Energy management is a term referring to saving energy in businesses, private homes, public sector and government organizations. Specifically, it is the process of monitoring, controlling and conserving energy in a building or organization. Typically, this term applies to existing buildings and equipment, and finding ways to make these existing assets more efficient.
Energy management is not just about saving money, although that is a key component for businesses and homeowners alike. There is also a global need to conserve, reduce our carbon footprint and make sure we leave behind a sustainable future.
By initiating energy management strategies, businesses can get a better handle on their costs, find new opportunities for efficiency, reduce risk, and make more intelligent decisions. Long-term energy planning is becoming an important component to many businesses.
With the diminishing amounts of fossil fuels and rising dependence on foreign energy supplies, reducing our energy usage is one way a company can contribute to the community and environment that is good for everyone.
Some companies have begun to implement a position for an energy management consultant to help them find ways to reduce their consumption. These positions can do things such as metering energy consumption and collecting data; find ways to save and estimate how much each action would save; recommending and taking action on these any opportunities; and finally analyzing and tracking progress on how each of these actions have saved the company finances.
Some of the detailed projects one might tackle include gathering data on current energy consumption and finding out specifics on consumption on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. After compiling data for a period of time, the energy management consultant should be able to pinpoint high-energy usage patterns and find out if there is routine energy waste occurring. Pinpointing routine waste provides an easy starting point to saving energy.
After consumption has been reviewed and identified areas where a company can improve energy conservation, actions should be taken to achieve a specified goal. These actions should be planned by the consultant and should be able to be measurable to ensure that progress is being made.
Some actions may be as simple asrequiring and implementing employees to turn off their computers and lighting in their work spaces when they leave every night, some could be as complicated as purchasing new or upgrading old equipment that will help energy savings.
There are energy management consultant firms that are employable by businesses to come in and identify the weaknesses and areas that can be improved upon for each business. Many large companies may employ their own full-time position, or even a department, devoted to energy management, however medium- to small-sized companies may find it more financially feasible to hire a consultant to work on their energy management.
Some of the specific areas an energy management consultant may evaluate include a company's controls system, they may conduct a retrofit feasibility study, and they will look into network and system integration. Looking into system design will evaluate how efficient the business's equipment is. It looks at the current application of the equipment and makes recommendations on how to best execute the system design.
Studying the feasibility of changing out an old energy management system and replacing it with new technology is a big undertaking, but a consultant will have the experience to make the best recommendation to a company. Because energy management consultants are looking out for the best interest of the companies who hire them, their opinions should be unbiased and trustworthy.