Energy Management Software: 8 Things You Need To Know
The right Energy Management System can help you gain visibility into your energy performance. With this insight, you can uncover many hidden savings opportunities.
To help you make an informed choice, this article highlights 8 things you should know when evaluating different solutions.
Intuitive data visualization
Data visualization forms an essential part of your data quality. Good data visualizations are clear and easy to understand. Ask for a demo and see if the visualizations convey useful information quickly and easily. Don’t be fooled by beautiful colors – you need information that informs action, not a painting for the wall!
Put all data points to the “so what” test. My energy use yesterday was 100 kilowatt-hours – so what? What do I do next? Is that good, is that bad? Was there a particular area with a problem? A particular time of day? Has this problem occurred in the past?
Even comparisons can be misleading. You may have used 10% more energy than last month, but those two months had different temperatures, number of days, and holiday schedules.
There’s too much noise to tell whether that’s good or bad without deeper analysis. Don’t get a system that leaves you with more questions than answers. Make sure that you’re getting software that provides you with all the information you need to take confident action.
Flexible & robust reporting
Anyone can put a title and a graph on a page and call it a report. But is it really delivering the right conclusion, clearly, briefly, and in terms that the target audience can understand? Too many reports are siloed into specific topics, when all you want is a single report to show your energy performance for the month.
Other reports are so inflexible that you can’t highlight key points or remove distracting information. This puts you at risk of management confusion and disappointment. You need reports that give you the full picture and give you flexibility over what you can include.
You’re busy, and that means you won’t always have time to spend looking through your energy data, no matter how beautiful and intuitive the graphs are. You need a system that will reach out to you at the right time to let you know when there’s a problem, or when you have a new progress report ready.
A system that will communicate with you will relieve you of the burden of constant checking.
Effective energy management requires participation across multiple departments and locations. That means accessibility is key for quick and effective communication. On-site servers, limits on the number of users, and inflexible access settings can inhibit the effectiveness of your energy management system.
Cloud systems are accessible anywhere, even by mobile. Flexible access settings give you the confidence to grant access without worrying about sharing confidential information with the wrong people. Make sure the right people can access the system at the right time, or you’ll end up with the full burden on your own hands!
Consider each platform’s capability to work with your existing energy data. Platforms that can integrate with almost any hardware are the most cost-effective and future-proof options in the market.
Don't get stuck with hardware-specific platforms that require extra cost to purchase specific (and sometimes redundant) metering devices.
Updates & new features
Software and analytics capabilities are always evolving, and good vendors are always working hard to improve their systems. Unfortunately, many vendors ask you to pay for these improvements, whether it’s a new version or a new widget.
Make sure that you’ll automatically upgrade at no cost to benefit from the latest features, or you’ll end up with excessive long-term costs.
Look for each vendor’s customer success track record, particularly in your own industry or sector. Have they been helping clients achieve solid improvements in energy efficiency and productivity?
Ask for customers’ testimonials, or better still, ask to speak to their customers whenever possible.
En-trak is an award-winning cleantech IoT company. We design and sell cloud-based solutions to help enterprises manage and optimize their energy consumption. Our flagship solution En-trak™ Energy enables users to know where, when and how they are using energy in real-time.
With continuous monitoring and advanced analytics, we’ve helped over 250+ world-class clients including Hong Kong Stock Exchange, National Environmental Agency, and Fuji Xerox achieve their sustainability goals. We’ve also recently launched our brand-new, patented En-trak™ Smart Lighting solution designed to help companies and building owners to automate and optimize their office lights.