Starting with smart energy monitoring

Table of contents

    Why is energy monitoring important?

    Smart energy monitoring helps you gain greater insights into your operational costs and track utility costs to prepare more accurate budgets. Having these insights is the start to effectively managing your energy consumption and moving towards greater energy efficiency.

    What steps should I take to start monitoring my energy consumption?

    The first thing that comes to mind when plant managers think about energy monitoring is that it’s ‘time consuming, costly and unnecessarily complex’. The threshold to start with energy monitoring can therefore seem high. On the contrary, the process can be simplified by asking yourself these three questions:

    • What have I done so far in terms of energy monitoring?
    • What would I like to achieve with energy monitoring?
    • What do I need to achieve these goals?

    What have I done so far?

    Most plant managers will have a general idea of why they need a system with which they can monitor their plant’s energy consumption. At that point you could already have installed hardware for measurement or have set up nothing at all. In the past, manufacturers measured their energy consumption by periodically looking at their main meters.

    If you feel like your system is not efficient, does not fulfill your needs and does not adhere to your business’ goals, it is relevant to look at what you wish to achieve with energy monitoring.

    What would I like to achieve?

    There are many different things that you can achieve with energy monitoring. Based on your business goals and management expectations, you should define energy goals that suit best. A few examples of energy monitoring goals are: get machine-level energy data, benchmark machine performance, calculate energy cost price per produced kg and check protocols.

    What do I need now?

    In most cases, you will not need complex and expensive management systems to achieve your energy goals. It is important to identify the criteria by which you will select your energy monitoring system.

    Three important elements of an energy monitoring system are hardware, software and action. Hardware is needed to measure energy and transfer data to databases. Select the appropriate sensors based on the types of energy that you wish to monitor. The second element is software. The software is used to store, track and analyse your energy data. Such software is normally used to identify patterns of inefficiencies and calculate your saving opportunities. Finally, you need to translate your data into  action. Get buy-in from the top down and make individuals responsible for smart energy monitoring. Oftentimes it is more efficient to outsource this element and have energy specialists analyse your energy data.

    Bottom line, you want to see if you can reduce the energy costs of your company. The big challenge that many manufacturers have, is that they do not want to make a large investment for energy monitoring. Fortunately,  affordable solutions exist to fit all needs great and small, even if you do not have a large in-house energy management team. Sensorfact’s smart energy management solution provides a plug-and-play solution that can be installed within 2 weeks. It’s all inclusive which means you receive hardware, software and consultancy all in one package. If you are interested to see how this can help you monitor your energy consumption, contact one of our industry experts.