Energy Dashboards: why you need one and what you need to know

There is and old adage “If you can’t measure it you can’t control it.” This has become particularly true when it comes to taking energy management to the next level in commercial buildings. Although energy saving controls and solutions have been around since the 70’s, Government mandates such as EPACT 2005 and EISA 2007 are  requiring a whole new level of measurement and verification, which requires sub-metering. If you are sub-metering then you are going to need a way to process and understand all this additional information, which is why you need to consider an Energy Dashboard like the one Stromquist & Company provides from ProphetSuite

As you can see ProphetSuite is way cool!! If you have a building automation system, you are already able to gather a lot of this information, so why would you invest in another software package?The short answer is although your building automation  software and graphics package might be great for building control,the energy game has changed, and if you are going to play you need the right software tools, which is where an Energy Dashboard and companies like ProphetSuite make sense. With more focus on LEEDS, Sustainability, Green Environments, and Property Health more people in an organization are getting involved with looking at buildings. Look how many companies in the last two years have created positions like “sustainability officer” in their organizations. The information building engineers need to look at and how they need to look at it are completely different than what a CEO or a Sustainability officer needs to see and comprehend. So one of the big advantages of Energy Dashboard software like ProphetSuite is it allows the same information to be shared and formatted in different ways allowing each person in an organization to customize information intake and how they want to see it. For example we worked with a university and the university president’s priority was the Energy Star rating. Using an Energy Dashboard allowed an Energy Star widget to be created on the president’s computer that only showed what the University’s Energy Star rating was at that moment. The President was able to monitor the data point that was most relevant; at the same time the utility manager was able to customize his dashboard with many more data points that were needed for his analysis, and the building engineer only looked at the data he needed.

Another key element that an Energy Dashboard like ProphetSuite provides is the ability to normalize data. If you have multiple buildings and you are looking at the KWH used by each building, and building one is showing 1000KWH while building 2 is showing 500KWH, which building is operating more efficiently? The answer is we don’t know. What if building one is twice the size or has 40% more electrical load on the building. A good Energy Dashboard like ProphetSuite will normalize your energy data in such a way that you get a true picture of what is happening in your buildings.

When you invest in an Energy Dashboard it is important not to be “penny wise and pound foolish.” You are investing in a management tool, and your Energy Dashboard should be scalable, customizable, and easy to set up and use. Creating an Energy Dashboard is not “rocket science” but creating one that is effective and easy to use is an art. Although we have many different options to offer our customers when it comes to Energy Dashboards we encourage them to look at ProphetSuite, what we think is best of breed.

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