Steady improvements have been made to basic energy management systems over the past decade. When building owners of individual buildings need to create and set lighting schedules they can get by with rather simple lighting presets for on/off in various areas. However, for those who manage hundreds or even thousands of buildings or stores scattered across the country, management gets significantly more complicated really quickly.
Before we get into the solution, let’s examine the problem in a bit more detail. First, when we talk about enterprise control, bear in mind that we are typically describing a portfolio of thousands of stores (think 5,000 or more) all being controlled and monitored as one. For the most part, these stores might all open and close at the same time every day, but in reality even that is complicated. Stores reside in different time zones and may have different hours of operation based on number of factors. You could remotely connect to each of those stores and manually program a schedule that would turn lights on and off with a reasonable amount of accuracy. However, what happens when schedules need to change and you need to program a new control strategy? It would be cost-prohibitive to send a technician to each store. Here is how enterprise management command & control can help:
1) Complex Scheduling – Simplified
By designing a store lighting strategy, energy managers can use logical groupings of stores in similar regions with similar requirements. This program will remotely manage all of those stores lighting schedules without any local intervention. For instance, as the season changes in the northeast and the sun sets earlier, all of the stores in the “Northeast” group can turn their exterior lights on earlier. Similarly, you can have groups of stores that have seasonal displays (think Halloween), where you can use lighting design to change color schemes of programmable lights for certain periods of time. Changes can be made centrally and simply and individual locations still have the ability to override certain lights to make sure they can operate effectively.
2) Intelligent Execution
Even the best laid lighting plans can go awry. Consider a situation where you centrally “push” a new schedule to a group of stores but some or more of them are not communicating on the store network? A thoughtful and powerful energy management system can ensure that the program is successfully implemented in all of the stores that are available and retry to implement the schedule after pre-defined intervals. If there are stores where the program cannot be implemented, a notification is created on the system to notify energy managers and others with relevant details on the stores.
3) Detailed reporting
Beyond providing massive amounts of labor savings in managing lighting schedules, enterprise command and control for lighting is designed to save energy. The Enterprise EMS will not only implement the schedules in an intuitive software interface, but it will give energy managers the ability to determine precisely how much energy they are saving across their portfolio of stores. This reporting allows them to isolate “problem” stores – where staff may be overriding schedules frequently, to those that are using far more energy due to improper equipment or other system defect.