io-consultants steers European introduction of energy monitoring system at ABB

Heidelberg - 10.12.2015

io-consultants has extended its portfolio in automation technology with the implementation of an energy monitoring system for ABB Grundbesitz GmbH. Upon completion of the pilot project in Germany, the system was rolled out at ABB sites in 12 European countries, with more to follow soon.

The key objective of this long-term project is to increase energy performance and significantly reduce energy consumption at ABB. io-consultants was commissioned to create a concept for identifying energy saving opportunities and reducing energy costs and CO2 emissions, and to then realise the technical interfaces at the ABB sites in the various countries taking into consideration the specific local needs and conditions. Data security and reliable data transfer were of paramount importance in the planning and overall project management.

The system – “ABB Energy Monitoring” - records the consumption data of the different utilities such as electricity, oil, gas, water, and district heating, and visualises the statistics on an Intranet website. The data is captured in real-time from the sites’ utility meters at 15-minute intervals, and is then available for retrieval, analysis and further processing at any time. This makes it easy to compare the energy habits of the sites and identify irregularities straight away.

“This data provides the basis for sustainable energy management and for further optimising the existing buildings and facilities,” says Project and Business Unit Manager of io consultants, Frederik Thiele. io-consultants’ concept included the development of a new model for all general processes as well as different standard interfaces – depending on the local technical circumstances – to ensure the efficient connection of the sites to ABB Energy Monitoring.

In project implementation, the first step involves a detailed review to determine the status of each site’s technical infrastructure and to find out which utilities are relevant and need to be connected to the energy monitoring system. Existing utility meters that already have data interfaces can be used for electronic data capture. Meters without data interfaces, usually older models, need to be replaced. 
Some sites already use a building management system (BMS) that allows automatic data retrieval from the utility meters. Most of these sites can be easily connected to ABB Energy Monitoring, as the data can be transmitted via an internet connection from the BMS to the central server.

Sites without a BMS have to use a data gateway for the time being. If an internet connection is not available, the data is transferred via a conventional mobile communications network (GSM). 
In the first phase of the project, only data from the site’s main meters is captured, providing summaries of each utility’s energy consumption as a total. Later on, the readings can be extended to include the sub-meters in the individual buildings and so provide more transparency on individual energy consumption. The data can be traced to each “consumer” to show which energy sources are accessed and how much is used, so that specific energy saving measures can be initiated quickly and efficiently.
All the collected data is consolidated and stored on a central FTP server and then regularly transferred to a database. The incoming data is systematically checked for transmission accuracy and completeness in order to correct any interface incongruities promptly. ABB Energy Monitoring has powerful visualisation features, providing graphs and tables with easy-to-understand overviews of the energy consumption situation at any given time or relating to a particular time period.

A major challenge of this project was scheduling the interfaces for the EU countries and managing the diverse technical infrastructures at the various sites.

ABB Energy Monitoring is presently being implemented at around 40 sites in 12 European countries. With its introduction, ABB has set the course for sustainable energy management.

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