The New Age of Energy Management - The Transition from Hardware to Software

Advancements in cloud-based technology, software, analytics, and artificial intelligence are pushing the boundaries of energy management in all sectors of the economy, including schools. While technology, such as smart meters, offer insight into energy costs for entire buildings or sub-loads, sensors connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) and data processed by analytics empower a new level of energy management. Data-driven insights streamline decision making and offer significant benefits to school districts. Consider these ways energy management is becoming more about the software side of the equation.

School District Energy Management Depends on More Than Hardware

Unfortunately, Facility Managers equate energy management digital transformation as investing in new hardware only. While investing in the Internet of Things (IoT), smart thermostats and energy-efficient systems are part of the digital transformation; it is not the whole picture. Energy management depends on using the data collected by systems to make meaningful changes. What is a meaningful difference?

Well, meaningful changes refer to actions taken that reduce energy use beyond hardware upgrades. For example, encouraging teachers and students to turn off lights when the last person leaves a classroom will reduce energy costs much more than merely using energy-efficient LED lighting.

Digital Transformation of Energy Management Empowers School Districts to Save Millions

Gathering data and applying the data is what sets digital transformation apart from hardware-only improvements. Software, including Big Data analytics, such as prescriptive analytics, help schools understand areas of higher-than-expected energy use. If the problem lies in an asset failure, it can be corrected. If the problem is the result of occupant behaviors, i.e., leaving lights on, working with students to encourage energy conservation is the solution. Prescriptive analytics detail the actions that will achieve better results, and according to Energy Manager Today, the use of advanced software is becoming a common practice for both supply-side and demand-side energy management.

Benefits of Digital Transformation Contributing to Better Savings and EUI

Digital transformation in energy management will increase the facilities cost avoidance in school districts and improve energy-conservative behaviors in faculty and students. Moreover, these benefits contribute to higher savings and a better energy use index (EUI).

  • Reduced maintenance spends as asset performance is measured in real-time.

  • Real-time monitoring and analytics identify potential asset problems, as well as increase visibility into energy costs.

  • Web-based and mobile applications, including GreenX, increase collaboration and planning of facilities management activities.

  • Lower annual utility bills.

  • Extension of asset life span.

  • Creating a culture of sustainability among staff and students.

  • Quantifiable metrics show what is and is not working to save money.

  • Savings can be used to improve the quality of education.

  • Improved energy use behaviors are more valuable than just energy-efficiency upgrades.

  • IoT-enabled sensors and wireless technology offer visibility without extensive remodels or upgrades of assets.

  • Access to better energy rates, if applicable, in areas where utilities have been de-regulated.

Kickstart Your District’s Energy Management Digital Transformation

Energy management in K-12 schools can achieve millions in savings through the application of software, as well as hardware. However, changing the EUI through improvements in energy use behaviors, guided by software-based analytics and business intelligence tools, can offer limitless savings’ potential. In a recent update on the progress of energy management at Fort Worth ISD, “energy savings have risen to more than $3.1 million annually,” says Randy Hoff, Vice Chairman of Cenergistic Energy Professionals. Your district needs to put the power of software to work to achieve your sustainability and energy conservation goals. Contact Cenergistic online or by calling 1-855-798-7779 to get started.

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