Metering, monitoring and control systems reduce energy consumption through improved control, and indirectly by making energy consumption ‘visible’.
These systems also enable benchmarking of energy use and assist in identifying energy efficiency opportunities. The combined effect of motivating staff and revealing energy consumption patterns often leads to cost-free savings.
Developments in communications technology have helped bring costs down, making advanced metering a more viable proposition for medium-sized businesses. Energy-metering systems link into control technologies for flexible and sophisticated control of equipment. They also improve control accuracy, including production yield, quality and consistency.
The Energy Efficiency Tools Review report lists software for analysing energy use in the manufacturing, oil, gas, and power generation sectors.
Data gathered from existing meters can be better used to assist in understanding energy consumption and identifying efficiency opportunities. Valuable information is often available, such as meter readings taken over a long period.
Existing systems ensure that energy consumption, trends and KPI data is received by people who can influence energy efficiency. Automating the communication of this data ensures visibility and can facilitate suitable presentation.
Analysis and opportunity identification
Data on energy consumption and influencing variables can help identify energy efficiency opportunities.
Metering and monitoring can pinpoint energy consumption according to the areas of a building or factory, major energy using processes, and use in specified timeframes.
Energy metering and monitoring enables benchmarking of current energy usage and comparisons across different locations.
It can also show comparisons between a company’s energy performance and design calculations or theoretical best practice.
Improved control complements more flexible plant equipment, such as variable speed drives and heat sources, by allowing them to be operated optimally.
Demands on most energy-using systems vary according to:
- time of day
- production volumes
- product mix
- feedstock characteristics
- building occupancy.
An energy management technology system can improve control accuracy (higher production yield, more consistent product quality and better comfort) by controlling energy-using equipment according to system demands.
Minimise use of appliances
Heat or cool rooms only when they’re in use, and take advantage of natural warmth, cool air and breezes.
Use thermostats or HVAC software to schedule and control the operation of appliances.
The pace of energy management systems development is rapidly increasing as:
- computer technologies evolve
- controls, equipment and components become cheaper
- focus on energy management and emissions reduction intensifies
- demand for skilled staff increases.
Continuing and future developments include:
- data collection, intelligent control and communication capabilities being increasingly devolved to intelligent equipment, appliances, and other distributed intelligent devices
- increased communication among energy-using devices, meters, sensors and controllers, and sharing of data among systems
- wireless sub-metering, including self-powered modules
- more open-source data formats and communication protocols
- movement of electronic data and applications to the internet (cloud storage)
- real-time energy efficiency benchmarking and model validation and calibration.
These developments and trends, combined with higher energy prices and network charges, and the increasing focus on greenhouse gas emissions, will increase the already rapid uptake of energy metering, monitoring and control systems.
Advanced metering for SMEs UK Carbon Trust
Energy Savings Measurement Guide Australian Government
Energy Efficiency Opportunities Assessment Handbook Australian Government
Measure and monitor energy use in your business Sustainability Victoria
Metering Best Practices: A Guide to Achieving Utility Resource Efficiency (PDF 9.6MB) US Department of Energy