It has become a common error to use the words monitoring and management system interchangeably. In this blog post, we’ll explore the key differences between these two approaches and why it’s important to understand them. By understanding the capabilities and limitations of each, you’ll be better equipped to determine the best solution for your organization’s energy needs, whether that is just an energy monitoring system or a fully equpped energy management system.
What are the differences?
ENERGY MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE
Energy management software usually has a proactive approach to optimizing energy usage and addresses the root causes of energy inefficiency directly. Additionally, it is typically more comprehensive than monitoring software.
It includes tools and frameworks to help you establish a culture of energy efficiency. This refers to the values, behaviors, and practices that prioritize the efficient use of energy within an organization. It can include things like using energy-efficient technologies, implementing policies and procedures to reduce energy consumption, and encouraging employees to adopt energy-saving habits.
Establishing it often requires a concerted effort, as it involves changing the way an organization thinks about and uses energy on a day-to-day basis. However, the benefits are substantial and are worth the effort. A strong culture empowers organizations to not only reduce their energy costs but also demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility.
However, not all energy management software is equal. Some may only include certain features, such as data visualization or goal setting. It’s important to carefully review the capabilities of all energy management software on the market, in order to ensure that it meets the specific needs of your organization.
The best practice is to look for a management system with a holistic approach. These usually have a wide scope and encompass complete management and monitoring aspects of optimization, as well as several additional features that help your company achieve maximum energy efficiency. (Auto-analysers, employee training, waste management, asset management, etc…)
ENERGY MONITORING SOFTWARE
Energy monitoring is a reactive approach to energy efficiency that involves tracking and analyzing energy consumption in real-time or near-real-time. The main goal of monitoring is to identify patterns and opportunities for improvement. However, it is important to note that it does not address the root causes of energy inefficiency.
This means that it does not identify the underlying reasons for high energy consumption or inefficiency. It only highlights areas where energy usage is high, but does not provide guidance on addressing these issues. In order to fix the root causes of energy inefficiency, it is necessary to implement energy management strategies and techniques.
Additionally, while energy monitoring software can provide valuable insights into energy usage, we have to understand that it has its limitations in comparison to management systems.
- Reactive - require more time and resources, as they involve responding to problems after they have occurred.
- No optimization - it only highlights areas where energy usage is high, but does not provide guidance on addressing these issues.
- Limited data analysis - low scalability and dispersed systems whose sole purpose is to “just measure”. Additionally, some are only able to monitor certain types of equipment or collect data at specific intervals. This can limit the usefulness of the data and make it more difficult to identify opportunities for improvement.
- Limited control - Monitoring software can only provide information on energy usage, it does not allow you to take action to control or optimize energy usage.
- No long-term planning - Monitoring software is focused on real-time data, it does not provide tools for long-term planning or forecasting.
- No automatic optimization - Monitoring software does not have the ability to automatically adjust energy usage based on predefined goals or targets.
- No integration - Monitoring software is often standalone, it does not have the ability to integrate with other systems or software. This can make it difficult to get a complete picture of energy usage and performance.
How to choose the right energy software?
Although there are several factors that need to be evaluated before purchasing a new energy software, the best practice is to try and find one with a holistic approach. These are most often energy management systems.
The main goal of holistic energy management software is to bring a factory to complete optimization on a single platform, with predefined steps to follow for the easiest and fastest route possible. We can take CALMS’s holistic approach as an example.
- KPIs: Sustainability, Efficiency, Reliability
- Workflow: Assessment, training, audit, monitoring and assets
For the purpose of this blog, we will not be going into in-depth technical details about the various features of our energy management and monitoring system, you can learn more about it on the front page of our website.
Another key benefit is that it allows organizations to take a unified approach to energy optimization. Rather than using separate tools for different aspects of energy management. Organizations can use a single platform to integrate all features. Consequently, saving time and resources, as they don’t have to manage multiple systems and data sources. So, no need for separate energy management, equipment monitoring, remote monitoring, SCADA, audits, etc…
Lastly, we should take for granted that an energy management system provides a more comprehensive view of energy usage. By combining data from different sources, such as energy models, data analytics, and goal setting, organizations can get a complete picture of how energy is being utilized and where improvements can be made.
In conclusion, understanding the differences between energy management and energy monitoring is essential for optimizing energy efficiency in your organization.
Energy management systems provide a proactive approach to reducing energy consumption, establish a culture of energy efficiency, and offer a wide range of features for tracking and analyzing energy usage.
On the other hand, energy monitoring systems are more reactive, providing data on energy usage but not offering actionable recommendations for improvement.
Choosing the right software for your needs is key to success, and it’s worth considering a holistic approach that combines the benefits of both types of systems. If you are looking for a proactive approach to optimising your energy consumption, take a look at CALMS’s comprehensive energy management platform.