Understanding building data and how it can help with energy costs

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The strategic management of energy has significantly changed the way businesses operate, enabling them to actively keep on top what they are spending and where, and finding ways to reduce their outgoings.
As Energy Manager Today recently reported, facility professionals now have the ability to look deeper into their energy usage than ever before, using innovative software to automatically consult building data for accuracy and to make informed, data-driven decisions.
So why haven't organisations always used strategic energy cost management?
Until recent years the only source of energy data has been the utility bill, which often arrives when it's too late to do anything about the costs. And even when it does arrive, it can be a challenge for facility professionals to identify any retrofit possibilities or develop a cohesive management strategy. As a result, convincing other stakeholders that energy management is a worthwhile investment can be hard to achieve.
Thankfully those days are long gone, and organisations can now use modern energy management software to look for energy inefficiencies and make better informed choices.
Even in larger facilities, utility bills can be automatically collected and analysed, with cost breakdowns automatically sent to stakeholders so that everyone is kept in the know. What's more, budgets that forecast future energy usage can be created more accurately, without having to manually input them into a computer.
More and more organisations are using this type of software to boost their energy management strategies and free up more time to take cost-reducing action. Some of the improved financial outcomes of doing this include:
Peak demand management
Monitoring real-time loads can reduce demand charges and predict when new energy peaks might be set. This is becoming increasingly important as more utility companies put facility owners on time-of-use rate structures.
Measurement and verification of retrofits
Many buildings would benefit from investment in an energy retrofit, but without a clear ROI it's difficult to demonstrate how much money can be saved. Measurement and verification (M&V) features create a baseline model of building performance, and estimate current energy use; using this data, existing energy costs can be compared to post-retrofit costs, demonstrating a clear ROI.
Bill estimation
Using software means that you can estimate utility bills before they arrive, allowing facility professionals to give advanced notice to stakeholders and identify why usage may be high before adjusting the budget accordingly.
Accurate budgeting
Automating the budget forecast is far more effective than creating it using only a few basic inputs; you can add multiple variables, closely analyse past performance and, as a result, produce a more accurate budget. Innovative software can also align annual budgets with multi-year energy goals, such as reducing energy usage by 10% over five years.
Managing the data of buildings



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