SPOKANE, Wash. — Ecova, an energy and sustainability management company, has released a report with the results of its new survey on energy management systems (EMS). The report summarizes the findings from a survey of nearly 200 multi-site companies, across multiple industries, to better understand how companies select, manage, and maintain an EMS and how they utilize real-time telemetry data.

Ecova’s survey reveals that a majority of respondents — 82 percent — have an EMS installed at some or all of their facilities, while 68 percent have systems installed at over half of their facilities, which is a substantial increase from 45 percent in 2013. While energy and sustainability management is becoming an essential part of daily operations for multi-site companies, limitations on human resources and internal expertise make it a challenging task. EMS is a solution for remotely collecting and reporting meter data, managing operational systems such as HVAC, and identifying sites for improvement.

To understand what is driving companies to utilize EMS, the survey collected information about purchasing criteria, how the systems are used, and whether the companies are achieving expected return on investment (ROI). The Ecova report highlights the following key findings:

• Twenty-four percent of companies with EMS cited integration with current assets, technology, and infrastructure as the No. 1 criterion for EMS.

As is the case with any capital expenditure, cost is an important criterion, but companies indicated greater concern regarding EMS integration with existing systems. While there is no clear market leader in EMS brands, there appears to be a shift toward open platform technology and a move away from proprietary, closed protocol systems. Across a site portfolio, there may be multiple EMS systems under management by a facility team.

• Ninety percent of companies see value in trend or telemetry data, from identifying troubled assets to benchmarking energy savings.

A strong majority of respondents understand that trend data analysis enables a baseline that guides a number of sustainability strategies and initiatives, from identifying wasteful, troubled assets to managing overall energy consumption. Fifty-six percent of companies — an increase of 6 percent from 2013 — are also collecting and analyzing 15-minute interval data to add value to their organization. This value includes standardized set points, demand response management, back-office budgeting and financial management advantages, baseline measurement to drive efficiency gains, and overall support of sustainability initiatives.

• Fifty-two percent of companies were provided a ROI analysis to assist in the EMS purchase decision.

Multi-site companies that implement EMS systems can see initial payback in as little as 18 months, noted Ecova. However, people and lack of processes may hinder ROI expectations by overriding system schedules and set points, which is why more than 50 percent of companies felt they did not know if they were achieving their expected ROI.

“This survey revealed great news — that EMS is growing, indicating that more multi-site companies are committed to energy and sustainability management,” said Jamie Daubenspeck, director of facility technology at Ecova. “However, there is still work to be done by companies to more fully leverage these systems and the data insights that they provide.”

The report is available here.

Publication date: 8/3/2015

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