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Tech to the Rescue: New Tools Help Businesses Tackle Their Energy Use

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Data drives energy decisions in today’s business world. Savvy companies reduce their energy costs by tracking where, when and how they use energy by the hour, day and month.

Wireless monitoring technology helps businesses pinpoint wasted energy not just at a building level but also for individual devices and pieces of equipment within the building. With such precision, businesses can find hidden waste that — if eliminated — could mean significant savings, especially when using advanced analytics.

In a survey of 300 energy decision makers, Direct Energy Business found that 22 percent of those using energy monitoring equipment cut costs by 21 percent or greater. And 63 percent cut costs by 6 percent to 20 percent.

However, not all businesses are taking advantage of this savings opportunity. A little more than 50 percent of businesses surveyed said they do not use monitoring equipment. Additionally, only 32 percent of respondents use enhanced data analytics capabilities to optimize energy plans.

Precise data collection is a crucial component of Total Energy Management, a big-picture strategy that businesses use to be wiser purchasers and consumers of energy. By coupling energy monitoring technology with the other best practices in energy management, businesses are more likely to save 20 percent or more on energy costs.

How Energy Monitoring Systems Work

Wireless, self-powered sensors — like those of Panoramic Power, which analyzes 8 billion data points per month and counting — can be installed on HVAC equipment, lights, appliances, computers and other machinery. The sensors collect energy-usage data on each device or piece of equipment and transmit it to a secure, cloud-based platform.

Business owners and decision makers can then view usage reports for individual devices and pieces of equipment. If a mobile-enabled application is part of the solution, the data can be viewed on mobile devices. At-a-glance, users can see which resources use the most energy, compare monthly energy usage, identify peak use and even receive alerts to warn of potential equipment failures. 

The data guides future action, so business owners can potentially know:

  • Whether equipment needs repair or replacement

  • Employee engagement in energy-saving measures

  • The best times of day for system upgrades or maintenance

  • Which areas account for the bulk of energy-related costs

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Here’s what this might look like across various industries:

Commercial Real Estate

Employees of a commercial real estate business embrace energy-saving practices by shutting off lights when not in use and turning off computers on nights and weekends. Yet energy bills remain constant.

After installing wireless sensors, the office manager discovers that the culprit is the printer/copier machine, which wastes a significant amount of energy, even while idle. Furthermore, the HVAC system is using more electricity this year compared with the same time last year. The system may need maintenance work or possibly an upgrade. 

Armed with detailed analytics, business decision makers can anticipate these future budget items and make a business case for equipment improvements. Once the repairs and upgrades are complete, they will have analysis to show the benefit of those expenditures.

Hospitals and Medical Facilities

Hospitals and medical facilities – where equipment performance is critical – use energy monitoring technology to understand energy use and to detect equipment failures before they happen. Administrators can set up alerts to receive immediate notice when medical equipment performs erratically or fails. 

In addition, hospital administrators can receive detailed energy data about HVAC systems, lights, medical equipment, computers – even the waiting room vending machines – to better understand their overall energy usage.


In manufacturing, energy management technology can monitor individual pieces of equipment or machinery. The data can be sent to a connected device and presented as a dashboard in real time, allowing for quick action as needed. With this detailed insight, manufacturers can shift energy-intensive activities to off-peak hours reducing energy costs. 


For hotels, technology can monitor energy use on a room-by-room basis. This allows managers to evaluate potential energy efficient upgrades, such as timers or auto-off settings on light switches and in-room electronics. 

No matter the industry, energy monitoring technology and analytics tools provide actionable data. With practical insights into their energy use, businesses can create more informed and effective energy management programs – as well as track their progress and savings. 

Learn how businesses are supercharging their energy strategy with energy monitoring technology. 

Download the 2017 Energy Decision Makers Survey Report

Posted: March 02, 2017