Current Piecemeal Energy Management Approaches are Helpful, but Don’t Address the Challenges Experienced
Currently-available solutions for controlling energy costs, such as programmable thermostats, or Internet-linked thermostats, can help operators partially control their energy costs, by helping facility managers control temperature settings in each location. And on the HVAC equipment side, preventive maintenance service contracts can detect problems in some units before they become more expensive repairs.
Both of these approaches, however, fall well short of realizing the full potential savings and efficiency available from a true energy management system. For example, programmable thermostats can dial heat and cooling up and down on set schedules, but without an ongoing record of external temperature conditions and system performance for each location, the facility manager doesn’t have the information required to optimize energy efficiency for each location.
Wireless Internet thermostats can provide centralized control, but unless they integrate information from HVAC systems across multiple facilities, they can’t provide facility managers with the full unified picture of their energy use. And without a means of storing and measuring ongoing heating/cooling use and HVAC performance and providing this information into an actionable, centralized system, they do not offer a solution that can help the facility manager optimize their energy savings for each location, across their entire operation.
On the HVAC equipment side, preventive maintenance service contracts are a high, fixed yearly cost for every location, because they are required regardless of whether or not the equipment at each location requires service. Moreover, once or even twice-yearly maintenance schedules cannot provide early detection of all potential expensive equipment failures, since these failures do not conform to preventive maintenance time lines and often occur without warning.
The overall problem of optimizing energy savings and system management for multi-location operators requires more than piecemeal fixes. Fortunately, technology has now advanced to where multi-location retail facility managers can now take advantage of tools and insight they need to fully address the need.