Property Technology March 15, 2018

How Peak Controls Help Anticipate Energy Costs

Energy usage is growing across the EU as climate fluctuation increases, leading tenants to demand greater levels of heating and cooling. Currently buildings stands for about 40% of the total energy consumption in Europe. District heating alone constitutes 9% of that energy use.

District energy consumption is one cost that has earned a reputation for its unpredictability. Increasingly, many energy companies are changing their tariff models charging extra fees for fluctuations in energy use.

How well property owners plan for annual building costs each year can determine the sustainability and financial success of their property management. Cost predictability is necessary for budgeting and planning. If owners have more control and can better anticipate energy efficiencies and costs, they can save money and provide their tenants with a more consistent and comfortable environment. Without an ability to monitor, predict, and put measures in place to stabilize use or manage fluctuations, they are at risk of significant costs for which they may not be prepared.

Understanding Energy Fluctuation

In its simplest sense, energy fluctuation is the spike in heat usage on a very cold day. When that happens, energy companies often rely on reserve energy to meet the changing needs of residents. The problem is that starting up and producing more reserve energy not only is expensive; it is linked to unnecessary CO2 emissions. Furthermore, these spikes in energy use are something that limits the energy companies infrastructure and their ability to provide heat for their customers.

Put together climate change, energy use fluctuations, energy company fees, and the need of reserves – what you get is a tremendous challenge for district owners striving to maintain basic heat loads without tapping into reserve energy sources and to sustain low costs and CO2 emissions.

The Solution – Peak Control

Different Energy companies use different tariff models to calculate customer costs increasingly by measuring peak heat loads. They calculate fees based on the peak loads, which usually occurs during the coldest days of the year. That means a few isolated days with cold temperatures spread out over the heating season could change your energy costs drastically due to spikes in heat usage. If your heat usage is relatively low for the rest of the cold season, you will still pay drastically higher fees the following year. This means energy efficiency alone won’t reduce the heating cost as much as it used to.

It’s not hard to see how these new tariff models can create economic uncertainty. Basing peak heat load fees on fluctuating energy use can end up totaling half of your total heating cost. Peak controls can solve the problem. Egain’s proactive peak control keeps heat peak loads low by using aggregated usage data to calculate energy consumption in advance and to balance it out over time.

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