Mastering Energy Data & Preparing to Act

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A tradition unlike any other. An iconic phrase to describe an iconic golf tournament. Though it’s the youngest of the four majors, there’s something almost timeless about The Masters, which begins Thursday. Augusta National is equal parts gorgeous and grueling, often humbling the world’s best golfers, particularly on the greens. Winning on Sunday may come down to a putt, but that single stroke requires patience and preparation beforehand.

golf coursePro golfers are known for their preparation. They gather information in four primary ways:

  • They rely on the advice of their caddies.
  • They gain experience during practice rounds.
  • They track course conditions and adjust their strategy accordingly.
  • They watch their peers.

Unlike the PGA tour, where Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson and Bubba Watson occupy the top three spots, there are no world rankings for energy management. And yet, energy pros have access to inputs equivalent to those listed above, all of which can be enabled through energy management software.

Think of your energy platform as your digital caddy. Its main function is to store information to make you smarter. This means gathering cost and usage data from diverse sources, including:

  • Interval, pulse, smart or flow meters
  • Data loggers and gateways
  • SCADA, power monitoring systems and power management systems
  • Energy Management Systems (EMS) and Building Management Systems (BMS)
  • Equipment and processes
  • Utility data, energy invoices and contracts
  • Manually entered or bulk-uploaded user data

A caddy with this much experience is extremely valuable and is a strong investment with a powerful ROI, not an expense, much like a seasoned caddy on the PGA tour.

Accounting for your energy data sources in a single platform (not a spreadsheet!) is ideal since a common platform creates a “single version of the truth” for all your users. If this process seems daunting, make sure you choose an energy management platform that is scalable – one that allows you to start with the basics and enhance your energy management program over time. As an example, you might…

  • start with monthly invoices, then…
  • add in facility main interval data, then…
  • add in metering or submetering devices.

Like a golfer practicing before a major, you’ll become more comfortable with the lay of the land each time. As your confidence and level of sophistication grows, you can then add data sources to improve your performance.

The number one rule in golf (actually, it’s rule no. 13) is to “play it as it lies,” meaning that golfers must typically play the ball where it lands regardless of its surroundings. Adaptability is critical to golf pros and energy pros alike, and it should be at the heart of your energy platform. To minimize inconvenience to your team and up-front investment by your organization, your platform should fit in with your existing systems and infrastructure.

This integration may even require the involvement of experts to:

  • Build the most effi­cient data acquisition process
  • Connect existing devices and systems
  • Install, commission and connect new equipment
  • Design, build programs to address non-standard data (production metrics, weather variables, etc.)

Your platform isn’t complete without people, and both will improve your ability to adapt to evolving conditions on your energy landscape.

An unusual dynamic in golf is that competing players indirectly help one another. Though pairs of golfers are called “playing partners”, they’re obviously competing with one another. And yet, each golfer’s shot on a given hole helps establish a “best practice”, a blueprint for completing the hole in the fewest strokes. Your energy management platform should do the same by providing a forum for your individual sites, divisions, processes, etc. to “compete” for the purpose of creating best practices across your organization.

Several examples of energy consumption best practices come to mind, including:

  • Benchmarking site performance across your portfolio
  • Identifying non-optimized facilities, equipment and behavioral inef­ficiencies
  • Monitoring and controlling consumption to identify anomalies
  • Prioritizing energy ef­ficiency projects and validating ROI

Your platform should make analysis and communication of emerging best practices across your organization more efficient.

Whether we’re talking about mastering the greens at Augusta or building a greener energy management program, one common thread exists: preparation enables action. Your best shot at successfully managing your energy data begins with an adaptable technology platform and a team of energy management partners that can identify and optimize energy opportunities.

The marketplace for this type of solution is crowded with most claiming flexibility, scalability, compatibility and adaptability. However, the crowd thins out considerably when organizations need to integrate energy cost, consumption and sustainability data in a single platform. To find yours, be patient, be prepared and be selective.

Just like on Sunday, we believe only one will earn the green jacket.


For guidance on energy management software, leave a comment below or click here. // Read any of my previous posts here.


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