13. September 2018

Why a CAFM is not sufficient for energy management

Energy management is currently developing in such a way that it is no longer just about the data, but increasingly also about the mapping of various processes. All important approaches that go beyond the mere visualization of meter data can be summarized under the heading "digitization".

The need for energy management software

Facility management processes can be mapped in CAFM software. In most cases, an energy management module is also available that promotes seamless integration into the CAFM system.

Such modules fail at least at two points: Since long-term analyses must be possible in energy management and data must be received with different time lags, the temporal structural change must be mapped. If many automatic measuring devices are available, millions and billions of data records will quickly be collected - and even individual outliers will render the evaluation worthless.

The city of Wuppertal, pioneer for automatic data acquisition in the municipal sector, has relied on IngSoft InterWatt since 2014. A CAFM system is also in use. The municipality benefits from the advantages of both worlds through an automatic comparison between the two systems.

Adjacent processes

In a professional energy management software not only the data is digitally recorded. Adjacent processes are also integrated. This is also the case at Remondis, Europe's largest centre for industrial recycling. The company has digitalised its billing of the energy supplied in the site network with the help of IngSoft InterWatt.

Consumption is automatically recorded in IngSoft InterWatt. In addition, the tariffs agreed with the users are stored. In this way, monthly invoices can be generated at the push of a button. The service charge statement is historicized and fully traceable at any time. Correction calculations are possible.

Flexibility and performance

Energy management is dynamic: meter change, tariff or supplier change (and thus the emission factor), installation of additional sub-meters, new, finer subdivided structure, extension or reduction of buildings, introduction of smart metering and much more.

This aspect must be taken into account through high flexibility. An example: Vorarlberger Kraftwerke AG (VKW), with 70,000 data points integrated into the energy management system, is both an energy supplier and an energy management service provider. This requires powerful, flexible software with mature multi-client capability, open scalability and an interface to the existing SAP system. With IngSoft InterWatt, the VKW can offer household customers advice, energy management services for commercial customers and public institutions as well as the own properties and power plants with a consistent system on a single foundation.

When evaluating consumption, various changes must also be taken into account, especially when using additional meters or switching from manual to automatic recording.

Minimize effort

In addition to energy management, facility managers also have to cope with other tasks. Therefore, the workload in energy management should be minimized. Import functions for existing data, reusability of building blocks, hierarchical assignment of rights, prepared interfaces to CAFM systems, etc. reduce the initial setup effort. For typical energy management tasks such as plausibility checks of values, meter changes and regular report dispatch, professional software offers clever functions that reduce the daily effort.

For example, the meter tree validation in IngSoft InterWatt enables the user to quickly gain an overview of the meters of an energy property and the consumption values recorded there, e.g. in the last month.