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What is Energy Management?

March 17, 2016 / by Max Dworkin

Energy management has probably been a part of your life for much longer than you think.

For instance, when you were a kid, did your parents warn you sternly to turn off a light when you weren’t in the room? Or give you a harsh word as you stood in front of an open refrigerator for what seemed like hours?

While your parents were trying to save money and/or the environment on a small scale, when we start to apply the term energy management to much bigger energy customers -- like your company -- the savings become a lot more noticeable.

Why Manage Energy?

A 2012 study found that in the U.S., approximately 61% of the energy we put into our economy is completely wasted. When the study was done, this amounted to 58.1 quadrillion BTUs each year.

In environmental terms, this certainly sounds devastating. But putting aside sustainability, just think about what that means for your company’s energy costs. It means that more than 60 cents of every dollar you spend on energy is going directly down the drain. Imagine the impact it could have on your bottom line if you could recover even a fraction of those costs.

One of the first steps in energy management is to create a baseline and analyze the information and data you have. This falls under the theory - ‘if it can’t be measured it can’t be managed.’ There is a wide variety of free and low cost tools available to perform this work, which falls under the broad category of benchmarking and utility bill analysis. A recent study from the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings program highlighted that implementing a simple benchmarking and analysis framework can yield annual savings of 2.4% - in other words, by simply measuring how you consume energy, you generate savings. However, there is much more to energy management than simply reacting to potential issues - multiple systems, approaches, and techniques are all possible and yield savings, but it can be hard to know where to start - which brings us to the topic of Strategic Energy Management (SEM).

What Strategic Energy Management is All About

The most effective way to recover wasted energy costs is through Strategic Energy Management. The right energy management program can help your company to function more efficiently and thereby use less energy overall. It can also help you to assess where your energy expenses are going and how your company can strategically choose where to buy energy and when in order to keep these costs as low as possible. This might mean strategic investment in things like renewable energy sources, efficient machinery, and granular energy use monitoring down to individual buildings, systems, and end uses. The proactive approach of setting goals, identifying how and when those goals can be achieved, and making forward looking decisions is a key part of SEM.

Ultimately, SEM is about maximizing efficiency so that your company can stop wasting money as soon as possible.

If you’re new to the world of energy management, it can look a bit daunting. But just like your parents had a goal in mind for saving money by turning off the lights, you can create meaningful impact through a similar model,  just on a larger scale.  To help you better grasp what energy management is all about, we’ve put together a short eBook on the subject that will help shed some light on the more complex aspects. Download it below.

Introduction to Energy Management


 

Topics: energy management, energy consumers

Max Dworkin

Written by Max Dworkin

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