Commercial Energy Management Trends
In the business world, it’s essential to manage your energy consumption carefully so you can streamline your budget and implement sustainable practices. Staying informed about commercial energy management trends and taking advantage of available data can help you do so.
The Importance of Commercial Energy Management
Why is it so important for businesses to control their energy consumption carefully? Commercial energy management is vital for a few different reasons:
- Cost savings: Excessive energy consumption means wasted money. If your business blasts the heat after hours or keeps lights on in empty rooms, you’re spending money on your utility bills that you could be saving or using for more urgent matters. Reducing your energy expenditures helps you prioritize your spending and make investments that will grow your business.
- Maintenance reduction: Proper energy management can also help you reduce your maintenance needs. If you analyze your facility needs and run your equipment lights and HVAC system only when you need to, you’ll minimize wear and tear on these systems. They’ll require less frequent repairs and extend their lifespans, and you’ll save on maintenance and replacement costs.
- Environmental impact: Correct commercial energy management helps you reduce your facility’s effects on the environment. When your building uses less energy, it requires less fuel and releases fewer pollutants into the atmosphere. Burning less fuel also produces fewer carbon emissions, so you’ll feel good about keeping greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere and doing your part to curb the rate of climate change.
- Comfort and satisfaction: Proper energy management can make your employees happier at work and your clients more comfortable doing business in your facility. A sophisticated energy management system can supply precise heating and cooling levels, so you won’t have the air conditioner blasting on a mild fall day or the heat cranked up during the warm spring. These systems can also modulate light levels to suit particular tasks, ease eyestrain and create a relaxed and focused atmosphere.
Recent Commercial Energy Trends
What are some current trends in commercial energy consumption? Recently, commercial energy has begun trending toward green concepts and sustainable energy solutions:
1. Improved Energy Efficiency
Boosting energy efficiency often means streamlining processes to gain maximum performance without making increased energy demands. It also means using equipment and fixtures that provide more functionality while drawing less power. Upgrading aging infrastructure like HVAC and lighting systems and investing in equipment designed for high efficiency can help companies meet their improvement goals. Typical energy-efficient equipment can reduce a building’s energy bill by 5% to 10%, and extremely efficient ENERGY STAR equipment can save businesses up to 75% compared with traditional products.
2. Increased Energy Conservation
Businesses are focusing more and more on conserving energy as well. Classic strategies like turning off lights and turning down the heat are still helpful, and many companies have been bolstering those techniques by incorporating smart technology, which can perform those functions automatically to conserve energy when it is not needed. Energy conservation measures like improving insulation and installing plumbing fixtures that use less water also aid in conservation efforts.
3. Increased Renewable Energy Consumption
Beyond improving energy efficiency and boosting energy conservation efforts, many companies are also looking for ways to consume cleaner, more renewable energy. Renewable energy is ideal for eco-conscious businesses because it reduces reliance on fossil fuels and promotes sustainable, eco-friendly alternatives.
Corporate commitment increasing consumption of solar, wind, hydroelectric and natural gas energy has boosted output in these sectors. In 2019, renewable energy overtook coal-fired plants’ energy in its share of the U.S. market for the first time. Energy storage in batteries has also become more popular as the price of storage batteries declined.
4. Increased Distributed Energy Resources
Distributed energy resources (DER) technology uses local, small-scale power generation and storage capacities to supplement or provide alternatives to traditional grid energy. Photovoltaic cells and wind turbines often make up part of DER strategies. So do options like combined heat power (CHP), fuel cells, hybrid power options, microturbines and Stirling engines, which have been around for two centuries and are now increasingly popular for harnessing renewable energy. Companies that invest in DER tend to use a combination of these technologies to supply or supplement their power.
5. Diminished Energy Use With Teleworking
Many businesses have abruptly found their energy expenditures lowered because more employees are working from home. Teleworking numbers had been rising slowly over the past several years — between 2% and 3% from 2005 to 2015 — and the recent advent of the novel coronavirus meant that some businesses shut down. Other companies that could do so sent their staff members to work safely from home.
These COVID-19 precautions resulted in decreased demands on electrical grids and led to scenarios of low coal-fired plant use and high renewable use. Germany, for instance, saw several days in which the market share of renewables was more than 70%.
Effects of These Trends on Utility Rates
How do the trends noted above affect utility rates?
As energy efficiency increases and businesses turn to alternative power sources, traditional grid usage declines. When grid usage drops, traditional pricing models result in decreasing revenues for electric companies.
In response to these trends, utility providers may change their rates often to meet fluctuating demand. They may also rely on critical peak pricing to increase their revenues during particularly high demand, such as scorching summer afternoons.
How Using a Rate Provider Can Help
Using a rate provider helps your business access a wealth of utility rate data. A rate provider gives you data from across the country, and you can have that data at your fingertips without spending the time and energy to do your own exhaustive research. Though finding extensive utility information on your own is possible, logistical challenges make it difficult at a fast-paced company.
And because of frequent rate fluctuations and incredibly complex rate schedules, the accuracy of the rates received through a rate provider will likely be much higher.
Your business can use the utility rates from a rate provider in a couple of different ways. You can look through the data manually and use the provided rates to inform your energy practices. Or you can use the provider’s application programming interface (API) to download the data to your systems for analysis.
Contact RateAcuity to Access National Electricity Rate Data
To see the benefits of using a rate provider to enhance your energy management plans, partner with RateAcuity. Our experienced teams of experts mean we can provide your company with the highest-quality commercial utility cost data. We pride ourselves on prioritizing customer needs, so you’ll get the professional service and quick responses necessary to keep your business running smoothly.
When you work through our energy rate database, you’ll save money and time by not having to search out the information you need about current commercial utility rates. You can use our convenient web portal for your own research or use an API to download utility rate data directly into your software.
Contact us today to learn more.