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Does Effective Energy Management Boost Your Bottom Line?

Facilities Management

10/09/21 | Rebecca Drewett

Do the substantial cost savings generated by energy and sustainability software make it worth the initial investment from your organisation?

Energy efficiency and sustainability. Two concepts that mean infinitely more today than they did at the turn of the millennium. Concepts that have escalated the rise of energy and sustainability software.

Understandably, much of this is driven by environmental concerns. Buildings are estimated to consume over 40% of the world’s electricity, and consequently produce 28% of all carbon emissions. It is crucial to the long-term viability of the planet that these emissions are reduced and kept at a manageable, stable level.

But, a more immediate concern for building and business owners right now is keeping energy costs at a minimum, as these can be a big drain on a company’s bottom line:

  • The average annual electricity cost for medium-sized businesses in the UK (using 30,000 – 50,000 kWh per year) is between £3,300 and £5,000 (Smarter Business, 2018)

  • 67% of energy consumption in commercial buildings is used to provide building services – lighting, heating, ventilation, etc. (Building Energy Efficiency Survey, 2016)

Strategies and software designed to track energy consumption levels, costs and other related data helps ensure that this spending is as optimal as possible, and that any waste is identified and fixed.

So, does effective energy management boost your bottom line? Unquestionably. But, the bigger question for business owners is whether the investment in this software and commitment to these strategies is worth the return they receive? Here, we will argue why it absolutely is.

Cutting costs with energy and sustainability software

At its core, energy and sustainability software is a means to identify excessive spending on energy, and rectify this with smarter, sensible solutions.

It could range from introducing energy-saving light bulbs on an office floor to harnessing solar energy where possible to offset traditional energy costs. Pursuing these approaches and solutions should be grounded in the data provided by this software, as this reinforces the belief that these updates will reap rewards.

And, with energy prices expected to rise in the foreseeable future for both commercial and residential buildings, any software that can optimise expenditure wherever possible is going to be a big benefit to a company’s bottom line.

That is all well and good to say, but how does this software make a difference in practice? Take this for example – a short while after the software is deployed, you receive analytics that suggest that your building is using a considerable amount of energy in non-operational hours.

By further investigating this information, you can determine what is causing this expensive drain and whether it can be prevented. It may be that the lights in your offices are not switching off automatically at night due to a fault in your building management system. Perhaps the building’s heat controls are faulty, meaning it stays on even when everyone goes home for the day.

Without the information supplied by this system, these problems could be overlooked for weeks or months, and leave a noticeable impression on your energy bills.

Another way this software can directly influence your overall running costs is by tracking the times of day you use the most energy, and the costs incurred in these intervals. This is useful because energy costs fluctuate through the day – during peak hours, the amount you pay for electricity will be distinctly higher than at other hours.

Through this deeper understanding of what energy you are using and when, you can restructure your workdays so that more energy-intensive tasks and operations take place during non-peak hours.

Of course, this won’t be feasible in all instances – there’s a reason why most organisations need to use energy at similar times of day. But even a handful of adjustments to your approach can lead to demonstrable benefits for your bottom line.

These are just a couple of ways that the data and analytics generated by smart energy and sustainability software can influence techniques and changes that make a big difference in your budgets. By harnessing this information into a more committed, comprehensive energy management strategy, companies can also financially benefit from:

  • Income brought into the company via recycling schemes

  • A reduced need to procure electricity, natural gas, water and more as frequently

  • Minimal waste management costs

Overall, cost savings of up to 30% are not unheard of when using an effective software solution – meaning it does not take long for the initial investment in this software to be paid off, and then start to make money for a business through these strategic changes.

Additional savings of effective energy management

However, simply looking at the direct cost-saving potential of energy and sustainability software is merely scratching the surface of how it can improve running costs. While it goes without saying that the data collected and stored within these platforms can lead to significant savings in a short amount of time, the benefits don’t stop there.

One central, streamlined source of truth

Traditionally, there was a heavy burden on energy managers to keep tabs on a wide collection of meter readings, bills, project reports and more critical information. This would often come from multiple distinct systems, and collating this in paper folders or Excel spreadsheets would be cumbersome, intensive, and unlikely to spur any useful action.

Introducing a comprehensive energy and sustainability solution means that all of this data is collated and contained in one accessible place. No need to log into multiple systems or cross-reference numerous sheets. Instead, all information can be seen, compared and analysed at one time, and automatically updated to minimise the risks of unreliable data.

Automating time-consuming tasks

Furthermore, this streamlining of energy-related data frees up the time it would have typically taken an energy manager to create and send reports, conduct analysis or check through bills and cost surveys. These repetitive, arduous tasks can be automated through the software, saving your team hours of time over the course of weeks, months and years.

With this additional time, energy managers and similar professionals can instead devote more time to strategising and researching more efficient assets for your property portfolio. This makes them more of an asset for your overall team, and gives their work more meaning.

Tax breaks and further rewards

Businesses that adopt more sustainable, energy-efficient practices can often benefit from tax breaks, exemptions and other financial incentives. Because the push for more environmentally-conscious business practices is growing with each passing year, companies that take these approaches can enjoy notable reductions in their outgoing expenses.

Enhanced asset lifecycles

If various assets and components throughout a building are kept on for longer than required, this can gradually speed up their deterioration. The more often they are powered and utilised, the more often they will need to be maintained to protect performance, and it is likely they will need to be replaced sooner than they could have been.

Monitoring and tracking energy levels throughout your facilities allows you to identify if any assets are being powered for longer than necessary, and then rectify that situation. This in turn will help extend the viability of your assets, so they then deliver a better return on investment for your organisation.

Smart building integration

By blending energy and sustainability software with an IoT hub or other smart building technology, it will be very possible for rooms, offices, communal spaces and other areas to automatically adjust the amount of energy dedicated to it, based on factors such as occupancy and weather.

This is beneficial to your bottom line as it means there is no wasted time or energy spent manually adjusting these aspects. Changes are made immediately to minimise energy consumption, and as a result running costs are effortlessly optimised.

Bolstering brand reputation

Finally, do not underestimate the financial advantage of improving your brand’s reputation by being more environmentally aware. Many consumers, employees and the general public want to see companies practise what they preach when it comes to supporting the environment and reducing carbon emissions, and demonstrating that can give you a competitive edge.

Plus, if you are a building owner looking to lease out space, implementing a strategic energy management plan with the right software will give them reassurance over the sustainability and cost-saving potential of the building, encouraging them to pay more for the space.

Is energy and sustainability software worth investing in?

We believe this article makes it demonstrably clear that an investment in energy and sustainability software is more than worthwhile.

Whether it is directly collecting data that will form the basis for a more sophisticated, efficient approach to energy management, or indirectly speeding up your internal processes, the difference that this investment can make on your overall profitability can be immense.

While we appreciate that this can be a big commitment to make for the promise of returns down the road, energy is and will continue to be a major factor in the overall running costs behind any building. Finding a way to reduce the impression this leaves on your expenses can therefore be a huge cost-saver on the path to a more environmentally friendly future.

Measure consumption and control costs with FSI

If you are keen to make strides in how you monitor, manage and reduce energy consumption across your facilities, Concept Evolution’s solutions empower you to take each step with total confidence.

Through our smart energy and sustainability software, you will capture data critical to controlling your energy usage and keep it contained in your Concept platform – from energy bill validation to data alarms alerting you when energy consumption levels exceed acceptable boundaries.

  • Perfectly plan and execute your energy management strategy

  • Gather energy-related data from virtually any source – spreadsheets, SCADA systems, paper bills or direct from the meter

  • Achieve complete compliance with government legislation and international standards for energy usage

Discover the difference our software can make to your company’s bottom line – get in touch with our team for more information.