5 Steps to Smart Energy Management Success
10 June 2019
Energy management is the use of technology to improve the energy performance, either in the home or for businesses. The management of energy is often neglected, even though there is considerable potential to save energy and reduce costs. Rising energy prices, climate change legislation and the need to be environmentally responsible all rely on effective energy management. There are a number of simple steps that can be followed to help every one of us achieve better energy efficiency.
Step 1 - Understand Current Energy Use
Establishing a baseline against which future energy reductions can be measured against is an important first step in understanding how you can better manage and reduce your energy use. This can include:
Recording your current energy spend by type e.g. electricity, gas, oil
Understanding current energy tariff rates (single or multi tariff)
Knowing your renewable energy generation e.g. power generated by solar panels or wind
Understanding how much of the renewable energy generated you use
Step 2 - Develop an Energy Use Profile
Once you have the basic information it is important to delve a little deeper to gain insights into what is consuming power and whether you have any energy guzzlers. This can be done using an energy monitoring & management system which will build an energy dashboard that gives a detailed picture of:
Energy use for an average 24 hour period during different seasons
Energy used by different circuits, appliances or groups of appliances
Energy generation for self use or export in a 24 hour period by month (if you have renewable solar or wind energy this will be highly seasonal)
Step 3 - Identify Energy Saving Opportunities
From your energy dashboard you will be able to identify areas which can be improved. These will vary depending on your individual energy use profile and budget available but could include:
Changing to cheaper tariffs or differential tariffs such as economy 7 or new agile tariffs
Replacement of old energy guzzling appliances such as fridges to A+++ appliances
Changing to LED or low energy lights
Installing a smart meter to allow you to benefit from agile tariffs as they become available
Using your energy monitoring & management system to control appliances to switch them on when tariffs are low or when excess solar power is available. Energy can also be diverted to your electric car. They can also ensure that everything is switched off is off when you leave the home or workplace.
Changing to electric heat pumps which are cheaper to run and have RHI grants available
Installation of new or additional renewable technologies e.g. PV Solar Power
Installation of energy storage batteries for storing excess solar power or for “peak shifting” ie buying power on cheaper tariffs, storing it and using it when costs are higher
Step 4 - Plan & carry out energy saving improvements
Once you have an idea which energy saving opportunities will give you the best results you can introduce them one by one or as a single energy saving project. If you plan to introduce changes in stages consider the sequence of these to give you the best return on your investment.
Step 5 - Review and Monitor changes
When the energy management changes have been made it is advised that you review and monitor your energy use against your baseline. This will allow you to measure your energy use and calculate the savings achieved. You can than continue to follow the energy saving model until your energy use is optimal from a cost and CO2 emissions perspective.
Effective Energy Management should be a continuous process as tariffs vary and the cost of renewables such as solar PV and battery storage come down.