Energy management software provides deep analytics to help you determine where and how you can save more money by reducing unnecessary energy expenditure in your business and home. With costs continuing to rise, commercial tenants and landlords alike are becoming more and more aware of energy expenses.
As such, saving energy is both good for the environment, and your balance sheet. Below, you’ll find the top 10 best energy management software suites available on the market.
EnergyElephant is a scalable software partner that works with single buildings, entire campuses, and even large, multi-site businesses.
Their software is designed to pinpoint spikes in carbon use to help identify energy saving opportunities. They also host staff seminars to teach employees how to save energy. Best of all, they offer a 15-day free trial for anyone not ready to commit to them just yet.
ResourceKraft is a great choice for buildings that have a variety of energy sources. By tracking electrical, oil, and gas use separately, it builds a more accurate picture of how energy resources are being spent.
These benefits only grow as your business grows, providing bigger savings the more sites are being monitored.
Wattics is a web-based application that can be accessed from virtually any device. This makes it convenient for frequent travelers, since you can view your company’s energy usage in real time, from anywhere in the world.
The price is a bit steep for small businesses, but provides much better value for bigger companies.
EnergyCAP is another enterprise-scale solution, best for businesses with 250 or more power meters. Their software is purpose-built for multi-building use, with the ability to create different benchmarks for different buildings.
You can even export reports into common office formats, including PDF, XLS, and DOCX.
KloudEMS is the ultimate choice when it comes to security. It’s designed to operate over the TOR network, which means that your data is virtually impossible to track or intercept.
If you’re running multiple sites in harsh environments throughout the globe, it’s a great way to keep your energy data secure.
Surple goes deeper than most services when it comes to analytics. For instance, it will pull local weather data and run a temperature-by-day comparison to track heating and cooling costs across different temperatures.
Pricing starts low, with additional discounts for enterprise clients with over 75 meters.
7. Siemens EnergyIP
EnergyIP is a Siemens service, and is designed primarily for enterprise customers with operations on the national or global scale. It integrates with smart devices, so you can track energy use at the granular level.
In addition, Siemens is a global company, so you can use EnergyIP anywhere on Earth.
8. Autodesk Green Building Studio
Autodesk Green Building Studio is a bit different than the other energy programs we looked at. Instead of being designed for owners or tenants, it’s designed for architects and engineers to build green buildings from the ground up.
It allows you to run simulations, fine-tuning a building’s carbon performance before the first block is even laid.
9. Johnson Controls Metasys
Metasys is a systems integration tool to collect data from your HVAC, security, and lighting software to build an energy profile. By combining this data, you can find pain points that are costing you money.
You can make business-savvy decisions without compromising security or comfort.
10. Entronix EMP
Entronix EMP is designed to build a historical profile of a building’s energy use. Over time, the cloud-based platform will be able to anticipate how much a given building should be using, and will send alerts if energy use is excessive.
It even monitors the current weather and builds that into its model.
Why Use Energy Management Software?
Energy management software gives businesses and communities the tools they need to minimize energy usage. By reducing the amount of energy used, businesses can cut costs and help contribute to a cleaner Earth. Energy management software serves three primary purposes: reporting, monitoring, and engagement.
Reporting begins with data collection. This can vary widely depending on the software in question. For example, the software may monitor your energy bills weekly, monthly, quarterly, or at the meter on a minute-by-minute basis. Keep in mind that the best results come from the best data. The more precise your data collection is, the better the results are going to be.
The next part of the reporting process is data analytics. Data analytics means comparing the data in a variety of ways, and the quality of the analytics process will also vary depending on the software. For instance, some software suites utilize local weather data to set several of their benchmarks.
Because they can adjust expected heat and air conditioning costs, they can produce a more intelligent outline of how much energy your business should be using. In addition, particular algorithms may be required by some countries and states.
When analytics are done, your software will have a guideline of how much energy you should be using on any given day. It will also show where your pain points are. If you’re a business owner trying to save money, these reports are a great place to start. They can often go further than money. For instance, you can calculate direct and indirect greenhouse emissions for regulatory purposes.
In addition, business owners can use bill comparison to compare metered use to real-world use. The most obvious application here is fraud, but you can find savings in more mundane places. For example, premium pricing at peak demand points can drive up your costs considerably.
Who Uses Energy Management Software?
Energy management software allows businesses to radically change their approach to energy usage, thanks to data-driven insights that go a lot further than a single human consultant. As a result, this type of software can be used by just about anyone. Everyone from landlords to executives to service technicians can benefit from energy management software. In fact, pretty much anyone who pays an energy bill can benefit from energy management software. That said, the bigger your business, the bigger your potential gains.
Clients who rely on monitoring will make good use of energy management software. Reports can show a variety of issues like timer malfunctioning, and open doors or windows that cause excess heating. Reports will help you can take the appropriate action.
Some energy management software suites go a step further. They actually send you text or email alerts when there’s an energy spike. This doesn’t do much for a high-flying corporate executive, but if you run one or just a few locations, it’s a great way to keep your costs down.
As you can see, there’s no simple, one-size-fits-all application for energy management software. Depending on its purpose, it can be useful for a variety of people in a variety of roles.
Energy management software can track total energy consumption, as well as consumption by individual buildings. The more data you have, the better recommendations you’re going to get for making granular level changes. Moreover, individual building audits are required as a bare minimum for ISO 50001 certification.
Energy management software can accept, organize, and analyze a variety of energy data. Electric company data is nice, but it’s just a start. You should also have data from oil, natural gas, and other energy sources, in addition to monitoring inputs from on-site and offsite green energy supplies.
Data from IoT devices and individual units is also helpful since it lets you drill down further and see which devices are drawing more than their fair share of power.
Energy management software can track and monitor carbon dioxide emissions. This can be done on its own with a calculator and a copy of your energy bill. But this data is essential for certain regulatory requirements. If you’re paying for energy management software, you might as well get all the data you need.
Energy management software can track historical data. In the end, you can only compete with yourself. Did you spend more on energy this year than last, or did you spend less? And if you spent more, where did that expense come from?
By monitoring historical data, energy management software can help you track where new expenses are going, as well as find you opportunities for new savings.
Energy management software can provide easy access to data for managers. For a small to medium-sized business, this may not be an issue, as there may be one person responsible for all energy expenses. But for enterprise-scale operations, more than one person is going to need to see energy usage data.
The more your managers know, the better they can save you and the company money.
Energy management software can create energy benchmarks. Benchmarks are how your energy management software determines when you’re using too much energy. This helps create models for your business to follow to maximize energy output while minimizing costs.
If a software looks first class but doesn’t create energy benchmarks, give it a hard pass and look for a more thorough solution.
Energy management software can provide a way to track and report actions taken in response to reporting. Major companies may not need this feature as they probably have their own way to track actions on projects. But small to mid-sized companies can take advantage of tracking features to hold individual employees accountable for doing their part of the process.
Energy management software can provide meter-by-meter data. Meter-level accuracy is essential if you want to create any kind of coherent plan. The ideal type of output will depend on what kind of reporting your organization needs to do.
Energy management software can integrate smart notifications. This is another small to mid-sized company concern. An executive at a larger company doesn’t need their smartphone to buzz every time a warehouse goes over temperature, but a medium-sized business owner might.
Some enterprise-scale apps allow for individualized notifications for mid-level management.
Energy management software can utilize machine learning technology. Machine learning is a process where computers monitor data and learn to make predictions. The more and better data they consume, the better their predictions are.
An energy management software suite with machine learning technology will identify periods of peak demand based on a variety of factors. Based on these factors, you can choose how to mitigate excess energy use.
Energy management software can make cost-saving measurements. As we already discussed, any worthwhile energy management software should be able to create a baseline energy usage projection. But what kind of data is it using to build that model, and once it has the data, can it create a model for energy savings?
Remember, you could monitor your power usage yourself with a few extra man-hours. The real benefit of energy management software is how it can help you drive those costs down.
Energy management software can scale with your business as it grows. Some energy management software suites are priced for enterprise-scale customers. Others are priced for small to mid-sized businesses.
Still others have scaled pricing with good value for all business sizes. Which choice is right for you will depend on your business, but it’s an important factor to keep in mind.
Cloud based energy management software can allow you connect from anywhere. Energy management software, like most modern software, is either on-site or cloud-based. The advantage of on-site software is that your data is only stored on servers you own.
On the other hand, cloud-based software allows you to access your data anytime, anywhere. Because it lives in the cloud, you can also access it from any type of device, which makes it significantly more versatile than on-site software.
Energy management software can integrate with third-party systems. This is a two-way street. Energy management software can be more helpful if it can access the internet, integrate with security systems, and monitor IoT devices.
It can also benefit from allowing access to third-party software such as Solaredge, WattWatchers, and Salesforce. We’re in the age of smart business and the smart office, so the more your apps can talk to each other, the more they can help you save money.
What is energy management? Energy management is a wide field that encompasses the monitoring, control, and conservation of energy. The scale of the conservation can vary and can be applied to a single building or to an entire organization. It can also be measured in different ways. The most common methods of measurement are environmental and economic.
Energy management also covers every aspect of a business. This runs the gamut from energy supply to usage and monitoring. By managing usage and sourcing at every scale, businesses of all sizes can significantly reduce operating costs for a relatively paltry investment.
The exact cost-to-benefit analysis of energy management varies depending on building type, sector, and other variables.
Why is monitoring energy usage a principle of good energy management? Data collection is essential to driving down overall costs. The more data can be collected, the better the results.
What are the four general principles of energy management? The four general principles of energy management include monitoring energy usage, identifying opportunities, taking action, and ongoing monitoring.
Many people think of energy management as a “big business” concern. While it’s true that energy management can save significant costs at the enterprise level, smaller and mid-sized businesses can also achieve significant savings.
What does identifying opportunities include as principle of good energy management? Based on the data, the company or organization looks at areas where energy can be saved. Oftentimes, these measures will pay for themselves within a few years.
Why is energy management important? If you’re looking at energy management from a business perspective, the most obvious benefit is cost reduction. The less you’re spending on energy, the higher your profits.
The Carbon Trust is a good example. Most companies in most sectors require $10 in sales in order to generate $1 in profit. In other words, every $1 in energy savings is equivalent to $10 in sales. Expand that to tens of thousands – or tens of millions – of dollars, and you can easily see how energy management can help your balance sheet.
The less obvious benefit of energy management is that you can help the environment. The more energy your business uses, the more CO2 it puts into the atmosphere. Wasted energy means unnecessary damage to the environment. Ensuring that your company is carbon-conscious is one way to show your customers and shareholders that you care about the planet.
How can I start saving money with energy management? The good news is that there’s a huge industry, ready to meet your needs. The bad news is that every job begins the same way: a site survey. There are several things that an energy management professional will look for, including the project requirements, the project environment, and the project objectives.
Once the project requirements, environment, and objectives have been established, you’ll be better equipped to start gathering data. At that point, you’ll be ready to start making changes and saving energy.
What is an energy management system? Most energy management software works with an energy management system (EMS), sometimes called an energy management and information system (EMIS). These are computerized tools and sensors that are used for monitoring commercial spaces and equipment. They’re used across virtually every industry, and operate on widely-used standards.
An EMS is often broken down into different categories. For instance, one class of sensors may monitor electrical energy, while another monitors gas systems. Further segmentation allows for sensors to collect data from individual circuits, and even individual machines. This allows for accurate cost calculation across a variety of systems.
The benefit can vary widely based on the devices surveyed. For instance, HVAC systems deal with different variables than commercial lighting systems. But the goal is the same: to maximize the amount of control you have over your business’ energy expenses.
Software is just one part of the toolkit, but it’s a powerful tool that can accomplish a variety of goals like monitoring and tracking data. Not only does this help you establish a baseline, it lets you spot when there’s an anomaly that needs to be acted on.
EMS can help identify inefficiencies. HVAC leaks and outdated equipment can cost you thousands of dollars a year. Repairing these types of inefficiencies can make a significant impact very quickly. They can also help measure the impact. Once action has been taken, continuous monitoring can be advantageous for follow-up. The action may have been successful, or further action may be required to achieve maximum efficiency.
Lastly, they can help generate reports. Reports may be required for corporate compliance, shareholder reporting, or environmental compliance. Regardless, having an easy way to generate reports can make a painful process less stressful.
How long does it take to set up an energy management system? The setup process for an energy management system will depend in large part on what type of equipment is already installed. As a result, it can take anywhere from a few days to a few months to set up an effective system.
In ideal circumstances, all that will be required is to wire all the inputs into a single computer and install the software. In other circumstances, it might be necessary to install sensors and thermostats.
Facility size also makes a significant difference when it comes to setup time. Creating an energy management system for a single building, for instance, is faster than doing the same thing in a large apartment complex. In turn, a single apartment complex would be simpler than a dozen office parks and three factories spread across three continents.
In addition to monitoring hardware, internet connectivity is required. In most industrial and commercial areas, this is not an obstacle. However, it can be a concern for businesses that are located in remote locations.
Will I have to replace any equipment? It’s impossible to say before a site survey has been completed. In some cases, older equipment can be so inefficient that replacing it will actually save money. In other cases, no equipment replacement required. Oftentimes, it’s equipment settings that are to blame for high energy usage. Poor insulation and user practices can also be the culprit.
What is the difference between an EMS and a BMS? The difference is that a BMS automates the operation of building systems. Heaters, pumps, lights, HVAC systems, lights, and other equipment can all be remotely turned on and off. This makes them two-way systems, capable not just of monitoring systems but also of sending signals.
EMS systems, on the other hand, are not capable of controlling equipment. They work on a one-way basis, simply notifying your software of how much energy is being used. EMS systems are designed to closely analyze energy usage systems, map historical data, compare data based on different variables, and identify savings opportunities. BMS systems are designed to turn your heating system on and off.
That said, many BMS systems are designed to be integrated into EMS systems. This can simplify EMS installation, since you won’t have to connect it to multiple independent devices. It’s certainly a great convenience and one-time savings, but it’s by no means a make or break benefit for installing an EMS system.
On the other hand, a BMS system can make it easier to implement recommendations from energy management analysis.
What is ISO 50001? ISO 50001 is a new universal building standard that’s going to be applied across all industries. It’s an improvement on older standards like ISO 9001 and ISO 14001. The establishment of a universal standard is intended to make it easier for organizations to comply.
In addition, it’s designed to create reasonable targets for energy usage across different building types and sectors, use data analysis to find opportunities for energy savings, and create a policy to take advantage of those opportunities, measure the outcome of these actions, and create new and improved policies as needed.
How does energy management software help with ISO 50001? If your project or business is going to meet the ISO 50001 standard, that claim needs to be backed up by data. Building an energy management system, and using the right energy management software, is critical to that effort. Without the right analytical tools, you won’t be able to meet your energy savings targets.
On the other hand, the right software and tools enable you to establish a historical baseline for energy usage, review your energy usage and identify opportunities for improvement, track current usage against historical usage to measure progress, identify acute energy waste and eliminate it, and build linear regression models to comply with ISO 50001 requirements.
What is utility accounting? Utility accounting, sometimes called Energy Accounting or Monitoring, Targeting, and Reporting (MT&R) is the practice of monitoring and managing energy consumption on an ongoing basis. This data is then used as a basis for future energy management practices.
Essentially, utility accounting is designed to create a “profit and loss” sheet for your business’ utility costs. It allows you to identify ongoing trends.
For example, are you using a lot of energy during peak hours, when power is more expensive? If so, is it worthwhile to take prophylactic measures, such as pre-cooling a building on a hot day? With a utility accounting sheet, you now have the metrics you need to achieve that real-world goal.
Energy management software helps businesses and business owners save money by identifying energy leaks and teaching you how to plug them. They also help save the planet, by reducing wasted resources.
There’s a lot that goes into choosing the best energy management software, which can make choosing one difficult. You have to find the best value for a company of your size that’s able to grow at your pace, but also match it to your budget.
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