Active energy management plans can reduce energy costs by 15 to 45 percent (ASHRAE Journal,
April 2011). With savings like that, why
haven’t more manufacturers implemented successful energy management plans? The answer is that daily
manual monitoring is time-consuming,
tedious, and difficult to sustain.
After all, a manufacturer’s No. 1 priority is to produce product. The prevailing attitude is that the costs of energy
and other utilities required for production are fixed or only slightly improvable. Why spend a lot of time attempting to manage things that cannot be
changed? Therefore, even with manu-
Monitor: Track or watch an energy
Meter: Measure flow or quantity of
an energy resource.
Sub-meter: Measure energy flow
downstream of a main meter.
facturers’ best of intentions, energy
management plans fall to the wayside,
and energy leaks simply become part
of the daily cost of operations.
Organizations have been around
for decades to aid in daily energy and
utility management (see Energy Management Resources sidebar). All of
these organizations reference building
automation systems, metering, and
submetering to help reduce energy consumption, while incorporating building
automation was part of past discussions, it was not a priority. Why? Capital cost is certainly a factor, but also,
building automation typically has been
limited to setting temperatures and on/
off schedules. With proper scheduling,
a building automation system can save
energy, but it really is not designed to
meter, or monitor, actual daily usage of
power, water, steam, gas, and oil.
Furthermore, referring to building
automation systems as “energy management systems” is fundamentally
misleading. One key ingredient is missing, and without it, the entire process
can deflate. That ingredient is data
So how can manufacturers collect
accurate information in a timely fashion, control energy leaks, and still focus on making products? One option
is a high-tech, Web-based monitoring
Today’s Web-based Building
The good news is that the same technologies used in first-generation building automation systems have evolved
to become very powerful weapons to
fight costly daily energy leaks. Today’s
high-tech, Internet-based, programmable technologies such as Tridium’s
JACE®; Honeywell’s WEBs-AX; Johnson
Controls’ Facility Explorer® (FX); Schneider Electric’s PowerLogic™ ION™, and E-Mon/D-Mon’s energy software are tireless workhorses.
These Internet-based, programmable
technologies are constantly evolving.
They incorporate high-tech metering,
networking, communications, user-pro-grammable logic, and mathematical
functions. When combined with access
to data such as ambient temperatures
and utility rates available on the Inter-