Analysis from Verdantix, an independent analyst focused on energy, environment and sustainability issues for business, shows that the market for carbon and energy management software in the United States will grow to $558 million by 2014.
“An ecosystem of software and service firms are projected to benefit from this growth,” said David Davidson, business development and strategic alliances manager at Eaton Corp., Cleveland.
In addition, a broad-spectrum survey by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories (LBNL) five years ago found only 10 companies able to participate in the intelligent energy management analytics market. LBNL reissued the survey this year and found more than 100 companies that are active in the energy management analytics market, said Ron Chapek, senior product manger for Novar, a division of Honeywell, Cleveland.
“This indicates that, in a broad sense, the market has matured and is growing,” Chapek said.
As such, the inclusion of analytics into energy management equipment may be an important development for electrical contractors (ECs).
According to Chapek, energy manage-ment analytics is a broad term that encompasses the database and communications.
“Energy management analytics does not exist without data. It’s easy for providers to overstate the ability to extract data from meters or the building automation system, and many end-users assume the process is easy and the data are accurate,” he said.
Therefore, software and energy management analytics providers are addressing those issues and starting to provide upfront services that analyze the data to ensure it is usable. End-users are demanding providers and installers with the expertise to handle multiple communication standards and to move the data extracted from various control systems of various ages.
“Most end-users want intelligent analytics functions to efficiently and effectively model energy usage, so they can easily determine what actions to take to improve efficiency and for that workflow to be automated and easily shared,” he said.
The migration of the energy management analytics market toward open architecture communication will help end-users reach the goal of easily and automatically sharing usage information.
“Systems have been kept in silos for a long time, but open systems are finally winning the battle as the growth of energy management and analytics is compelling business owners and operators to demand to see how occupancy, HVAC, maintenance, lighting and more can be optimized for maximum comfort and minimum cost,” said Michael Franco, co-founder of Current Analytics Inc., Santa Barbara, Calif.
Traditionally, building automation systems were not intended to provide a holistic view of building performance but were designed to provide insight into individual aspects of a facility. However, now, according to Davidson, performance-based dashboards are providing the tools and energy knowledge necessary to help building owners meet energy efficiency and sustainability goals.
“Energy management analytics, combined with energy services, are helping organizations meet evolving requirements for sustainability and reach new levels of efficiency while reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.
To implement analytics software for an electrical power network, a model must first be built, real-time data collected and simulations performed based on a comparison of the predictive model, said John Jennings, director of product management for Power Analytics Corp., San Diego.
What contractors need to know
“Contractors need to adapt quickly to the wider information-on-demand culture,” Chapek said.
Customers expect EC field personnel to have energy management knowledge that enables them to apply solutions immediately, based on the usage data supplied by the metering system. They also expect them to download specific information, analyze it and solve problems.
With the increased intelligence found in analytics software and more ways to improve efficiency, electrical contractors have more opportunities than ever to support consultants and optimize building systems.
“Electrical contractors need to know that they can play a critical role in bringing their services and solutions to bear and that they can provide a broad and deep array of expertise,” Davidson said.
Of course, contractors already know they have the high- and low-voltage system installation and metering and submetering skills necessary for the energy management market. So, what might be less obvious, and what can set an EC apart? Franco said that, since energy analytics is now integrated into so many systems, an EC that complements its depth of electrical expertise with knowledge in related systems, such as HVAC, sensors, refrigeration, lighting control, etc., will be optimally positioned to be the primary feet on the ground for installing energy management systems.
BREMER, a freelance writer based in Solomons, Md., contributes frequently to ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR. She can be reached at 410.394.6966 and email@example.com.