Overcoming the challenges of implementing an Energy Management System

Energy Management Systems (EMS) have become popular as a way to improve energy efficiency, maximise return and minimise environmental impacts by eliminating waste through building and process optimisation. However, there are a number of challenges that need to be overcome when implementing such systems in order for the most benefit to be realised.

Overcoming the challenges of implementing an Energy Management System

By installing an EMS, building and facility managers are able to see the electricity, water and gas usage of an entire building from one simple and easy to understand portal. Data gathered in this portal provides them with the information required to make informed decisions on how to eliminate unnecessary waste and schedule events during off peak times to maximise efficiency.

While EMS can create monetary and environmental savings, there are a few challenges that building and facility managers need to be aware of in order to achieve the most out of their EMS.

Deploying meters

Metering and measurement play an important role in the overall success of an EMS, as they provide the raw data on which the system relies.

In order to achieve the best energy efficiencies, building managers need to ensure that sufficient energy metering devices have been installed on-site to capture a comprehensive data set of a facilities energy usage. If there are insufficient meters, the effectiveness of new or existing energy management systems will be limited. For large buildings and operations especially, relying solely on mains utility meters will not provide the data granularity to make informed decisions. Additionality, inadequate meter coverage may result in missing power quality issues that have a significant effect on the running of a building.

An experienced automation engineer will be able to provide advice on how many meters will be needed and where they would be best placed to achieve the results the client desires.

Disparate systems

Disparate systems are one of the hurdles faced in the implementation of an effective EMS. For manufacturers, the main problem lies in the gradual implementation of multiple software systems to address different areas of production efficiency. These disparate systems create data silos, making it difficult to complete a holistic analysis of the data available.

On the other hand, it has generally been the trend that building managers have layered new solutions on each other in an attempt to address changing needs and new technologies.

Often the software packages provided by multiple vendors do not have a common communication interface thereby limiting the amount of information that can be shared. This is not ideal for those wanting a long-term solution for energy efficiency, as without being able to connect, building managers will have more difficulty collating all the required information to make informed decisions about how energy efficiency can be improved.

By implementing a sole EMS system, data silos can be broken down by bringing all the necessary data into one central system, allowing manufacturers and building managers to access all the required data in one place to make decision-making easier and more effective.

A tailored solution

As Automation IT is a vendor neutral control systems engineering company, it is able to tailor EMS systems to match the specific requirements of the building or facility.

Most systems engineering companies are aligned with specific equipment vendors which limits their ability to provide the best solutions for the client.

By being vendor neutral Automation IT is able to provide a fully customised end-to-end EMS solution that will enable clients to manage their energy usage, and provide real cost savings.

For example, its CheckmAIT system is ideal for projects where a versatile and easy to use meter reading and reporting system is required. Automation IT is also a Schneider Electric EcoXpert and can install Power Monitoring Expert for projects which require a fully featured, real-time EMS with power quality capability, and where there are no ongoing hosting costs and the data remains with the customer.