More Efficient Business Energy Use in the Age of IoT
According to the BP Energy Outlook 2030, global energy demand for the 2011 to 2030 period will have grown by 36 per cent. This steep rise will naturally be accompanied by a cost increase, which is sobering news for businesses interested in expanding operations in the future.
THE ENERGY STAR CHALLENGE
Earlier this year, Jim Carr, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, encouraged all Canadian manufacturers to take part in the Energy Star Challenge. Those who successfully meet the challenge requirements – reduce their energy use by 10% over the next five years – will be formally recognized as “Energy Star Achievers”. Making industries more energy-efficient will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also creating jobs, improving competitiveness and contributing to Canada’s national approach to combating climate change.
THE NEW REALITY
It used to be that in business, using more energy meant you were doing better. The thinking: “We need more power because we are busy and operating for longer hours.” However, this kind of thinking has undergone a dramatic shift. Companies might have a variety of reasons for adopting stricter energy policies — from governments setting a high bar for corporate compliance with energy standards and carbon footprint reduction to the social pressure to be seen as a responsible world citizen — but the grim specter of ever-rising energy costs is at the true heart of the matter.
MANAGING ENERGY CONSUMPTION WITH IoT
Companies can get their energy costs down in many ways, including: switching off equipment that is not in use; installing more energy-efficient devices; getting an energy audit and acting on its findings; zeroing in on the heating and cooling situation; and allowing employees to work remotely or on the go. While such initiatives can make a fair dent in a company’s energy costs, most companies have not automated, and thus are not as energy-efficient as they could be.
Through the use of a smart energy management system (EMS), in combination with an emerging Internet of Things (IoT), it is possible for companies to automate their energy activities, and in so doing revolutionize the way they monitor and manage consumption.
The IoT is a vast network of interconnected devices that now includes between eight billion and 20 billion units, depending on the source. Basically, any device — airplane engine, automobile, fuel tank — with an embedded sensor and network connectivity can collect data and send it back to a central server.
A company with an IoT-EMS in place can:
- Collect quality, real-time energy datato make the best decisions at the right time.
- Analyze data on changing site conditionsto make smart adjustments to building operations.
- Monitor and analyze equipment-specific dataacross all sites, which results in better capital expenditure decisions and extended equipment life.
- Gather data from all sites on one interfaceto manage and automate energy-saving system controls and reduce overall operational costs.
An efficient IoT-EMS is one where energy levels for equipment such as heating, air conditioning, and lighting are optimized to ensure energy is used only when needed. This allows companies to
monitor building conditions and climatic data, perform demand limiting activities, and monitor and manage equipment via remote web-based controls. All of this can mean huge savings, not only energy-wise but also people-wise, with employees freed up to apply themselves to more productive, ROI-centered tasks.
THE CASE OF TOMS KING
TOMS King, which owns and operates over 100 Burger King restaurants in the US, was seeking a clearer view of their asset-level energy consumption, which would give it the ability to analyze trends and issues and to optimize control settings without compromising the comfort of its customers. A solution came in the form of GridPoint, who installed HVAC, lighting control, and asset-level sub-metering and monitoring. GridPoint also provided Energy Advisory Services, Control Support Services, and a mobile application. The result: TOMS King realized enormous energy savings, and to this day enjoys access to GridPoint alerts, reports, and dashboards that will help TOMS King continue to optimize their energy use going forward.
TOMS King is just one example among many of how all types of enterprise — from retail stores to factories and warehouses to rental management and apartment buildings — are reaping the rewards of having put an IoT-EMS in place. Their already improved bottom lines have been further improved by increasing the “lifespan” of their equipment through adherence to regular and automated maintenance schedules, through which they are seeing a much better ROI on their capital expenditure investments.
ENERGY MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS WITH BELL
With billions of devices now connected to the IoT, it is important to be backed by the right network, one that delivers speed, coverage, and reliability. Bell is a world-class IoT provider and provides access to Canada’s best national network. With Energy Management solutions, smart sensors remotely track energy utilization trends in your buildings, empowering you to increase operational efficiencies. You can also set up alerts to get notified of changes in energy consumption, so that you can proactively make adjustments to improve your bottom line.
To learn more about the Bell energy management solutions, click here.