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In the competitive world of business, keeping overhead costs low is vital for long-term sustainability and growth. While many people see utility costs as simply a bill to be paid, the savvy business owner understands the considerable cost savings that can be achieved through energy efficiency. By adopting an energy management system (EMS), businesses can effectively monitor, analyze, and optimize their energy usage to reduce overhead costs. These systems provide invaluable insights into energy consumption patterns, empowering business owners to make informed decisions to enhance operational efficiency and cut costs. 

What is an Energy Management System?

An energy management system (EMS) is the process of planning, controlling, and optimizing the use of energy resources to achieve greater efficiency, reduce costs, and minimize the environmental impact of business operations. A comprehensive approach to EMS implementation involves a combination of software, equipment upgrades, and operational changes to achieve energy reduction goals.

There are five steps to successfully implement an EMS:

  1. Conduct an energy audit.
  2. Set energy reduction goals.
  3. Implement efficiency measures and upgrades. 
  4. Conduct employee training to foster engagement.
  5. Regular monitoring towards progress.
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Protip:

Businesses of any size and complexity can benefit from the predictability a fixed-rate energy plan offers.

How Businesses Benefit from EMS Solutions

Energy management systems (EMS) offer a myriad of benefits. Firstly, they enable significant cost savings by optimizing energy usage and reducing utility expenses. Additionally, EMS solutions contribute to environmental sustainability efforts by minimizing carbon emissions and encouraging efficient energy usage. Moreover, EMS solutions support compliance with industry-specific regulations and standards, reducing the risk of penalties. 

The proactive approach of EMS solutions empowers businesses to reduce overhead expenses while improving operational efficiency and building an eco-friendly reputation. Below, we delve into the complexity of EMS applications, highlighting how each industry can customize and scale EMS solutions.

Industries with Standard EMS Applications

Most small to medium-sized businesses require a standard EMS solution. These are businesses and industries that exist in traditional commercial buildings and utilize standard commercial appliances and electronics. Within this umbrella can be individual businesses or it can be scaled to accommodate small chains or franchises. 

Retail

Businesses within retail can use EMS solutions to optimize lighting and HVAC systems, improving the customer experience. Smart technology integration like lighting sensors and scheduled HVAC use, further reduce energy use even after closing time.

Commercial Buildings

Standard commercial buildings and offices apply EMS solutions to optimize lighting, HVAC, and other electronics. Security systems can also be integrated into an EMS, providing additional safety while lowering operational costs.

Restaurants

Cafes, commercial kitchens, and restaurants apply EMS solutions to improve kitchen appliance efficiency. HVAC zoning enables restaurant owners to ensure a comfortable dining experience while keeping chefs comfortable and safe.

Hotels

Resorts and hotels can customize EMS solutions to manage energy use based on room occupancy. Real-time monitoring allows hotels to improve efficiency in kitchens, and pools, as well as event spaces . 

Standard EMS case study: JW Marriott Hotel in Washington D.C.

The JW Marriott in Washington D.C. is a luxury hotel located just around the corner from the White House. With 777 luxury suites and more than 37,000 square feet of meeting space, it is a highly popular choice for business and leisure travelers alike. While hotel stakeholders create annual energy reduction goals, they wanted to bolster their efficiency efforts. 

In 2007, JW Marriott implemented the ISO 50001 Energy Management System with the goal of obtaining ISO’s 50021 Superior Energy Performance Certification. Within three years, the hotel improved their energy performance by 16.5%, saving $471,891 in energy expenses. In response to D.C.’s success, JW Marriott created goals for their portfolio of more than 6,000 properties. In fact, by 2025, all JW Marriott properties will achieve a sustainability certification and reduce their carbon footprint by 30% through the ISO 50001 EMS methodology.

Industries with Moderately Complex EMS Applications

The customization and complexity of EMS solutions grows in proportion to the business. The moderately complex tier of industries typically includes multi-use properties or campuses with varying energy demands and fluctuating usage. Many of these industries also incorporate renewable energy sources or storage to further improve energy performance. 

Education

Schools and Universities use EMS solutions to monitor and control energy usage across multi-use properties including dormitories, libraries, gymnasiums, parking structures, and other academic facilities. 

Government/Public Sector

Government buildings and municipalities use EMS solutions to achieve energy-saving goals and demonstrate environmental leadership to their community. These solutions can manage singular buildings or a portfolio of properties with options for renewable energy integration and storage.

Transportation

Whether managing public transportation, delivery vehicles, or electric vehicle (EV) carpools, transportation companies can optimize vehicle fleets, monitor fuel consumption, and implement energy-efficient transportation practices.

Agriculture

Farms and other agricultural businesses use EMS solutions to optimize and improve the efficiency of irrigation systems, greenhouse operations, and equipment usage. EMS can also help manage the generation of agricultural biomass and bioenergy.

Moderately complex EMS case study: Drexel University’s Student Housing

The Summit at University City is a popular student housing complex for Drexel University. The modern high-rise features 1,335 student accommodations in the heart of downtown Philadelphia, making it a highly popular choice. Drexel University undoubtedly wanted to maximize the building’s operational efficiency, reduce CO2 emissions, and improve the students’ living experience. To achieve this goal, The Summit installed an EMS and smart thermostats to optimize HVAC-related energy in January 2022.

In short, The Summit’s EMS enables building managers to adjust HVAC use based on fluctuating student occupancy levels. HVAC use is reduced during periods of low occupancy, such as school breaks, reducing HVAC runtime by 18%. Within one year, The Summit saved $29,365 in energy expenses while reducing energy use by more than 24,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) each month. 

Industries with Highly-Complex EMS Applications

Industries requiring highly-complex energy management solutions are typically specialized industries with very high energy demands. These facilities use specialized equipment, heavy machinery, or have 24/7 operations to power. Most of these EMS solutions include back-up power generation, energy storage, or on-site renewable energy to offset their high power demands and provide security during inclement weather conditions. 

Healthcare

Between 24/7 operations and specialized medical equipment, healthcare facilities have a substantial energy demand. EMS software helps control energy use in critical areas such as operating rooms, medical labs, and intensive care units. 

Data Centers

Behind-the-scenes, data centers are energy-intensive necessities that power modern life. EMS solutions help centers manage cooling systems, identify areas for efficiency improvements, and monitor power usage effectiveness (PUE) to reduce energy waste. 

Manufacturing and Industrial Operations

EMS solutions help manufacturing and industrial operations effectively control energy consumption for heavy machinery and can integrate carbon capture technology. These solutions reduce energy waste and improve safety conditions. 

Utilities and Grid Management

The energy sector uses EMS applications to monitor energy generation, distribution, storage, and overall grid performance. EMS software also alerts utility companies of outages or faulty equipment. 

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Highly complex EMS case study: Google Data Centers 

Google’s innovations and portfolio of products achieve over 1 billion monthly visitors. Powering their operations are 14 data centers across four continents. As one of the biggest names in technology, Google understands their high energy demand and has demonstrated a long-term commitment to the environment and energy efficiency. The company has been carbon neutral since 2007, but wanted to take their sustainability efforts further.

In 2013, Google embarked on a journey to reduce the energy demand of their 14 data centers by adopting the ISO 50001 Energy Management System. They invested $250,000 to implement the ISO 50001 system and saw immediate results. Within three years, Google avoided 3.8 million tons of CO2 emissions and decreased their carbon intensity by 24%. Since adopting the ISO 50001 EMS methodology, Google has saved an impressive $1 billion in energy costs.

Make an Impact on Utility Expenses by Embracing EMS Solutions

Ultimately, every business, regardless of their industry, can benefit from the energy-saving power of a comprehensive energy management system. The benefits of energy management extend far beyond cost savings by improving operational efficiency and employee safety. Not only does energy management improve businesses, but it also demonstrates a commitment to environmental sustainability and economic longevity. Take the first step towards energy management by requesting a free quote from Integrity Energy. As one of the country’s leading commercial energy brokers, our team of energy experts is dedicated to finding the most cost-effective energy plans to match your business’ unique energy needs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How scalable are energy management systems?

EMS solutions are highly scalable, adapting to businesses of all sizes. They can be customized to meet specific energy management needs or industry standards. 

How can energy management systems benefit the hospitality industry?

EMS can benefit hotels and resorts by optimizing energy use, reducing operational costs, and enhancing guest comfort through efficient heating, cooling, and lighting systems. They can also benefit the restaurants by streamlining kitchen operations and implementing HVAC zoning to improve the dining experience.

Can energy management solutions improve electric vehicle (EV) fleets?

EMS solutions can improve EV fleets by optimizing charging schedules, monitoring battery health, and minimizing energy waste. These measures improve fleet efficiency while reducing operational costs.

How can facilities with 24-hour operations, like data centers or hospitals, use EMS solutions to reduce energy usage?

Facilities with 24-hour operations can use EMS solutions to manage energy consumption by optimizing equipment usage, scheduling energy-intensive tasks during off-peak hours, and implementing energy-efficient technologies like automated lighting and climate control. 

In what ways can energy-intensive industrial processes benefit from EMS solutions?

Energy-intensive industrial processes can benefit from EMS solutions by optimizing heavy machinery usage, identifying areas of energy waste, and implementing renewable energy or microgrid storage. These efforts reduce carbon emissions, provide cost savings, and improve the sustainability of manufacturing operations.

For additional answers to your energy industry questions, please visit our general FAQ page.