Open-access content Tuesday 4th June 2013
With managing energy costs a top priority, FMs are turning to systems such as JouleX to help them to control IP-connected devices, including HVAC and IT systems.
4 June 2013
You only need consider the amount of energy consumed in a typical office to realise the impact that addressing energy consumption can have - both on your carbon emissions and your bottom line.
This can be a challenge for teams tasked with managing and reducing an estate's energy consumption. Increasingly, companies have found that relying on behavioural change among employees is not enough. Educating people to power down electrical items when they are not using them is difficult, as the typically busy working environment means that employees often simply forget to switch equipment off.
However, NG Bailey is working with JouleX, an energy management software company, to deliver an energy management solution that addresses this problem. The system creates a central control mechanism, allowing a business to monitor, analyse and control all IP-connected devices on the network and power them down when they are not in use.
IP-based energy management is beneficial as it enables companies to gain a detailed view of energy consumption for every IT device on their network, including computers, laptops and phones. It also controls heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), lighting, video and access control systems that are linked to smart power distribution units (PDUs).
The energy management system provides detailed visibility into plug load and automated power management for data centres or distributed office environments and facilities.
Subsequently, facilities managers can use the solution to automatically manage and reduce power consumption for these devices and systems. As well as saving time and money, it can help to meet sustainability requirements. This offering has helped businesses deliver energy cost savings of up to 60 per cent.
How does it work?
ICT devices in a typical office consume about a quarter of a building's energy and are largely left unmanaged because of a lack of available detail and central control.
JouleX is compatible with many networking company solutions, such as Cisco, HP and Juniper. Cisco's protocol, EnergyWise, for example, is a programme that identifies all of the devices that are plugged into the switches and the switches' ports.
It is able to automatically find all devices in the system so they can be measured and managed. The system takes this information and displays how much power each device is consuming, reporting the savings in terms of costs, carbon and energy.
It uses network-based, 'agentless' technology, which is designed to reduce installation time and cuts out maintenance as it automatically updates via the web. It incorporates a built-in database to collect energy information, and a browser-based management console for configuration, operation and reporting.
By talking directly to the active directory, the system can see where every PC device is installed on the network. It can also talk to the SNMP (simple network management protocol) to manage all other devices on the network.
An organisation can choose dedicated administrators to monitor the organisation's energy usage and set-up appropriate policies. An example of a policy might be turning off all telephones overnight, or powering down someone's computer when it's been inactive for an hour or more. Once the policies are set, the system will action them automatically.
A key advantage of the solution is that a business can use JouleX to support sustainable procurement practices. It will identify those devices using the most energy so a business can then decide where it needs to upgrade to more power-efficient models to cut costs further.
All this information is displayed in the real-time dashboard, showing the energy consumption and utilisation of any device on the network. It's so granular that it will even advise how many devices are being controlled and how much money and energy is being saved through each individual policy that's been set up.
JouleX creates a single repository of data that allows for centralised and localised reporting for up to one million devices. It produces management information through a range of reports, which can be scheduled to send automatically in six languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese.
These reports can be used right across a business to inform and direct policy as well as to influence the behaviour of building occupants. Each report has a range of embedded charts, from energy geomaps to server resource charts. These can be exported to external websites, corporate intranets and sustainability leader boards, enabling a business to share real-time progress against corporate sustainability targets with both customers and employees.
Users are also able to define energy thresholds based on power, utilisation, temperature and other indicators. The system will then automatically send email notifications to alert the administrator or department if an energy source's behaviour changes beyond what is desired. This means any issues can be remedied as soon as they appear.
Through real-time monitoring and management, systems such as JouleX offer greater control
of energy usage. This is increasingly important for FMs looking to cut costs, and support company CSR policies.
Indi Sall, technical director, NG Bailey