LBNL Report Number
Energy information systems comprise software, data acquisition hardware, and communication systems that are intended to provide energy information to building energy and facilities managers, financial managers, and utilities. This technology has been commercially available for over a decade, however recent advances in Internet and other information technology, and analytical features have expanded the number of product options that are available. For example, features such as green house gas tracking, configurable energy analyses and enhanced interoperability are becoming increasingly common.
Energy information systems are used in a variety of commercial buildings operations and environments, and can be characterized in a number of ways. Basic elements of these systems include web-based energy monitoring, web-based energy management linked to controls, demand response, and enterprise energy management applications. However the sheer number and variety of available systems complicate the selection of products to match the needs of a given user. In response, a framework was developed to define the capabilities of different types of energy information systems, and was applied to characterize approximately 30 technologies.
Measurement is a critical component in managing energy consumption and energy information must be shared at all organizational levels to maintain persistent, efficient operations. Energy information systems are important to understand because they offer the analytical support to process measured data into information, and they provide the informational link between the primary actors who impact building energy efficiency - operators, facilities and energy managers, owners and corporate decision makers. In this paper, preliminary findings are presented, with a focus on overall trends and the general state of the technology. Key conclusions include the need to further pursue standardization and usability, x-y plotting as an under-supported feature, and a general convergence of visualization and display capabilities.