Verdigris AI Energy Management Is the Cure for Holiday Headaches

It’s that time of year again, the holiday season, when energy demand can vary significantly from typical behavior trends. Holiday parties, production surges, employee vacations, and plant shutdowns mean that managers and engineers can’t count on usual management plans to keep everything in order. HVAC and lighting setpoints are cranked up, adjusted, or overridden and then forgotten about for extended periods of time.

Combined with winter’s waning light and dipping temperatures, the holiday season can add up to dramatic volatility in energy usage and confounding inefficiency. The stress of a plant shutdown on a facility manager — ensuring everything is off when it should be and that it comes back on when it’s supposed to — does not make for a joyous holiday season. And when all is finished and the confetti has been swept up, the facility manager still has to ensure that everything is back to normal.

Experts estimate that such seasonal variability and setpoint errors weigh heavily on expenses, costing organizations anywhere from 10 to 30 percent more during the peak seasons. Building managers have a term for when performance varies from their carefully laid plans — it’s called “drift.” And yet, it’s preventable. Four of the top ten causes of commercial energy inefficiency are related to nothing more than incorrect equipment settings and controls.

The old way

So what’s a building manager to do about drift and efficiency over the holidays? There are several things you are likely contemplating, if not doing already.

  • Anticipate these times and know that demand on HVAC and lighting will spike and dip at the holidays
  • Optimize active zones and equipment and/or even shutdown where feasible
  • Be sure supporting equipment are unplugged; in campuses and offices these could be equipment such as printers, water coolers, and space heaters
  • If the holiday occurs on a weekday, coordinate the HVAC and lighting setpoints to low-use schedule such as a weekend
  • Tap into the company calendar to better predict when celebrations and vacation time can create volatility and offset large loads where feasible

In many cases, these efforts can help prevent unintended energy behavior, but they still require time and effort to implement. They also may rely on an engineer’s personal knowledge of the building to know where energy variability may occur, and the team may need to walk through unoccupied spaces to look for anything left powered. If anything is missed, you’ll see it on your next month’s utility bill, but it’s nearly impossible to know what caused it.

One strategy that more and more managers are utilizing to manage drift is energy monitoring and management software. Energy monitoring is not new; many building engineering shops have an old, dusty computer in the corner running some sort of EMS/BMS that was built on some very expensive building networking. In order to get information about their building they have to go down to the basement and boot up the computer. But that’s no longer necessary. Now you can get even more powerful data from anywhere in the world, in real time, right from your smartphone, and for significantly cheaper.

The future

One company leading the way in bringing energy management into the 21st century is Verdigris Technologies. Verdigris systems combine patented electrical sensors, IoT wireless data transmitters, advanced artificial intelligence, and cloud-based analytical tools to provide deep insight into which circuits are using more or less energy than they should be, what equipment has suffered a failure, and what equipment needs maintenance immediately or in the near future, all in real-time, allowing engineers or facilities personnel to manage their whole portfolio’s operations, down the very device.

It’s in its data capabilities that Verdigris really sets itself apart. The raw data is collected in real time and then beamed to the cloud where Verdigris artificial intelligence algorithms take over.

The AI learns to identify normal and abnormal energy behavior. This transparency allows facilities managers to isolate devices and to address poor-performing equipment, wasteful behavior, and even malfunctioning or failing equipment simply by studying anomalies in their power signatures.

This proprietary tool offers an unmatched degree of insight into the details of a building’s electrical demand, providing device-by-device knowledge. Verdigris goes beyond the status quo of energy management systems to produce real results that affect the bottom line and keep everything humming along.

Better yet, all of this requires no additional effort from the engineering team. Verdigris sends alerts when demand forecasts are expected to exceed typical thresholds or peak-demand levels. It analyzes the costs of large loads, like those from elevators and HVAC systems. And, it does it all seamlessly. An entire portfolio of buildings can be managed from a smartphone, freeing up time for engineers to focus on other important matters… like eggnog and ugly sweaters.

This holiday season, don’t let energy headaches ruin an otherwise perfect power plan. Put artificial intelligence to work and get the unmatched accuracy, granularity and analytics of Verdigris.

To learn more about how Verdigris can make your life easier and save you money, contact us as solutions@verdigris.co.