Survey results released today by MACH Energy indicate that while facility management professionals are increasingly implementing energy management systems (EMS), the market remains in a potentially high-growth stage.
Of the 800 survey respondents, 44% indicated they have an EMS in place to measure and reduce energy consumption. However, of these respondents, almost 70% listed a building management system (BMS) versus standalone EMS; this highlights another finding—confusion in the marketplace between EMS and BMS.
Formed in 2001, MACH Energy is a provider of cloud based energy management software. In this survey, the 2015 Industry Survey of Building Management Professionals, MACH gathered responses from facility professionals encompassing all major metropolitan areas and individuals throughout the U.S. The survey targeted segments with buildings of mostly over 50,000 square feet, of the following verticals: commercial multi- and single-tenant office; corporate facilities; hotels and hospitality environments; government, including municipal, federal, as well as military; retail; and residential (managed properties).
The survey report states, “Given the vast nature of energy consumption in this particular sector, there has been a gradual increase also of public awareness of energy efficiency, as well as the potential savings associated with reduced consumption. In Ecova’s comparative industry survey of adoption of Energy Management Systems (EMS) in commercial buildings, it was determined that there has been a 23% increase in adoption rate of such systems from 2013 to 2015.” The Ecova 2015 Value of EMS Survey was conducted in early 2015.
To delve deeper into facility decision makers’ view on EMS, with its survey MACH set out to determine:
- Individual goals in implementing EMS—Is there a clear trend towards sustainability, or is reducing costs the highest priority?
- Which factors are most important to each individual in operating their facilities (e.g. benchmarking requirements, ENERGY STAR score, tenant comfort)?
- How important is the energy management software, or if installed already, which particular features and tactics were the most useful?
Two primary conclusions of the MACH survey are: these building professionals primarily implement EMS to achieve cost and expense reduction; and there is marketplace confusion.
Cost and Expense Reduction: MACH summarized that cost reduction is still the most important goal in implementing energy management programs, followed by energy efficiency reasons and increasing ease and flexibility for job purposes.
Marketplace Confusion: MACH notes that an issue muddying the waters is the fact that most surveyed respondents tended to confuse categorical definitions, correlating energy management software (technology that delivers analytics—real time or otherwise, budget, and reporting functions) with building management systems, which integrate and control equipment such as building HVAC systems, VAV boxes, chillers and lighting.
For instance, 44% of the respondents indicated they had energy management software in place to measure and reduce energy consumption. However, of these respondents, almost 70% of them listed building management systems versus standalone energy management software.
Survey respondents who had systems (whether BMS or EMS) implemented already described real-time monitoring as the most important benefit to them. This was followed by cost reduction in lower energy usage.
Respondents also indicated that they enjoyed easier fulfillment of reporting requirements, as well as variance and budget reporting, ENERGY STAR score increases and ease in measurement and verification (M&V). The remaining categories included tenant billing and sub-metering improvements, and also the monitoring electricity, water, gas and steam. 2% listed “other” as a response.
Room For Improvement
Nearly all respondents who have currently implemented EMS cited room for improvement. Nearly a quarter (21%) of those surveyed cited the lack of automated tenant billing or sub-metering capabilities. Respondents also indicated that non-multi utility support (electricity/water/gas/ steam) as a reason, followed by the inability to provide expense and dollar impact reporting are the second and third most common dissatisfactions.
Approximately 20% of respondents chose “other”, listing prohibitive cost followed by the lack of easy configurations and access across their building portfolios. MACH notes that because of the confusion in categorical definition (EMS vs. BMS), responses to this question might be skewed.