Optimized Energy Management Using LoRaWAN® IoT Networks
Real-time energy consumption data is a critical metric for a successful energy management program. The information must be collected, organized, and reviewed to make informed decisions about operation processes and services provided. This is equally important for commercial and residential buildings, public service providers, and industrial organizations with multiple operations.
The data on energy usage can help companies determine where to make improvements to cut energy use. Moreover, detailed knowledge about power consumption can help organizations to make better and more informed decisions about future energy needs. Using the right information in the right way can increase efficiency and save money. In order to ensure energy efficiency, it might be necessary to partner with a company that specializes in energy management data collection. At that point, the implementation of the Internet of Things as a promising technology can lead to a significant decrease in energy consumption and related costs.
DS Energy is a provider of energy management solutions with a wide variety of clients in different sectors and on different scales. DS Energy manages more than 20.000 measuring points for clients, providing them with a communication network and technologies necessary for effective power monitoring.
The main clients of DS Energy are from the following industries:
Production (heavy industry, manufacturing, food production)
Commercial buildings (offices, logistics, retail)
Services (schools, IT companies, leisure providers)
Residential (rental apartments and houses)
High energy costs and a lack of energy monitoring equipment can be devastating to businesses, smart cities, and industrial stakeholders. Industrial companies with highly consuming machinery are facing increasing energy costs that have increased 5-8 times over the last 8-10 months. Such numbers generate problems for production, power allocation, decision-making, and leading a sustainable business. Low power consumption is the biggest necessity for many spheres with rising costs of electricity and the number of devices present in each business or public site. DS Energy faces these cases every single time in the industry, so they are not occasional issues, but rather an established pattern needed to be addressed.
Furthermore, the demand for efficient energy management from company stakeholders is intensifying. It leads to numerous challenges in optimized energy management. Among these are energy wastage, unplanned maintenance, and faulty equipment. In addition, current energy management systems are often inefficient, have incorrect settings, and require frequent manual intervention. Plus, faulty equipment can break down at any time, leaving building managers or operational supervisors with the huge task of scheduling and fixing this equipment. To overcome these challenges, smart energy solutions have emerged, which minimize manual errors and provide end-users with collected data on energy consumed in real time.
The most effective solution to address the abovementioned challenges is analyzing energy data with a smart system based on LoRaWAN® architecture. As practice shows, connected energy management data saves both money and power consumption for industrial clients’ efforts in the green transition.
DS Energy as a communication provider offers a LoRaWAN® network for their customers with TEKTELIC gateway technology to secure a stable network for frequent and available data—used to make vice decisions that bring down energy usage, and provide key data for the ESG strategy of their clients.
Before the integration of the Internet of Things and LoRa technology, the DS Energy clients mostly had access to main meter data only. But with the wireless LoRa communication technology and LoRa gateway network from TEKTELIC Communications, DS Energy is able to collect data from multiple installations and machines in the customers’ locations. With the LoRa network server and sensor nodes, it becomes possible to transmit data over long distances and optimize energy consumption.
LoRa transmission parameter selection has become real with TEKTELIC KONA Micro IoT Gateway for smaller buildings and KONA Macro IoT Gateway for larger building areas together with DS Energy monitoring devices. Typically, DS Energy collects data on electrical energy, gas, heating, water, temperature, humidity, airflow, and other energy-related parameters. TEKTELIC gateways, in turn, have long-range transmission power settings and the capacity to make the initial investment attractive and the operation practical.
KONA Micro IoT Gateway is a perfectly developed indoor gateway, showing excellent communication performance even in dense networks. It has a battery backup for up to 4 hours in case the main source of power is shut down or experiences any disruptions.
KONA Micro operates on LoRaWAN® protocol and is ideal for such applications as smart home coverage, production, retail, or commercial buildings. It has extensive transmission parameters and covers more than a hundred LoRa devices, destroying the myth that many gateways are needed to cover a building full of sensors.
KONA Macro IoT Gateway, in turn, solves the coverage issue for larger areas and can be deployed outdoors if needed. The gateway has hardened IP67 enclosure and integrated band-pass filter, so it resists the “surrounding noise” from the paging and cellular networks.
Besides, KONA Macro can be easily integrated into any LoRaWAN® solution, maintaining long-range transmission capabilities and low power usage.
Down to Real Numbers
DS Energy in partnership with TEKTELIC can provide frequent and reliable data in their low-cost energy management solution with visualizations, alarms, comparison, analysis, reports, data export, and much more. Without exceptions, all DS Energy clients reap instant benefits when EMS is implemented and data starts flowing via LoRa networks. On average, with LoRaWAN® connection and smart sensors usage, customers experience up to 10-20% of the consumption savings in locations with EMSoperation.
There is also a great example of a specific case. An industrial de-greasing facility was equipped with an electrical meter and only after the integration of LoRaWAN® monitoring technologies the customer learned that this machine was always in “ready-to-operate” condition even though it was not involved in the actual product very often. The cost of this was approximately 150 euros per day, which appeared to be surprisingly expensive and had been significantly adding to the cost for months.
Figure 1: Consuption September 2022
After the analysis company implemented a stop procedure during weekends when the machine was not in use at all and restructured operation. As a result of all the changes applied, all processes were run in a 4-hour window—and then the machine was turned off for energy saving. The proposed scheme has decreased power usage, resulting in 90.000 kWh per year. Another achievement was the creation of a low-cost system of future work leading to a saving of approximately 38.000 euros per year. It is a great case showing how IoT applications can be helpful for businesses.
In the past, building owners and industrial operators had to rely on analog meter readings to make energy management decisions. However, advances in technology have introduced new ways to monitor energy use, including smart meters and wireless sensor networks. This removes the guesswork and uncertainty involved in making decisions about energy consumption. Besides, real-time data provided helps companies save significant amounts of money.
A successful partnership between TEKTELIC and DS Energy has proved that by implementing wireless LoRa networks, industrial customers have access to data in production at attractive prices and with customized bandwidth settings. This means that more machinery can be monitored and more savings can be harvested using LoRa nodes. For DS Energy this means that an attractive market opportunity can be exploited without huge investments for the customers. For TEKTELIC it is more proof that the LoRaWAN® system can help individual companies and the world with energy management.