Benefits of Energy Management Systems

With the cost of energy continuing to rise, asset and building owners are looking to increase efficiencies with their infrastructure to minimise environmental impact and maximise return on investments. One option is to implement an energy management system which allows asset owners and managers to monitor, manage and track their energy usage.


Energy management is the process of identifying and analysing data, and then implementing processes to reduce energy consumption. Many consumers, particularly large industrial and commercial businesses, have taken steps to better manage energy usage by employing energy reduction strategies such as implementing an Energy Management System (EMS).

Geoff Bladon, Business Development Director at Automation IT, discusses four benefits of installing Energy Management Systems that provide asset owners with a clearer understanding of current energy usage and the tools to manage future energy requirements, including meeting or exceeding mandatory energy use targets.

1. Control power supply

One of the key benefits of an Energy Management System is that it allows asset owners and building managers to view the WAGES (Water, Air, Gas, Electricity and Steam) usage of the entire site in a simple and easy to use format.

“By bringing all the data together in one portal, Energy Management Systems allow asset owners and building managers to make more informed decisions about energy usage,” Mr Bladon said.

“This can greatly reduce energy costs as unnecessary wastage can be highlighted and in some cases eliminated, and high impact events can be scheduled to take place during off peak hours.

“This results in reduced demand on energy resources and benefits both the environment and the bottom line.”

2. Making informed decisions

Over time the layout of buildings may change, but a properly implemented Energy Management System will be able to track how these changes affect energy usage in real time.

For example, if electrical equipment is moved near a temperature sensor, this will cause the temperature near the sensor to increase and as a result the sensor will detect the need for more cool air to reduce the temperature. As the zone temperature cools, people working in the area will feel colder and as a result may turn on additional heaters to try and warm up the room.

This change in the placement of electrical equipment may cause a large increase in energy usage.

The opposite must also be considered, where better management of equipment placement may reduce the heating and cooling requirements, in effect doubling the actual energy savings.

3. Detecting power quality problems

Another benefit of EMS is that asset owners and building operators are alert to any power quality problems.

“Energy Management Systems receive and communicate alarm conditions for a host of different issues, providing building operators with the information needed to track conditions and respond to issues quickly if the need arises,” Mr Bladon said.

“Building operators can assess the criticality of the issue and decide on the best course of action. Some conditions such as slightly lagging power factor can be left, as the correction system should automatically respond and return the power factor to normal. Other issues such as voltage dips or increasing harmonics could be signs of something more serious approaching.

“If these issues were to occur repeatedly, it could be a sign that there is a bigger problem with faulty equipment and action can be taken to identify and correct it. If you can’t measure it, you can’t control it.”

4. Remote access

As the Energy Management System collects all the data into an online portal, building operators are able to monitor the system remotely via handheld devices such as mobile phones, tablets and laptops.

This allows building operators to be kept aware of any changes in the system no matter where they are, which is ideal for keeping control over multi-building sites and large complex buildings.

“Being able to remotely access the Energy Management System is important as it allows building operators to manage the system in a way that fits the way they work and their role.

“Poor access to the system can result in it being ignored in the operations room and acting as a silent controller. Remote access encourages more frequent use which results in more optimised operations and greater savings,” Mr Bladon said.

An automated solution

Automation IT’s CheckmAIT system is an option where a versatile and easy to use energy meter reading and reporting system is required. Mr Bladon said it doesn’t offer real-time power quality data like a true EMS but for most usage reporting systems this is not required.

“It is a little misleading for customers with the range of web-based “EMS” systems being sold today, as these are not real-time applications and have to upload data to the cloud spasmodically before reporting on old data,” Mr Bladon said.

Mr Bladon said another concern is the ongoing data cost of competitor hosted solutions as this can quickly exceed the cost of the original system. As an EcoXpert of Schneider Electric we would install Power Monitoring Expert for applications requiring a fully featured, real-time EMS with power quality analysis capability. This has no ongoing hosting cost and the data stays with the customer.

“We also understand that all buildings are different and require their own unique Energy Management System that is tailored to their needs, Automation IT have considerable experience in designing and commissioning fully customised energy management solutions for buildings and infrastructure,” Mr Bladon said.

“We provide high-quality, value-for-money solutions that are engineered to each site, this gives clients the confidence that they will be able to manage the energy usage of their infrastructure and provide real cost savings while lowering environmental impacts.”