy management and efficiency, it’s vital to realize that not all data is created equal. Not all data providers offer the same level of insights, and not all data can be used effectively for energy management purposes.
When looking for a data partner, it’s important to find one that specializes in providing data specifically for energy management. They should have a deep understanding of how to collect and analyze data in order to provide insights that will help your business save energy and improve efficiency. Ask about themes like their experience in the area of fault detection and prevention, as well as their ability to predict future energy needs.
As data analysis becomes a bigger and bigger part of business, it’s important to realize that this is also true for energy management. By utilizing data in the right way, businesses can make significant strides in improving their efficiency and saving money. To find out more about how data can help your business, contact the team at Onsite Utility Services Capital today.
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