Understanding Energy Monitoring
One of the most extensive concerns about energy monitoring is its long term applications. Concerned individuals will say that they wish they could rent an energy monitor, find their changes and return it. Others will use their monitoring system, see some savings, and then stop monitoring their usage altogether. In order to justify this ideal they say that the largest savings can be found right away, and that once they have found their usage habits they do not need to continuously monitor their system. So, the question becomes, what can be gained by continuously monitoring your energy consumption?
Energy monitoring can be used in several different fashions. It can be used to replace an energy audit, in other words, it can be used to point out areas that need to be made more efficient, such as lighting, filters, HVAC systems, and other items. Using this system you will see a lot of savings right away, but, just like with energy audits, you will need to conduct another audit eventually because equipment does not always stay the same. Your equipment and building is constantly changing, something that was fine one moment may break down the next. A small snap shot will not give you enough information to know if the changes you made are enough or will last over time. Continuously monitoring your system shows you if you need to make additional changes or if your changes were effective.
Buildings and facilities are a lot like humans. They contain a lot of different working parts that all need to work together for the whole system to function correctly. If you decide to go on a diet you will purchase a scale and weigh yourself routinely to make sure you are losing weight in order to make sure that your diet is effective. If you stop weighing yourself how do you know your diet is effective, how do you know you are losing weight? Without a scale you will have no way of knowing if your diet is successful, and in a lot of cases your weight will either stay the same or even increase! If you only weigh yourself monthly there is no way to tell what caused the fluctuations. Energy monitoring is synonymous with the scale. If you plan to cut your energy consumption you have to get your facility a scale to continuously measure the results, to make sure that your energy diet is successful and effective.
Comparing results from your monthly energy bills will not tell you what changed. It could be something as simple as the weather or a major problem. Real-time energy monitoring allows you to see your facility changing over time. It gives you the power to adjust your system and make changes before the problem makes it to your bill. Your monthly energy bill provides a small snap shot, but it is not enough to significantly manage and control your energy usage. Continuous Energy Management and Optimization (CEMO) is needed to get your building in shape and keep it in shape.