Our guide aims to help you ensure that your organisation capitalises on the opportunities of the DTEM that you've invested in

Sections in this online guide:

  1. Why use Digital Technologies for Energy Management (DTEM)?
  2. DTEM: Components of an energy strategy
  3. DTEM: Building the business case
  4. DTEM: Selecting the right system
  5. DTEM: Select and evaluate suppliers
  6. DTEM: User guide

6. DTEM: User Guide

Common problems when using DTEM

Many organisations investing in DTEM struggle to capitalise on the opportunities and fail to sufficiently maintain system functionality.

Of particular importance in optimising and maintaining performance is system commissioning, particularly for BEMS & SCADA. Key commissioning requirements are outlined in the table below.




Commissioning requirement


Meter pulse rate

Ensure the meter pulse rate has been correctly applied in software.


Meter allocation

On larger systems, check that the metering points have been assigned to the correct process/building


Virtual meters

Subtracting sub-metered consumption from site-wide meters can provide a useful calculated consumption for areas not being physically sub metered.  It is worth checking these are correctly setup in the software.



Correct meter allocation

Ensure that the correct consumption data is used by the reporting package. In complex systems consumption data can easily be erroneously allocated.  Sense check consumption values with known site size or likely process consumption.




Ensure that all sensors are reading correctly. Typically, faults will present as an alarm. Sensors that may be worth alarming include room temperature, external temperature, CO2, occupancy, flow and return temperatures, valve positioning, flow rates, and lux levels.



Set points

Ensure that set points have been appropriately set. Any system will only operate to specified parameters so correct set point selection will be fundamental to a systems success. Typical set points required will be room temperature, flow and return temperatures, CO2 levels, valve positioning, percentage fresh air mix and heat recovery, flow rates, motor speed, etc.



Occupancy times

A key component of any BEMS system is the ability to provide the minimum desired comfort conditions at the right time. This is determined by the building or room occupancy times. These times should accurately reflect the building function to maximise efficiencies



Seasonal commission

Check that seasonal commissioning is included in your maintenance agreement. Seasonal commissioning takes account of full load conditions (winter and summer, heating and cooling) and part load operating conditions  (Autumn and spring) to ensure that system run as designed. This support is also invaluable at minimising defects (hardware & software) and maintenance costs.

A BEMS system operates most efficiently when it is correctly commissioned and allowed to operate as intended. Optimised systems learn how a building reacts to changes in internal and external environmental conditions, and adjust accordingly to meet the set points required, so reducing waste.



The most common reason for DTEM systems becoming obsolete is the lack of dedicated ownership and dedicated resource allocated to manage and maintain the system. Therefore incorporating the use of DTEM into a wider energy management programme is critical. This helps embed system outputs and reporting into a wider managerial structure lending weight to its importance in informing the wider energy management/sustainability/carbon reduction strategy.

Other common problems outlined below can cause user/stakeholder despondency leading to the eventual risk of system obsolescence unless properly managed.

Common issues (aM&T, BEMS, SCADA)


Lack of dedicated resource allocated to manage and maintain the system

Sufficient resourcing needs to have been allocated and ring fenced prior to system purchase and use.

No perceived or demonstrable benefit

Ensure system outputs are embedded into wider energy management reporting requirement

Lack of ownership or clear responsibilities

System ownership, responsibility and appointment of a senior management champion need to have been agreed prior to system purchase and use

Poor system commissioning  and project handover

Utilise the information in this guidance to ensure best practice commissioning and handover

Lack of system and software training leading to system use despondency

Utilise the information in this guidance to ensure best practice training is imbedded in any specification

Equipment failure

Ensure sufficient guarantees are included in system specification

Lack of budget for maintenance or licence renewal

Ensure sufficient maintenance budget is allocated and ring fenced

Poor purchase specification

Utilise the information in this guidance to ensure best practice specification for tendering

Personnel changes

Ensure regular system use by other personnel. Include them in the training. Share responsibility for report generation and system maintenance

Access restricted due to password protection

Ensure that password protection sits with the system operators and not maintenance providers. Levels of access should be appropriate to role

Lack of senior support

A Senior Management champion needs to have been agreed prior to system purchase and use

Poor KPI selection

Ensure sufficient stakeholder involvement in the KPI setting process



aM&T specific issues


Meters being bypassed (oil & gas) due to unrelated system faults - causing data gaps

Ensure sufficient stake holder involvement in the install process

Metering/communications faults causing data gaps

Ensure snagging and commissioning process is robust

Incorrect meter or software calibration giving incorrect readings

Ensure snagging and commissioning process is robust. Ensure regular maintenance (including error checking and calibration)

Software communication problems causing data gaps

Ensure snagging and commissioning process is robust



BEMS & SCADA specific issues


Faulty sensors can be detrimental to system functionality, e.g. temperature sensors giving false readings causing heating or cooling to run longer than required

Make full use of any alarm function to highlight unexpected readings

Incorrect time clock setting due to poor commissioning, or settings are altered and not returned to the original default setting, leading to systems operating when not required


Restrict system access. Only use day specific time clock alterations rather than universal so settings will return once the required period has passed

Poor set point settings.  Cooling and heat set points too close together leading to both systems operating at the same time or unrealistic set points causing systems to run longer than required


Provide detailed list of settings to supplier with associated checklist to be singed off after commissioning

Lack of seasonal commissioning leading to extended system use when not required.


Ensure seasonal commissioning is built into support package

Operator information overload

Work with supplier and stakeholders to ensure that only the minimal information required is presented on the operator interface. Make use of alarm functions to facilitate this.

Unknown/unsanctioned operator adjustment

Set alarm that can only be reset via supervisor access. Investigate the reason / cause / requirement for adjustment. Assess whether seasonal adjustment is required to fine tune settings

Management reporting

A key output from any DTEM (aM&T, BEMS) is the reporting function. The information it provides directly informs the wider energy management strategy. The type of reporting and content will be determined by the recipient’s requirements so stakeholder engagement is key.

Some examples of likely report requirements are outlined below.

Business Area

Report type

Report Content


Energy cost report

Often used for bill verification and cost tracking

Departmental Heads/Senior Management

Budget/resource allocation

Consumption tracking against budget allocation

Production/Departmental Heads/Senior Management

Key Performance Indicator

Actual KPI tracking against targets or calculated values

Energy Manager, Energy Champions, Heads of Department

Profile consumption

Daily/weekly/monthly consumption plots to help highlight out of hours or unusual energy consumption data.


All report types

Use of the reporting function is an excellent resource to mine for training purposes. Good reporting will highlight opportunities, quantify savings, justify investment and help promote energy efficiency within the wider team.


Many aM&T and BEMS systems are provided with a suite of consumption and data analysis reports or alternatively data can be exported to another suitable analysis software, e.g. Microsoft Excel.

Smaller organisation utilising smart meters or utility level aM&T will benefit from the energy profile data reports. Larger organisations with dedicated energy managers may wish to use more complex data analysis type reports, e.g. regression analysis or CUSUM.

Typical reports (over and above alarm/notification reports) would include;

  • Daily, weekly and monthly profile data – allows direct comparison across a period of time that will highlight unexpected variances. These also highlight higher than normal baseloads and unexplained out of hours consumption.
  • Similarly, where you are metering identical process lines you would run the above reports to highlight differences due to differing shift operating strategies or higher/lower product manufacture for a given energy consumption, i.e. KPI variations.


Typical data analysis reports include (depending on small or large organisation);

  • Regression analysis – This allows you to establish and predict the expected relationship between two variables, e.g. energy consumption and production levels, any variance from which needs investigation and explanation.
  • Degree day analysis – a specific regression analysis were one of the variable is degree days. Degree days are a measure of how much (in degrees) and for how long (in days) the outside air temperature is below a certain level. Degree days are used as one of the two variables in regression analysis to determine how closely matched a building heating use (kWh) relates to the actual heat required (determined by the number of degree days)

Read the full report - Digital Technologies for Energy Management

This review for ClimateWorks Foundation has found that DTEM are an essential component to support organisational energy strategies and, where correctly tailored to the organisation’s need, can bring about significant carbon, energy and financial savings. Advances in data, analytics and a greater degree of connectivity are leading to greater digitalisation, which increase accessibility, ease of use and the potential benefits.

DTEM full report