Energy Efficiency - Remote Monitoring

What is Remote Monitoring?

Remote Monitoring (or M2M solutions, as they are also known as) are ones that optimize devices /processes without human intervention. In particular, Remote Monitoring systems, collects and analyses systems that reduces energy and water consumption, improves efficiencies and lowers waste.

What are the components of a Remote Monitoring system?

Remote Monitoring systems consist of three sub-systems:

  • Smart Meters which measure energy parameters (lighting loads, HVAC loads, motor loads, critical equipment loads).
  • Communication Platform (a hardware platform that is typically a proprietary device of your solution provider collects data from the smart sensors, stores and forwards the data to a central server). The communication with the central server is on standard communication protocols: GPRS, Ethernet, TCP/IP. This means that existing communication platforms such as landline, mobile and LAN networks can be used.
  • Software Solution. The data is stored on the central server, analysed and presented to the user. The software solution – is almost always – available as a hosted solution and is available to end users on a subscription basis (Software-as-a-Service)
What are the applications of Remote Monitoring systems?

The main applications of Remote Monitoring Systems are:

  • Equipment monitoring
  • HVAC system monitoring
  • Energy and water monitoring

Remote monitoring has several applications over utilities, industries, commercial buildings and service industries.

What are the main benefits of installing Remote Monitoring systems?

There are multiple benefits of installing Remote Monitoring systems. Most obviously, it leads to saving in electricity costs as it helps collect data and make data available in an intelligent fashion based on which management actions can be taken. However, there are numerous other benefits of installing these systems which are less quantifiable but equally important. Some of them are:

  • Ease of oversight on process control by having alerts on process variables behind threshold value.
  • Ease of oversight on the operation and safety of key utilities (such as DG sets, HVAC systems) and key areas (such as data centers) by automating alerts of key variables.
  • Control of key equipment performance (such as DG set efficiency) by the capture and analysis of historical data.
  • Management of SLAs with vendors based on equipment performance analysis.
  • Management of maintenance of critical equipment based on alerts and actual performance analysis.
  • Central Management of a number of installations/sites/offices.
What are the key cost benefits of installing Remote Monitoring systems?

The key benefit of remote monitoring systems is based on the saving of energy and/or water. The costs of remote monitoring systems are a) one-time cost of the hardware, the installation and the wiring to collect the data b) the costs on a subscription basis to the Hosted solution.

The cost of the former is driven largely by the size of the installation and the cost of the latter is driven by the number of installations.

Like in all our cost benefit examples, the data shown is collected from vendor sources or customer case studies. The results are indicative and will depend on specific equipment and operating conditions.

Type of Installation Office Building
Technical Features 15 minute pick up, LAN/WAN connections
Size (sq. feet) 15,000 sq. feet
Capital Expenditure Rs. 600,000
Operating Expenditure Rs. 4000 per month
Original Electricity Bill Rs. 17,50,000 per year
Electricity Bill savings 15%
Payback 2.65 years

As a potential customer, what are some of the questions that I should be asking?

Q. Does the installation disturb my operating schedules?

For commercial buildings (like offices) installation of the sensors and hardware starts on Friday evening and is typically completed by Monday morning to ensure that operations are not disturbed. For other commercial buildings, timings can be chosen during downtime (nighttimes or low occupancy seasons for instance). For industrial installations, the installation can be executed during times of shut down.

For space and time constrained, wireless installations can also be used.

Q. Does remote monitoring work with my Building Management System?

Most remote monitoring systems integrate with industry standard Building Management Systems. In cases where a Building Management System has already been installed the number of sensors (and therefore the cost of hardware) can go down. Remote Monitoring Systems work very well in managing multiple installations and locations and adding control and monitoring functionality to the Building Management System.

Q. How secure will be my data when transmitted and stored in a central shared server?

Your solution provider would have taken all adequate provisions applicable to a SaaS environment: security of communication, authorization security and adequate provisioning at the database level.

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