I recently hosted a webinar on continuous monitoring and management, which covered best practices around maximizing return on investment in Energy Management Systems (EMS). I was joined by our very knowledgeable client, Neal Sivie, Senior Manager of Energy Management Systems Design & Development with JC Penney.
To start off the webinar, I gave a quick overview of the challenges that Energy and Facility Managers face, and provided some best practices to combat these challenges. Neal dove right into the core of the challenges facing multi-site companies: Numerous facilities with a multitude of equipment, a serious need for integration of operations and information systems, and typically a small energy management team. For example, JC Penney’s portfolio consists of 850 mixed-use facilities with an average infrastructure age of 26 years, approximately 80 million gross square feet of floor space, three call centers and 25 servers.
Managing buildings and systems on this scale requires monitoring, policies and standardization. Below are best practices to consider when managing a large portfolio:
1. MONITOR & MANAGE HUMAN INTERACTION
Monitor your systems so you know when they have been overridden and are not operating according to business rules.
2. STANDARDIZE PROPER ALARM MANAGEMENT
Actively monitor alarms, prioritize them to identify the critical versus the non-critical alarms and ensure a timely and effective response is performed when needed.
3. MINIMIZE ACCESS TO SYSTEMS
Establish proper levels of access by authorized, knowledgeable personnel.
4. DOCUMENT STANDARD CONFIGURATIONS AND SEQUENCES OF OPERATION
Establish effective configuration standards for system sequences of operation. Include some level of ongoing system audit, whether it’s live or analytics, to ensure that configurations are maintained at their proper settings.
5. PINPOINT SENSOR LOCATION FOR POWERFUL TRACKING RESULTS
Make certain that sensors are placed in optimal locations that truly reflect the conditions being controlled.
6. IMPLEMENT VARIANCE/CHANGE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
Develop a check-list to ensure that EMS settings are returned to the proper standard configurations and implement the proper procedure to periodically review the check-list against current conditions.
7. BACK-UP CONFIGURATION AND PROGRAM FILES
Implement a schedule of periodically backing-up the configuration and program files for the EMS at every site.
8. RE-COMMISSION ENERGY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
Evaluate the need for a re-commissioning program and implement a schedule of periodically re-commissioning the EMS throughout the entire portfolio.
APPLY A SYSTEM MONITORING PROGRAM
System monitoring provides visibility to alerts and data from all types of systems to allow you to respond to equipment issues before they escalate into larger comfort issues or expensive maintenance or operational concerns. The best practices listed above are crucial to achieving optimal ROI on your EMS investment, as well as implementing a cost effective system monitoring program.
There is still another level of enterprise integration that is the ultimate vision – whether you consider it an Enterprise Management System, cloud or integration. It all falls under the approach of bringing multiple systems, services and data into an ‘overarching’ platform that allows for fewer individuals to actively manage a multi-facility portfolio.
Ecova provides the BEST best practices for maximizing EMS ROI. For additional information on Energy Management Systems, I encourage you to watch our webinar recording.