Part 2: Retailers Say Energy Management Systems Need To Take Disparity Between Facilities Into Account
Retailers Say Energy Management Systems Need To Take Disparity Between Facilities Into Account
By Naomi Millán, Senior Editor September 2013 - Energy Efficiency
Likewise, a homogenous energy management system is a good idea if it's being deployed in a blank slate portfolio, but ripping out disparate existing energy management systems for the sake of uniformity wasn't going to make sense for Westfield. The shopping center operator grew its U.S. portfolio of 47 centers mainly through acquisition, so nothing was even remotely standardized. "We desired to have a consistent approach to managing our centers and minimizing our energy use," says Joe Jaworski, vice president of national operations at Westfield. "We decided it was probably easier to create our own enterprise energy management system that would sit on top of the existing building management systems that were in various centers as opposed to reengineering each our of centers individually over time to get to that consistent platform."
The rollout of the proprietary energy management system began in 2010, and having 70,000 data points now visible to his team and centrally controllable has obvious advantages. But Jaworski says one additional benefit is that it created a standard. Each of his facility managers now looks at exactly the same screen, which creates flexibility in moving staff from one center to the next.
Energy management strategies are still a bit of a new frontier for many retailers. With more and more energy management systems available and more and more functionality possible on those systems, it's important for facility managers in retail to go into an energy management initiative knowing what they want. "Fully design it before you implement it," Jaworski says. "What do you want it to accomplish, what do you want it to look like, what do you want it to measure?"
If cost savings are a primary driver behind the energy management initiative, then garnering the best possible ROI for the investment will be important. "There's a sort of race to the top in building controls where there's always some new, cool component that you can buy," says Teichman. "But what is it that you really need to get the job done?" The more bloated the energy management system becomes with non-essential components, the worse the payback will be, he says. "We spent a long time boiling down our box that we install at the site to the bare basics of what we need."