Database management systems are an essential component of the work that ClearVUE Systems carry out for its customers.
Part of Global Procurement Group, ClearVUE provides specialist services in energy management, targeting and reduction, and energy optimisation. Working with Northern Gas and Power, the UK’s largest energy consultancy, we manage over 30 TWhs of energy from over 22,000 clients across 3 continents.
At ClearVUE, our vision is to help create a greener, cleaner world for future generations. We’re designed to help businesses optimise how they monitor, measure, and manage business energy. We want to help businesses reduce carbon emissions, energy waste, and costs.
The key feature of ClearVUE is energy innovation. This has been achieved through the implementation of IoT, Big Data, and AI technologies.
Energy savings are more apparent than one may imagine. As much as 13% of average energy consumption can be saved though optimisation and reduction strategies. However, creating a plan for energy reduction can be overwhelming. A commonly asked question is: “How do I know if I am consuming too much energy?”
The answer is to adopt a continuous process of engagement with energy behaviour. This may involve training or hiring an ‘Energy Champion’ to help spot inefficiencies and understand energy profiles.
High-level Information (Benchmarking)
One tried and tested method is to use comparative analysis. Comparing your energy use against other proven commodities will create a benchmark for performance.
The most common method is by normalising your annual consumption with a factor, to allow comparison against widely available benchmarks for a variety of building types.
The most common normalising factor is building size (floor area or room volume), creating a kWh/m2 Key Performance Indicator (KPI).
Ensuring that you have a full understanding of what your data is showing you is imperative. It includes knowing the main pieces of energy-consuming equipment which relate to a data stream.
If you can visualise the equipment, you can create a view of the data more comprehensively and understand the trends. You can understand exactly what is being metered to allow you to reduce it.
Once a user understands how their building compares to that of best practice, and which energy-consuming equipment they are collecting data for, the next step is to relate the data to site operations.
The most critical approach is to understand your operating hours. When a building is not occupied or functional, there should be a reduction in consumption, with some exceptions such as external lighting.
If energy increases before operational hours or reduces after hours, then there is generally room for improvement.
Once you understand the operating hours, you can investigate the ‘out-of-hours’ energy consumption, otherwise known as the baseload demand.
This should be considerably lower than the operating demand, and zero for many pieces of equipment such as lighting, air conditioning or extractor fans.
If the baseload looks like a significant portion of the operating demand, you should look into switching off the equipment. Alternatively, you can vary the control settings to take advantage of reduced occupancy. An example of this are AHU (Air Handling Unit) start-up times, which can generally be set conservatively to lead to cost savings.
Peaks and Troughs
Needless to say, spikes in your energy profile correspond to increased consumption, emissions and cost. Be sure to interrogate your systems to highlight these and speak to the responsible parties to ensure the peak is validated by a process (e.g., an increase in production, equipment start-up energy spike).
Highlighting Controls Inefficiencies
Optimising the controls on pieces of equipment is the final piece to the ongoing energy management puzzle. Poorly controlled equipment results in operating inefficiencies, again leading to increased consumption.
Another common control issue is around heating or cooling systems that do not reduce consumption during the antagonistic season. For example, chiller controls should accommodate lower temperatures during winter, reducing energy consumption and energy cost.