In our July 11 blog post, "What Exactly is Enterprise Energy Management Software," we shared our working definition of Enterprise Energy Management Software (EEMS). This definition has been evolving over the years and was refined during our research for our recent report, 2013 Enterprise Smart Grid and a Corporate Buyers' Guide to Energy Management Software. We received lots of feedback but nothing that warranted a material change.
The working Groom Energy's Definition of Enterprising Energy Management Software is as follows:
An EEMS is a corporate-level tool that
- meets the need of senior management (especially the CFO) to achieve stated energy improvement goals (often expressed as energy intensity measures)
- is an essential tool to drive a culture of viewing energy as a variable and controllable expense rather than an uncontrollable, fixed one for all departments
- provides P&L and budget owners with clear visibility into past, current and expected energy use and cost
- "foots" with or tie-backs to the actual utility bills; that is, an EEMS is the source of record for both energy use and cost
- tracks energy reduction projects and expected benefits to assist with capital budgeting and energy goal achievement
- calculates scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions
- provide insights from interval data (energy use data from main utility meter and sub-metering of top loads) at local sites, normalized for weather and other factors, for behavior changes in operations and identification of energy use anomalies
- easily enables internal (historical and cross facility) and external benchmarking
- supports the energy governance model of the company (e.g. Plan-Do-Act-Check, ISO 50001, etc.)
- supports the maintenance team and budgets (including optional links to CCMS/asset management software)
- optionally, provide energy cost allocation by customers/tenants or by product
We received plenty of feedback. In general, corporate energy managers and facility managers agreed with our definition, but all recognized that the term "energy management software" is loosely defined and company-specific. A number of readers noted that in their organization the focus is on occupancy comfort (for office workers, hotel guests, shoppers or movie theater attendees) or product output and not on the optimization of energy efficiency KPIs. In such situations, "enterprise" energy management is a multiple-site need for technology that optimizes these operational metrics and that does not need to tie back to the monthly utility bills.
The responses from vendors, not surprisingly, were thoughtful and spirited. The term "enterprise" seems to suggest higher value and prices and thus many vendors strive for this term. We had two spirited conversations with vendors whose solutions are only based on interval data, and while we agree that these solutions drive value to organization, we do not agree that they are sufficient to delight the CFO.
Overall, we found broad agreement with our working definition and did not find need to make material changes to it at this point.
So, what does this mean for corporate energy managers? We believe our definition of EEMS is a good starting point for you as you prioritize your business needs and then look for energy management software that supports this.
Let's keep the conversation going.