Energy Management – Technology, Strategies & Incentives

February 23, 2017

Award Magazine, February 2017, by Natalie Bruckner-Menchelli

When it comes to energy savings, a great deal of focus has been placed on technologies that will help us go above and beyond existing standards. However, unless the owner or operator of a building has an in-depth understanding of how those technologies work, the people who would benefit could in fact be missing out on maximizing those energy efficiency measures.

This is a concern for many in the energy management industry and a reason why there has been a shift in focus onto the process of monitoring, analyzing, controlling and conserving energy. Every business has a different energy profile and different operating needs, and with increasingly stringent regulations and revisions being made to existing standards, there is more demand than ever to better understand the role of energy management. “Whether we are talking about new or existing buildings, what drives energy efficiency within the building comes down to how you operate it. You can have a building designed with all the best technologies, but it can end up using more energy than a building without. Documentation is key. Often all the information on how the building operates is in the building operator’s head. There is no documentation on how it is being operated, so it can be very difficult to improve your energy measures,” explains Curtis Loblick, senior project manager, Williams Engineering Canada.

Two critical aspects to energy management include establishing a baseline that allows an energy performance comparison before and after a change is made, and analytics to allow real-time monitoring. “Green building programs have driven clients to begin documenting their energy to enable them to take on energy management themselves. As a result we are also starting to see a lot more metering and analytics companies becoming prevalent in the market place,” says Loblick. “What we haven’t seen so much of is sub metering occurring in the mechanical room. However, interest in this area is growing.

Building owners are starting to install multimeters in mechanical rooms that can record how much energy the chillers, pumps and lights are using, as well as all the various components within a building. “Another factor driving the energy management sector is changes to rules and regulations. Loblick takes the Alberta carbon levy, which came into force on January 1, 2017, as one example. “Alberta is severely lagging behind other provinces in Canada with their energy management practices. When the cost of natural gas dropped in Alberta, so too did the demand for energy management. But now we are adding another utility cost into the mix, and as a result we are seeing many municipalities promoting energy audits,” explains Loblick. “You can no longer shortcut on energy efficient technologies because of the new energy code; it’s not an option to opt out.”

Read the full article Award Magazine: The-Information-Age