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Five Top Tips for Managing Your Energy

Poorly managed energy can leave you feeling a little bare

Move on from your outdated processes with our handy top tips.

1. Invest in new controls, especially ones that can pay for themselves.

The DMTouch can be setup to monitor metered consumables, such as water, gas, and electricity and their usage, then display this data in an easy-to-digest format. It can calculate savings, or overspending, from the user’s budget and provide detailed analysis on consumption. Tabulated views also offer varied analysis of weekly/monthly/yearly usage and spending along with live data and graphing. Such transparency reduces product failures (our ActiveFM™ software can predict failures before they happen) and lowers maintenance and servicing costs.

These savings cover the cost of the initial equipment investment, and they do so within a short timescale rarely found in the HVACR and BEMS industries.

For example, Supa IGA supermarket in Australia experienced annual savings of AU$52,248 with RDM controls, meaning they covered the cost of their investment in just one year.  Ardent Leisure also reduced their energy costs by 20% through the installation of RDM equipment, and these savings gave an ROI of less than a year.

2. Get smart and connect your devices.

A report by Mobile Experts predicts the Internet of Things (IoT) device market for asset tracking is to triple by 2022. This is because, with the connectivity of IoT, the possibilities for integrating devices, and having everything working in unison, are endless. For example, you no longer have the windows open at the same time as you’re trying to heat things up. Even a national estate that has thousands of retail locations and distribution facilities across the country, can work in harmony.

RDM’s Data Manager (DMTouch - PR0510) facilitates linking up of individual control and monitoring components within store refrigeration and HVAC/building control. This central intelligence unit gathers and processes millions of items of data and presents it – in real time – in an accessible and user-friendly form on the chosen device.

Take the example of Ambassador Theatre Group, who utilised the RDM range of Intuitive Controllers and free license PLC software, TDB, to control multiple aspects of the heating and ventilation system. By connecting their devices, Ambassador Theatre Group delivered optimal environmental conditions and comfort to their visitors whilst reducing energy consumption and carbon footprint.

Internet of Things IoT

3. Move on from your expensive and outdated processes.

The findings from Marshall Institute suggest that 60% of the costs associated with maintenance tasks today are unnecessary and preventable. This is an immediate need for updated and streamlined buildings management which removes the need for manual, time-consuming processes.

By switching to modern, innovative software, firms can generate energy baselines which controls automatically work towards. Alarms can also be generated upon pre-set parameters to alert managers to issues – removing the need for physical, and time-consuming, monitoring of equipment. This cuts costs associated with downtime and energy inefficiency, but it also reduces the burdens linked to response time, labour, data analysis and perishable stock.

Take the example of Axiom Energy Solutions, who introduced a new process to manage the warnings and alarming of essential store equipment. By implementing the advanced RDM technology, Axiom Energy Solutions were able to differentiate between critical and non-critical refrigeration alarms, alert local store management of issues with their refrigeration system, and email critical alarms to their mechanical contractors, assisting them in reducing the potential for product loss.

4. Watch the hours you’re in office, but also watch the hours you’re not.

A study by Finder UK found that 46% of business energy is consumed outside of 8am-6pm. Many businesses monitor their energy while they’re open, but many forget to monitor it when they’re not.  

By implementing a system which uses a standard internet browser to display, monitor and control any equipment related to energy consumption, a firm, or their HVACR contractor/facilities management company, are provided with a real-time view of everything that is happening in a single store or estate – from their mobile device. They can now remotely monitor and manage all the lighting, heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration plant in their stores, plus security and other in-store systems, at any time, from any pc, anywhere.

More specifically, with trim heat level functionality, settings can be automatically reduced at night time to provide further energy savings when the facility is unoccupied. Even by simply reducing the maximum output of heaters to 70% (as opposed to always on), energy consumption is instantly reduced by 30%.

In a real-life example, a Malaysian Hospital halved their energy costs with better monitoring equipment. By installing RDM’s DMTouch, which connected directly to their new chiller unit via a BAC net interface, they had a central viewpoint which allowed users both on and off-site to view and manage critical operating data.

Office hours energy consumption

5. Updating your software is more efficient than updating your hardware.

Upgrading a device’s software typically gives a firm access to new features, boosts a device’s functionality and provides enhancements to the user experience. With this option, firms no longer the need to routinely replace hardware to have the latest technology.

Currently, many companies in the HVACR industry which offer monitoring equipment do not offer updates remotely. Many of these companies still use a ‘return to base’ method, whereby the hardware is returned to the manufacturer to perform the software update or a technician has to visit the site to update with a PC. Alternatively, you are required to use specialist third parties. Here, service providers are hired exclusively by the manufacturer to perform the task. This incurs a service cost, alongside the logistics of arranging a suitable time/date to enter the facilities and access the devices.

Instead, by using a truly open XML protocol, there is the ability to remotely add, change or improve functions and features at any time, even down to the individual device. This process cuts installation time and costs, as well as avoiding the need to routinely replace hardware.

The benefits of upgrading software can be seen in the example of an RDM UK retail customer wanted to upgrade the software for their case controllers across the majority of their 400+ sites. The firm wanted to minimising costs and avoid any downtime. In response, RDM facilitated this upgrade remotely, and as such, prevented any shutdown for the customer and saved on average 4-8 hours per site alongside associated transport costs. The new software also included innovative energy saving features surrounding demand load shedding, and these were able to be implemented immediately.

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