For decades energy management remained far down on the list of priorities for many organisations. However, rising energy prices mean energy waste is an issue that can no longer be ignored. After employees and property, energy is the single greatest cost to a company. Whether the shift in focus has been driven by the introduction of new government legislation, a commitment to reducing the carbon footprint or the need to reduce costs, now more than ever expert guidance is sought after to achieve these goals.

Now of course in an ideal world any organisation wants to get the greatest outcome with the smallest input, in other words 'I want to save as much as I can by spending as little as possible'. Whilst this may sound nigh on impossible, there are techniques available that may turn that into a reality. One such method in the energy industry is the introduction of Monitoring & Targeting (M&T) programmers, which have been widely applied globally across public sector, commercial and industrial facilities.

So, what exactly is Monitoring & Targeting? Simply put, energy monitoring and targeting is the collection, interpretation and reporting of energy use. The role of this service within energy management is to not just measure the performance of a site and/or portfolio, but to also identify potential opportunities for reducing energy cost and consumption.

M&T can be broken down into the following four stages:

1. Data Collection - The first step is to ensure the building has a reliable metering system. Whereby the utility meters have AMR, which will allow for half-hourly data to be collected from the main meters within a building. This is essential as it enables an accurate and in-depth energy consumption analysis. As the saying goes: “You can’t manage what you can’t see”

2. Data Analysis – This can be separated into two types: routine and investigative. The routine type of analysis consists of the development of KPIs based on the ratio between energy consumption and specific drivers i.e. kWh/m², comparison of energy performance against standardized benchmarks e.g. degree day normalization, kWh per full time employee. Investigative analysis consists of methods such as linear regression to determine the relationship between performance and energy driver. CUSUM analysis is also a popular technique, whereby the cumulative variances against a target over time are calculated.

3. Energy Reporting – Presenting the data is an important part of the monitoring and targeting process. By compiling a suite of energy reports and dashboards, it encourages on-going energy monitoring within the business. The information should be presented in an easy to understand and engaging format. Such reports can then be used to help set targets, identify areas of energy waste and highlight potential energy saving opportunities.

4. Action - It is imperative that the information is presented to relevant stakeholders who can make effective use of the reports generated by the M&T system. Those responsible for the organisations energy use can then liaise with specialists to action the saving opportunities identified.

SMS has a history of delivering Monitoring & Targeting services that pinpoint energy waste across various portfolio types and sizes enabling energy managers to achieve significant savings often through low to no cost measures. Through M&T, SMS aims to turn the somewhat impossible into an ‘achievable reality’.