Just as technological advances have made the physical office worker more virtual, physical boundaries such as buildings and campus locations are giving way to borderless IT networks and a broader community of business devices. This can be a challenge for facilities departments or energy managers tasked with controlling and reducing the rising costs and demand for energy across the enterprise.
After all, if you can’t see the energy being consumed by various IT devices, equipment and systems throughout the enterprise, how can you lower it?
With that in mind, organizations need to be aware of these key energy-management trends for 2013:
- Follow the Productive User: Enterprise energy-management will focus increasingly more on following the productive user. In a business environment, energy is made available to users for one reason and one reason only – to provide those users with an efficient and reliable environment to do productive work. It only stands to reason that if a user is not present in a building or facility, it is a waste of the company’s valuable resources to provide their area with energy for the lighting system, heating and cooling, VoIP phone, or for their computer to operate. This is the equivalent of leaving your car idling in the parking lot when you don’t need it.
- Bridging the Gap Between IT and Facilities Becomes a Reality: The gap between IT and Facilities will continue to close as both groups realize the need to work together to identify energy "hogs" and implement energy management across the enterprise. Facility managers are looking at ways to implement energy-saving strategies and IT departments are trying to maximize the effectiveness of the energy they use – these two groups with different goals will increasingly see the need to collaborate.
- Big Data Brings Big Insight: More enterprises will see the value in using data to improve energy efficiencies, manage energy consumption and harness related costs.
- Pressure Will Mount to Fix the Leaky Buckets: The IT-connected world is like billions of leaky buckets seeping energy all day and night. When you think about the fact that there are billions of devices in use, and as we add other things such as security, badge systems and cameras, that number doubles. When you extract the energy wasted by these, it is enormous. The network is and will continue to be the best way to manage this waste. It is a great homogenizer because it touches everything.
- It’s All About Tuning into the Big Picture: Often it’s not the building’s design that affects actual energy performance, but the devices and equipment on the inside?and how the occupants use them?that really counts. IT devices, from PCs and monitors to printers and VoIP phones, all contribute to making buildings leading energy users (and wasters). While facility managers have good visibility into the energy consumption associated with systems such as HVAC and lighting, energy intelligence for the IT plug load is another story?making it the variable and the big unknown. Enterprises will begin to see the value in a holistic picture of energy consumption across the enterprise and look at the IT plug load with other systems to produce a building-wide view of energy usage and potential cost savings.
As more and more companies around the world look to reduce energy-related costs and fully embrace corporate sustainability initiatives to decrease energy consumption and carbon emissions, why does it seem so difficult to get companies to understand the magnitude of energy waste inside their corporate walls?
While a number of forward-thinking organizations have already come to this energy epiphany, many have not because they still lack the necessary visibility into their energy usage to take specific action to reduce it and their carbon footprints.
And as the management idiom says, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.”
According studies by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, energy usage by enterprise organizations makes up 86 percent of the world’s energy consumption. Just like the Industrial Revolution (News - Alert) and the Computer Revolution that followed, businesses must take a lead role in the “Sustainability” Revolution. And, enterprise energy management tools and strategies will be the lynchpins in this transformation.
Energy management is a growing enterprise problem for many companies, and an evolution is currently underway as the industry demands systems to help provide the visibility and analysis required to help them control this historically unmanaged expense – energy.
Mark Davidson is the Sustainability Officer at JouleX, a leading innovator in sustainable enterprise energy management systems for buildings, industrial controls and IT infrastructure. Mark has been engaged in IT and information security for 25 years plus. His background varies from process control and information security to executive-level roles which give him unique perspective about all aspects regarding cost and implementation of sustainable business practices. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Edited by Braden Becker