In my 13+ years with UNDP, I have been co-existing with EMIS from the time it was only a conceptual idea in 2005, through the times it has been developed, piloted, put in full function (2006-2009), transferred to national institutions (2013) and in the last couple of years transferred beyond Croatian borders! My name is Sandra, and these are the “top five” things about EMIS I want to share with you:
What is EMIS?
It is an on-line, web-based tool to manage and analyse energy and water consumption in buildings. One can access it from a smartphone, a tablet, a laptop, a desktop or a server. Easy and fully accessible. What kind of buildings? Any kind of buildings. In this case it is public sector buildings. Those for which bills are paid from a public sector budget, from tax-payers money. Energy is precious. Tax-payers money even more. So EMIS is very precious tool to monitor how it is spent.
Which are the three important things EMIS tells us, that every manager or budget-holder should know?
- Where, when and what type of energy we consume?
- How much we consume and WHO is responsible for that (aha!)?
- It gives us a total insight in the energy status of a building.
And I would add: EMIS makes visible CO2 emissions from buildings! When one sees the consequences of his/her behaviour, it would change (bad habits) faster then if it remains invisible, right?
What shall we do with the information EMIS can provide and why should we care?
Knowing that buildings sector typically consumes 40% of all primary energy consumption in a country, it does matter to know where do we burn&heat&cool, who does it and how much it costs. The EMIS gives us possibility to quickly access and analyse data with an aim to optimise consumption, to quickly fix when something leaks or when a building overspends or overconsume if compared to other similar buildings. Yes, it enables us to compare, to detect and to correct anomalies immediately.
An interesting example, from a prison: Early in 2011, the energy efficiency team in the Croatian Ministry of Justice was alarmed at abnormally high rates of water use at Lepoglava Prison, a penitentiary dating back to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Pumping water is energy intensive, so leaks waste both resources. A probe of underground pipes quickly located a major break. Fixing the problem cost just $4,000, but saved the prison $225,000 per year in water losses. Without vigilant monitoring provided by EMIS, the leak would have gone unnoticed.
How reliable this information is?
The meter-readers data get into the system on hourly, daily, weekly and monthly basis, so we can monitor consumption in real-time! Data can be entered manually or automatically, they are inter-connected with other databases – those of energy suppliers and distributors. So data-entry is and can be both top-down and bottom-up. Top-down or direct feed-in from suppliers is good because human error on data-entry is close to nil. Bottom-up data entry entails human labour and a risk of human error but also entails raising-awareness of consumption and change in behaviour (if awareness is positive, of course!).
In Croatia, in 2010-2012 period the consumption dropped by almost 7% per year only by the fact that it is regularly monitored through EMIS. This generated savings of more then 49 million of kWh or more than 2.8 million USD in energy costs. On top of that 7% energy savings coming from “behavioural change” and some low-cost or no-cost management adjustments, more savings come up from the implementation of energy efficiency measures in buildings that were indicated by the monitoring system (change of fuel, retrofits etc.) that pile-up savings up to at least 30% in a relative short period of time.
The methodology and EMIS as a tool got its confirmation too by UN Economic Commission for Europe in 2015 when it has been recognised as a Best Policy Practices for Promoting Energy Efficiency.
Why it matters?
In Croatia, the average annual energy costs make up to 15% of GDP. At least half of primary energy supply is imported. If 30% of energy consumed in buildings would be saved due to monitoring, management and subsequent implementation of EE measures, we could save more then 2% of GDP annually, which does matter in times of a modest annual GDP growth around 1% after years of recession. Besides creating savings, it contributes to energy security, to CC mitigation and emissions reduction, to boosting jobs in (re)construction sector, to creating green jobs in energy efficiency solutions; and it improves in-door conditions. All that does matter to me, I hope you care about those things too.
And in the end some “hard data”: In Croatia EMIS is in full use in 115 (of 127) cities, all 21 counties, all 20 ministries, 43 municipalities and 59 other public sector institutions.
EMIS in Croatia contains data from more then 11.000 buildings (out of 13.000 estimated total) with 2000 of active user-accounts. There are round 5000 bills entered into the system every week!
As of 2012 it is was proclaimed a part of the national information system i.e. a mandatory tool for data collection and energy management in public sector buildings in the Republic of Croatia, prescribed by the End-use Energy Efficiency Act in 2012; later renewed as the Energy Efficiency Act in 2014.
In October 2013, EMIS has been transferred from UNDP to national institutions – the APN (agency for public real-estate management in Croatia) is responsible national body to manage and administer the system. The annual budget to manage the system is round 5 million Kuna, which is less then 1 million USD, which is less then half of the annual savings it generates.
In 2014 it has been piloted and transferred to Serbia, as of 2015 the system was proclaimed mandatory by law in the Republic of Serbia as well and gets in full use as of this year too! It is in use in several municipalities of Bosnia and Herzegovina as well.
There is a strong expression of interest and request for transfer coming from Russian Republic Energy Agency – Pskov region is on stand-by to implement it during 2016. There is a couple of more countries looking into it with high interest but let us leave it for a next story!