Energy monitoring systems
We live in the era of digital data, and businesses are looking for every opportunity to gain deeper insights into their brand and the world it operates in. But data collection and analysis isn’t just for big businesses. New software provides small and medium sized businesses with opportunities to access their energy data to drive their decision-making. Energy monitoring systems are one of the tools available to businesses interested in using data to increase their operational efficiency.
What is an energy monitoring system and how does it work?
An energy monitoring system allows you to see exactly how your business consumes energy. It is a combination of electronics fitted to your switchboard and an interactive dashboard on your computer or mobile. Brett Beeson from Brisbane-based company PhiSaver explains, “We put some electronics in the main switchboard that upload your energy activity to the cloud every minute the user can see that (information) on a visual dashboard”.
The dashboard provides insight into what parts of your operation use the most energy, (such as floodlights), when you use the most electricity, and your estimated bill. If you have a solar system, you can also monitor the amount of electricity you are generating and using onsite and the amount you are exporting to the grid.
Electronics installed in the main switchboard. Image: Phisaver
Who can benefit from an energy monitoring system?
If you are a high energy user and want to get serious about energy efficiency but don’t have a dedicated energy expert, an energy monitoring system could be for you. An energy monitoring system can help you pinpoint the most expensive aspects of your operation, and target your efforts on improving that area, to decrease your costs and carbon emissions. They provide real-time updates that allow you to track the impact that process changes and efficiency efforts are having. That way you can change tack if you aren’t seeing any benefits.
“By identifying the biggest energy users like lights or refrigeration, businesses can take targeted actions.”
An energy monitoring system can also help you to identify faulty items, or seasonal changes in usage. Brett from PhiSaver sees this as one of the key benefits.
What do they cost?
There are a range of energy monitoring systems on the market. Brisbane based PhiSaver energy monitoring systems cost $995 ex GST, including installation, software and support for three months. Some other popular systems are mentioned in this case study on energy monitoring in agriculture.
Bulimba Memorial Bowls Club
When the Bulimba Bowls Club installed an energy monitoring system this year, they discovered that refrigeration made up 33% of their business electricity use. Targeting their focus on this portion of their costs was their first step towards a more efficient operation.