In a recent article, we discussed how to determine if your company is ready to start working towards net zero emissions. We also discussed the ways companies can reach net zero. Now, we’d like to go more in-depth into one of those ways: Energy data management. Whether you think net zero is right for your company now or sometime in the future, energy data management is always helpful when it comes to reducing emissions, energy use, and dollars spent. Read on for an explanation of energy data management and the ways it can help you get closer to hitting your net zero and/or sustainability goals.
What is Energy Data Management?
Energy data management is the process of tracking and then optimizing your energy consumption to conserve energy usage in your buildings/facilities. There are a few key steps in the process of energy data management:
- Collecting, consolidating, and analyzing the data is the first and perhaps most important step.
- Identify optimizations that can be made in your building systems by analyzing historical data trends.
- Implement the energy optimization solutions.
- Use your energy data to measure and verify the success of your optimizations.
Achieving Net Zero
Net zero emissions, sometimes referred to as carbon neutral, refers to finding a balance between the amount of greenhouse gases you emit with the amount you remove. Net zero does not mean you produce zero emissions – it means you lower your emissions enough that they are no longer contributing to climate change.
Energy data management is the means to controlling and reducing your building’s energy consumption, which enables you to reduce your carbon emissions in order to meet internal sustainability goals and regulatory requirements, like New York City’s Local Law 97 (LL97). (With the Biden Administration leading the fight against climate change, expect such emissions requirements to become more common.)
Let’s consider a hypothetical example in order to understand how energy data management could help your company reach net zero:
ABC Company is a manufacturer in the U.S. with several different locations in different states. They have decided to commit to reaching net zero emissions by 2035. However, besides their scattered utility bill statements, they don’t really know have a consolidated way of seeing how much energy they are using or how much emissions they are producing. Enter, energy data management.
Energy data management allows ABC Company to capture and consolidate all utility bill data, or, better yet, capture meter data to monitor their energy use at 5-minute intervals. It also allows them to compare their factories with similar facilities and ideal standards set by such frameworks as ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. As a result, they notice areas where their facilities are underperforming – using more energy and producing more emissions than is necessary.
ABC Company uses interval data monitoring to determine that heat leaks and outdated HVAC systems are causing much of their energy loss. They make updates and repairs in multiple locations, then use energy data monitoring to analyze their data after the optimizations. This lets them measure and verify how much energy and dollars the repairs are saving. We will assume that ABC Company’s optimizations work and their facilities are now using less energy to operate and producing less GHG emissions.
With their now-lowered GHG emissions, ABC Company can now work on using other methods, like offsetting, renewable energy credits (RECs), and distributed energy resources (DERs) to further work towards net zero. Energy data management may not be the sole method your company uses to reach net zero emissions, but it is a valuable step (that also shows clients and investors you are committed to changing how your company operates to fight climate change).
How EnergyWatch Can Help with Energy Data Management
EnergyWatch’s WatchWire platform provides all aspects of energy data management, from interval data monitoring to measurement and verification (M&V). WatchWire empowers you with the ability to thoroughly analyze your energy data and meet your net zero and/or sustainability goals. Learn more about our cloud-based energy and sustainability management platform here. Or, to discover about sustainability reporting more in depth, download our e-book, “Utilizing Sustainability Reporting in the Journey Towards Net Zero.”