Considerations for Energy Management Information Systems (EMIS)

1. EMIS Description

Prior to widespread energy industry deregulation, small commercial and institutional purchasers of energy had limited discretion over internal, real-time facility tracking of electrical power consumption. With the advent of advanced digital meters, sophisticated application-specific database software, and low-cost web and serial communications technologies, the facilities manager now has access to detailed information regarding all aspects of energy consumption within the facility.

In order to manage energy utilization within a facility, the use of accurate real-time measurements of electrical parameters is required. The availability of low-cost distributed digital sub metering systems provides the owner/operator a tailored solution to capturing and reporting vital information. This is superior to the historical approach wherein information about energy consumption was captured only after the fact and at a single point on the incoming service.

Energy Management Information Systems (EMIS) provide real-time tracking and trending of a variety of electrical parameters such as kilowatt (kW), kilowatt-hour (kWh), kilovolt-ampere-reactive (KVAR), power factor (PF), voltage, current and phase data. This data is made available in a wide variety of graphical and tabular formats, and can provide extensive monitoring capabilities using alarm, trending and comparative/historical means to reveal extensive details of facility energy consumption patterns. The data can be configured to monitor at very high levels, such as incoming services, or can be utilized down to individual motor or branch loads.

2. EMIS Benefits

EMIS systems provide benefit, in the first instance, to identify problems and areas of waste in energy consumption within a facility. In the second instance, as facility personnel utilize the data to optimize energy utilization through targeted maintenance, corrective action, equipment capital replacement cycles, etc. The longer term benefit of the system is to act as an accounting tool that allows controllers, financial officers, and operations personnel to trend energy consumption within the facility, or across facilities.

These benchmarks can allow for highly accurate cost characterizations and provide decision makers with the tools and information required to optimize energy purchase, equipment purchase, capital deployment and facility operations.

An EMIS can also be deployed to identify cost at a departmental, tenant or product level. This can provide value in terms of understanding energy unit costs.

3. Process/How to Buy

The implementation of an EMIS typically requires an evaluation of the facility in order to determine the appropriate circuits to achieve the desired profile. This evaluation allows the facility manager the ability to tailor the system according to their requirements.