Energy management is a very big issue nowadays, with companies and individuals all looking for ways to cut costs and protect the environment in the process. Energy efficiency is a fine goal to aim for, but many are not clear on exactly how to make it a reality. Here we look at some of the options.

Sub-metering is a common and effective way of monitoring your electricity in large buildings or offices. Often offices or tenements are shared with everyone’s electricity feeding into one meter, which makes it impossible to say who is using the most energy. A sub-meter can be fitted very easily to the electricity infrastructure and will only measure what has been used in a particular area. For example, if you worked in a shared office building but wanted to find out what your team was using but not the rest of the building, then a sub-meter would be a perfect solution.

At home, you can make it even simpler but getting a smart meter, which will record your energy usage, along with peaks and real-time costs. If you are interested further, you can also buy a plug-in energy monitor. These devices measure the energy used by a single device. For example, if you wanted to see how much your computer was costing to run, you can plug it into a monitor and see real-time usage data.

Knowing your energy usage is only half the battle. After this comes to the tricky process of working out if there are any problems. If you are monitoring consumption, you expect certain patterns, reduced usage at night and weekends, and a big increase around the time people start work. If, however, your data shows a moderate or high consumption when no one is around, you should investigate further as it means that something is still running. This could be due to a fault in your electrical system, which may require attention. Remember, energy is expensive and often has detrimental environmental effects, so it is always worth preventing excess usage. Many people are unaware that things like chargers, although not connected to a phone or laptop, will still use energy, so looking for devices left plugged in if you are struggling to identify consumption irregularities.

To actually analyze the energy data, the most common electricity analysis is called “Degree day analysis”. This is when your energy consumption is mapped against the outside temperature. This is expected to be a linear relationship with the temperature being linked to the amount of energy you use for heat or cooling your building. If, however you are using the same amount of energy on hot and cold days, it could indicate you have an issue with your heating system, either in its operation or due to the way the timers and sensors are set. It may also flag up issues with personnel. For example, are people leaving the windows are doors open, resulting in heat loss. Very few air conditioning systems were designed to run in conjunction with windows, and having windows that open and air condition is usually considered a design fault.

With a few simple devices and a good look at your data, you should be able to reduce your energy consumption significantly easily. Energy is one of the largest bills we all face, and any improvement is worth making, both for the environment and for your bank balance.

Article by Salah M. Al for Epistle News.