A few days ago I was on the phone with a colleague, who mentioned an off-the-cuff comment he overheard our CEO, Marcus Wilcox make. Marcus was talking about a presentation we were putting together for a client. The presentation showed images from our energy tracking software, SENSEI’s user interface, including a screenshot showing interval data. Marcus said, “Look at this. This is the heartbeat of their company. They’re going to want to see this.”
At the time, I laughed with my colleague and agreed that it was a cool image and the data really did look like an EKG. Then, my own heart skipped a beat, when my co-worker said, “Hey we should come up with a new tagline for SENSEI. Something like: SENSEI—it’s the heartbeat of your company—or your energy management program…”
Long story, short, I ran the idea by our marketing manager, who pretty much shot it down, saying we already had a perfectly good tagline for SENSEI: Your Energy ROI Starts Here—and we shouldn’t go changing it up on a whim. But I can’t get it out of my head. I think the metaphor really holds true. After all, energy is at the heart of any industrial facility. If the health or success of a company depends, in part, on how effectively it uses energy, then energy monitoring becomes extremely important.
Traditionally many companies went to their utility bills to review their energy spend, which certainly painted a picture of the high cost of energy (probably giving more than a few CEOs heart palpitations.) But, the utility bill survey doesn’t come close to answering the question: How can we manage energy better?
Another approach involves energy monitoring in a spreadsheet and tracking meter data at regular intervals to get some idea of month-to-month or year-over-year trends. But, while that approach permits entry of multiple sets of energy data, it doesn’t drill down to specific information around what’s working and what’s not.
To gain deeper insight into the health of your facilities you need interval data monitoring. Interval data is the EKG equivalent, showing the heartbeat of your facility, while monitoring via monthly bill tracking is more like taking your pulse once a month.
Most basic energy tracking software solutions provide access to interval data and automated reporting features that make it easier to report and share data with key stakeholders. More information shared with more people with less effort is a good thing.
But then, once you get into interval data monitoring adding a predicative energy model, created through statistical analysis, can help you gain a much deeper knowledge of the true health of your energy management program.
Predicted energy modeling provides a valuable window into your facility’s energy performance and accumulated savings over time. The model helps to identify and account for key energy drivers, such as weather and production, so the impact of other changes can be measured to give you an accurate picture of the health of your systems and your energy savings tracked over time.
SENSEI takes the basic energy EKG and predictive model one step further by tagging specific events. (What doctor wouldn’t want to look at an advanced EKG and see the history of his or her patient’s actions? This is where you stopped smoking. And this is what happened after you ate that “Widow Maker” burger at Claim Jumper.)
Integrating event tagging with facility interval data and a predictive model showing your cumulative energy gains offers a complete picture of your facility’s energy use. When all energy-saving activities are tagged on the graph like a time stamp, you can zero in on what’s driving the increased efficiency. Conversely, if specific actions have a negative impact on energy efficiency, they can be quickly identified and corrected.
This powerful view, combined with a robust energy management program that includes operations and maintenance (O&M) actions and capital improvement measures, is a tremendous motivational tool for staff. It also provides justification to upper management that you have an energy efficiency program worth investing in—one that will help your company thrive for years to come.