Energy Management Systems – A Complete Guide

An Energy Management System (EMS) is a set of tools that allow manufacturers to monitor, measure, analyse & control the consumption of energy within their machines, processes, or across the entirety of their site.  

Manufacturers use EMS (sometimes referred to as “BEMS”, or Building Energy Management Systems“) to find ways to reduce their overall energy use, or to reduce the energy usage in specific bays or machines.

Energy Management Systems help manufacturers find the most productive, least energy-intensive ways to optimise output.

An EMS can also help manufacturers win more business through more competitive pricing. Energy Management Systems help manufacturers predict their energy needs for different manufacturing processes and outputs – which helps manufacturers reliably predict the energy costs for the outputs. This, in turn, can help manufacturers offer lower pricing to their end customers.

In this article, you will learn: 

  1. Energy Analytics – Methods for Analysing Energy Consumption 

  1. Energy Analytics – Metrics & KPIs 

  1. EMS Overview – Approaches & Technologies in Energy Management Systems 

  1. ROI of Energy Management Systems   

  1. EMS and ISO 50001 

To understand how an Energy Management System factors into a comprehensive energy strategy, see Energy Efficiency in Manufacturing: A Complete Guide

Energy Analytics: Methods for Analysing Energy Consumption 

There are different ways to analyse and understand energy usage in manufacturing. Below is a list of common ways that manufacturers analyse energy usage.  

These terms and their definitions may seem rudimentary, but using precise terms can help ensure your team communicates effectively.  

Methods of analysing energy consumption in manufacturing:  

  • Recording: Measuring and recording energy consumption  
  • Analysing: Correlating energy usage to a measured output, such as production quantity  
  • Comparing: Checking energy consumption against standards or benchmarks  
  • Setting Targets: Developing target goals for reduction or consumption of energy  
  • Monitoring: Comparing energy consumption to targets on a regular basis  
  • Reporting: Logging results, including consumption levels, variances from targets etc.  
  • Controlling: Using management measures to correct for variances  

Energy Analytics: KPIs & Metrics 

Below we discuss the most common types of energy efficiency KPIs and metrics. 

Using precise terminology can help communication within your teams, as well as with third-party auditors. 

Energy Usage 

Energy usage is the most basic form of energy analytics. It refers to the tracking of total energy consumption. Usage KPIs record the total amount of energy consumed in a machine or process.  

Usage KPIs come in the form of energy measurement units such as kilowatt hours, BTUs or joules.   

Manufacturers look to energy usage KPIs to understand the total usage over a period of time for an individual machine, a process, or the entire manufacturing operation. 

Energy Efficiency 

Efficiency measures the total amount of energy used in relation to another metric, such as time or production units.  

Manufacturers use energy efficiency metrics to benchmark energy usage of machines, processes or the entire factory floor. You can use these benchmarks to monitor ongoing operations to ensure that energy consumption is at expected levels.   

However – there are different Energy Efficiency Metrics for different situations.  

Here are some examples of different Energy Efficiency metrics:  

Energy intensity 

Measures the overall energy use of an organisation, factory, or process relative to a specific metric, such as the total production output (e.g. kWh/unit produced) or the production space (e.g. kWh/m2). Note that this is not specific as it is total energy relative to another total metric, such as units.   

Specific energy consumption 

Measures how much energy is consumed per unit of production or a specific activity (e.g. KWh/unit produced). Note that this differs from energy intensity in that it is the specific energy used for that particular unit or activity.   

Unproductive downtime energy usage 

This is the energy used by assets when they were in an unproductive state (e.g. kWh over a selected period).  

Equipment or cell energy usage 

This is the energy used by an individual or group of assets (e.g. kWh for Moulding Cell over a selected period).  

Shift energy usage 

The energy used by the factory, cell or machine over the course of a shift (e.g. kWh used in day shift).  

These energy efficiency KPIs can then be converted to cost metrics to gain a clear picture of the impact to your bottom line.  


Machine Power Differences 

How is it possible to identify if a machine is operating in an abnormal way? One effective method is to understand the normal operating conditions of the machine and identify when it is working outside of these.  

This is where recording, monitoring and analysing machine power comes in. When a machine is executing a given task, it produces a unique electronic blueprint that represents the action taken. From this blueprint, you can establish normal operating power parameters that are agreed by your machine maintenance team.   

With a historical electronic blueprint, an EMS can help you identify and alert you to machines that are operating outside normal parameters. This can help you make an early intervention, before problems develop. 

EMS Overview – Approaches & Technologies in Energy Management Systems 

Energy Management Systems have been an integral part of manufacturing operations for decades. The reason for the prevalence of EMS within manufacturing is simple. Energy is an essential ingredient in manufacturing, and manufacturers seek to manage the deployment of this expensive resource to control costs and drive profits. 

Due to the prevalence of a need for energy management in manufacturing, the makers of Energy Management Systems have taken different approaches to devising their monitoring systems. 

In general, there are 3 main ways in which Energy Management Systems differ: 

  1. Integration of EMS Systems: Direct vs. Non-Invasive 
  2. Granularity of energy monitoring capabilities 
  3. Technologies used in Energy Management Systems 

    We will discuss each of these in turn here. 

    Integration of EMS Systems: Direct vs. Non-Invasive  

    The purpose of an Energy Management System is to measure the energy draws of an entire manufacturing operation, as well as different components of that operation. 

    Traditionally, Energy Management Systems monitored energy through direct integrations into electricity cabinets as well as directly into different machines on a shop floor. 

    Certainly, direct integration is an effective way to measure energy draws.  

    The downside of direct integration is that it requires disruption and manipulation of pre-fabricated components of electricity cabinets and machines. 

    An alternative to direct integration is indirect monitoring. Providers such as Mavarick AI have developed methods of indirectly monitoring the electrical draws of cabinets and machines that have proven to be just as reliable and accurate as direct integration

    A benefit of indirect monitoring, such as used in Mavarick’s EMS, is that this method is non-invasive. 

    Non-invasive energy monitoring systems help protect the function and warranties of pre-fabricated electrical cabinets and on manufacturing machines.  

    The protection of the integrity and warranty of machines is especially vital within heavily-regulated industries such as Pharmaceutical and Medical Device manufacturing.  

    Granularity of Monitoring in Energy Management Systems 

    Another area in which Energy Monitoring Systems differ is in the granularity of monitoring they offer. 

    Some EMS only monitor the total direct draw of an entire building. Others are able to provide insights into the energy draws of different bays or machines. 

    Other Energy Monitoring Systems, such as Maverick’s, are able to provide granularity down to sub-asset levels, providing insights into energy draws of different processes within a single machine. 

    This can be vital for understanding the function and energy usage of machines such as injection moulding machines, which have separate processes for pumps, coolers and air-flow systems within a single machine. 

    An advantage of granularity down to the sub-asset level is the accuracy with which manufacturers can estimate costs for jobs. Sharper accuracy in cost estimations can help manufacturers offer lower prices to their end customers.  

    For more on how to leverage an Energy Management System to drive cost and pricing estimates, and to drive profitability in manufacturing, see How to use an Energy Management System to Drive Savings & Profits. 

    Some EMS monitor individual machines. Mavarick's EMS monitors down to the sub-asset level

    Technologies used in Energy Management Systems 

    Technology is constantly evolving.  

    Energy Management Systems integrate new technologies as they become available, depending on the extent to which each new technology impacts the quality and value that an EMS can provide. 

    Recently, two technological advances in particular have impacted the value of the measurements that an EMS can provide: 

    • Internet of Things 
    • Artificial Intelligence

    Internet of Things 

    Internet of Things or “IoT” describes the ability to integrate internet connectivity directly within devices. 

    IoT integration allows for the transfer of information between devices. Typically, people think of internet integration as an aspect of communications devices such as phones and computers. IoT allows for internet connectivity integration into devices such as refrigerators, doorbells and lights. 

    Connecting non-traditional devices such as refrigerators, doorbells and lights through IoT allows for the passing of information from the devices to central systems that can relay information to people’s phones and computers. This gives rise to refrigerators that provide direct video displays of contents, so that you can see what your refrigerator lacks when you’re shopping in a store. IoT also provides the ability for people to check their phones to see who is at their front door. 

    Some Energy Management Systems, such as Mavarick’s, leverage IoT connectivity to transfer information about energy usage of machines and sub-assets to the central EMS. 

    The usage of IoT within EMS allows for the transmission of dense information from the points where energy is being monitored to the central processing system where energy usage insights are presented. With IoT, an EMS can present highly accurate and nuanced insights in realtime. 

    Artificial Intelligence 

    Artificial Intelligence can be used in Energy Management Systems to analyse energy usage patterns and to predict future usage needs. 

    Mavarick builds Artificial Intelligence into both its Production Management and Energy Management solutions. 

    Within Mavarick’s EMS, supervised machine learning is leveraged – specifically probabilistic regression models – to predict the exact energy demand of different manufacturing operations. This helps manufacturers develop granular and accurate estimates for their energy needs (and costs) for future output levels. 

    Mavarick’s EMS relays predicted energy demand levels to energy providers, helping those providers understand the manufacturer’s future energy needs. With these future energy estimates in hand, energy providers are more reliably able to meet manufacturer’s needs. This cycle helps ensure that manufacturers have the energy they need to meet customer’s timelines. 

    ROI of Energy Management Systems

    ROI of Energy Management Systems 

    Although many manufacturers include environmentalism in their rationale for purchasing an Energy Management System, the primary motivation for purchase of an EMS is to save on energy costs. 

    While the energy-savings benefits of EMS are well known, less well-known are the benefits derived from greater accuracy in job-costing. Using an EMS to improve accuracy of cost estimates can help manufacturers offer lower pricing to end customers. This can help manufacturers that use EMS win more business. 

    When calculating ROI for an EMS, both the cost-savings from energy use reductions and additional business won through lower pricing proposals should be considered. 

    Using an EMS to achieve Lower Manufacturing Costs 

    Here are some of the ways that an EMS can be used to drive lower costs: 

    • Reduce Downtime Energy Costs: Identify periods when machines are running idle or at reduced capacity 
    • Shift Loads: Run the most energy-intensive processes at off-peak times 
    • Predictive Maintenance: Use energy draw as an indicator for when machines require maintenance 
    • Minimising Total Energy Overhead: Use EMS to establish benchmarks to ensure that energy usage is within parameters. 

    Look for our upcoming post on How to use and EMS to Drive Savings and Profits.

    Using an EMS to Win Business through Lower Pricing 

    Tracking energy usage via an EMS can help manufacturers understand their costs to produce different goods. The more granularly an EMS system monitors energy, the more reliable and more accurate cost estimates can be. 

    Mavarick’s EMS solution, which offers granularly at the building-level, the cell-level, machine level and the sub-asset-level, provides the most accurate energy cost estimates available. 

    Manufacturers that understand their costs to such a granular level can gain an advantage over others, by offering lower pricing to their end customers. 

    On the flipside, an EMS as granular as that offered by Mavarick helps protect manufacturers from agreeing to jobs based on pricing that is not in fact profitable. 

    Time to ROI for an EMS 

    Non-invasive Energy Management Solutions, such as those offered by Mavarick, are relatively quick to implement. 

    As non-invasive EMS do not require hard-wiring into electrical cabinets or machines, they are more quick to implement than “direct” energy monitoring systems.  

    The faster an EMS is to implement, the quicker manufacturers are able to realise the cost-saving and cost-estimating benefits. This, in turn, leads to quicker timelines for realising ROI. 

    Mavarick is typically able to get their EMS solutions up and running within 4-8 weeks. 

    See this article for a case study on a Mavarick customer who was able to cut energy usage by 10% within 4 weeks

    To learn more about concrete actions you can take to lower your costs via an EMS, or actions you can take to win more business through use of an EMS, see How to use an Energy Management System to Save Money and Win Business

    Energy Management Systems and ISO 50001 

    The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) is a global organisation that maintains best practice standards for business and industry.  

    ISO 50001 is a standard that pertains to best practices for Energy Management Systems. ISO 50001 contains guidance and practices to help you develop consensus and commitment for energy policy. It acn also help you establish targets for energy efficiency, and implement changes in your manufacturing operation to achieve commitments. 

    Implementing ISO 50001 will help you: 

    • Develop effective policy and get commitment across the organisation, including executives  
    • Understand current state of energy usage, and use these to develop business-specific KPIs  
    • Establish targets and a plan for achieving energy efficiency   
    • Implement change as outlined in the plan  
    • Monitor progress against targets  
    • Continuously improve energy efficiency through ongoing initiatives  
    • Document the energy-management system  
    • Integrate energy management through organisation-wide training & initiatives  
    • Maintain standards through regular updates and audits of the system  

    To book a demo of Mavarick’s Energy Management System, or to ask about a trial, Contact Mavarick today.