Unlocking operational efficiency: Why an EMS is the precision tool facilities managers need

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Many of us have been wisely taught that we should “always use the right tool for the job.” Doing so saves time and effort in the end and produces better results. For example, just because you can use a wrench to pound nails doesn’t mean you should. It might work, but it’s an inefficient process that ultimately bends and ruins the nails. There are far better ways to approach the task.

An engineer uses a laptop computer inside a factory.
Having the right tool for the job is key to operational efficiency. Energy Management systems can provide a comprehensive look at energy usage across your facilities.

Facilities managers often struggle with a similar concept when managing energy consumption and operational efficiency. Do I need a building management system (BMS), energy management system (EMS), or both? They ask, “What is the right tool for this job?”

Let’s examine the distinct roles these two systems play in facilities management and consider how integrating an EMS into a facility can improve operational efficiency, sustainability, and cost-effectiveness.

The distinctive roles of EMS and BMS

Many facilities already have building management systems (BMS) to ensure occupant comfort and safety. However, using them for other energy measurements falls outside their parameters.

A BMS primarily manages HVAC, lighting, and occupancy levels to ensure a comfortable environment. It adjusts the building operations to the needs of its occupants, balancing comfort with energy efficiency. While it can read data from connected energy monitoring components and display basic units like kW, KVA, and kVAR, its capabilities in deep energy analysis are limited. It is possible to repurpose a BMS to measure other parameters, but this requires significant reprogramming hours, retesting, and recommissioning. It’s simply not designed to manage energy.

Enter the energy management system (EMS). Designed out of the box to provide deep dives into energy usage, power quality monitoring, sub-billing, and reporting, it’s the perfect tool for energy efficiency, cost savings, and optimized electrical infrastructure.

This system analyzes energy usage data, including voltage, current, total harmonic distortion, and power quality. It goes beyond monitoring and provides predictive analytics for electrical systems and proactive maintenance alerts. It also gives detailed insights into energy efficiency and conservation opportunities. An EMS is a robust tool that turns raw energy data into action, with near-zero programming and easy-to-understand visualizations.

Energy management systems: A precision facility tool

An energy management system is a critical asset for power system optimization. With precise, high-resolution views of power quality and electrical events, it predicts maintenance requirements for equipment like breakers and transfer switches and analyzes and identifies core electrical needs. These systems can determine the source of power issues, enhancing the facility’s response to and resolution of such events:

  • Enhanced data analysis and quality: Energy data has great strategic value. An EMS shows how operations use energy and finds areas of inefficiency and opportunities for cost reduction. The level of detail and accuracy in energy data an EMS provides is ideal for strategic decision-making and operational optimization.
  • Predictive maintenance: By analyzing energy consumption patterns and identifying deviations from the norm, an EMS can predict potential system failures before they occur. Timely maintenance prevents costly downtime and extends critical equipment’s lifespan, ensuring facilities run smoothly and efficiently.
  • Power quality and improved equipment life: Power quality issues – harmonics, sags, or swells – lead to significant operational disruptions and equipment damage. An EMS identifies and diagnoses these issues, and facilities can take corrective actions before this happens. An EMS’s power quality monitoring capabilities contribute to longer equipment life and more reliable facility operations.
  • Seamless integration with business operations: An EMS doesn’t have to operate in isolation. It can integrate and share data with business systems like BMS, asset management, or enterprise resource planning systems. This integration bridges a gap between energy management and strategic business decisions.
  • Financial and regulatory impact: An EMS has significant financial implications. Besides its compelling return on investment through reduced energy costs, there are environmental benefits of minimized waste and optimized use of resources. An EMS contributes to sustainability efforts and regulatory expectations by reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions.
  • Detailed data reports: These systems also provide reports to help facilities comply with local, state, or national energy codes, such as energy performance monitoring and reporting for ASHRAE 90.1LEED, and California Title 24.
  • Value-added services: An EMS is designed to be simple and show the data. It isn’t a black box that needs deciphering, but companies may often not have the resources or knowledge to analyze their EMS data. In this case, a service contract connects facilities with experts who will examine the EMS data and interpret it. This helps the customer find the root causes of electrical system issues, and then take action.

The right tool makes all the difference

An energy management system (EMS) has many capabilities and benefits that differ from those of a BMS. It can track energy consumption in real time, identify inefficiencies in the electrical network, find new process efficiencies, and report and reduce energy consumption, carbon footprint, and costs. It’s the tool to use for operational efficiency and sustainability. With deep analytical insights, foresight into power system performance, and comprehensive energy oversight, an EMS is indispensable for modern facilities.

Learn more about Schneider Electric’s energy management systems and its commitment to a sustainable future, or feel free to contact us at FTI to discuss how we can help you drive your sustainability goals with data.

The EcoXpert Partner Program is unique and comprises a best-in-class, global ecosystem of expertise. Trained and certified by Schneider Electric, EcoXpert partners digitize and electrify our world for a more sustainable future.

The path to net zero is about delivering solutions for sustainable, resilient, efficient, and people-centric buildings. For our EcoXpert partners, this unveils immense growth opportunities through the transition to end-to-end portfolio sales that will resolve our customers’ most critical needs. For our shared customers, this means that together with our EcoXpert partners, we will drive the building industry transformation and help our customers survive and thrive today – and tomorrow.

Visit the EcoXpert webpage to learn more.

About the author

Author Profile

Wade Leipold, Executive VP of Faith Technologies Incorporated

Wade Leipold is the executive vice president of Faith Technologies Incorporated (FTI). FTI is a Master EcoXpert™ and is proud to partner with Schneider Electric to provide EcoStruxure™ IoT open architecture building management and security systems to our clients. A dynamic organization comprised of construction, engineering, manufacturing, and renewable energy experts, we create success for our partners and team members through innovation and expertise, rethinking how energy is designed, applied, and consumed – providing solutions that prepare clients for today and the future.

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