You can’t manage what you can’t measure, as the saying goes, and it certainly holds true for energy consumption. But if you can measure, compare, identify, take action, verify impact and share results, you can not only manage but also achieve significant cost savings.
That was the case for the city of Raleigh, N.C., which implemented the Schneider Electric Energy Insight tool to track energy use across city buildings – with impressive results.
“If you’re able to reduce a $21 million budget by 1% that gives you a lot of latitude in other areas,” says Bill Jackson, Building Superintendent, City of Raleigh, on video. “You can use the funding for other things, such as fire trucks or more police or adding another park.”
Energy Insight works with the Measurement and Verification Panelboard (MVP) offering for lighting control. Together, these solutions give facility and energy managers detailed visibility into energy use information and allows them to easily share the data with those who can do something about reducing energy use: the organization’s employees.
The system runs on a plug-and-play appliance that auto-populates data from panelboards into a web-based dashboard. It analyzes current, power (kW), energy (kWh), power factor and volt data by circuit, zone or individual panel, and provides historical data, so users can identify energy use trends and opportunities for improved energy efficiency.
For the city of Raleigh, the plug and play capability was critical, says Chuck Pemberton, Building Automation Systems Specialist for the city. “These intelligent meters went into the multiple panels we had, several different types,” he says. “Integration with them was very important. We didn’t want to get all new software or a standalone computer. It just married right into what we had.”
The tool is giving the city insights it never had before, says Suzanne Walker, Energy Manager for the City of Raleigh. “The first time I saw the data I was floored. It took me aback,” she says. “[This data] was what we’ve wanted throughout my 10 years with the city.”
The solution enables the city to see exactly how much load any given resource is consuming and helps managers determine how to reduce that load, Jackson says. It also helps them explain the results to employees in a simple manner, through “viewlets” on their individual desktops.
“The best way to engage the end user is to put reports right where it’s convenient for them to see on a daily basis,” he says.
With that capability, the city can get employees involved in competitions to see which floors, departments or buildings can save the most energy, Walker says. “They can go through and make changes in their actions and maybe even re-evaluate as time goes by and continue to make improvements,” she says.
Jackson says by showing employees energy data consistently, energy efficiency becomes part of their daily routine. “At the end of the day, if you can have some fun, get buy-in and reduce your energy bill, it’s a win-win for the organization,” he says.
Check out the video to learn more about what the City of Raleigh did to maximize their energy efficiency.