An Interview with Alfio Galata from Enerit - A partner in the HIT2GAP Project

Lori McElroy of BRE interviewed Alfio Galata , Team Leader, HIT2GAP, Enerit


Alfio, thank you for agreeing to be interviewed for the HIT2GAP Newsletter:

Q1: Can you first explain a little bit about your background and your role at Enerit?

I have more than 30-years expertise on Energy Efficiency Buildings (EeB), Energy, Building Management Systems (EnMS & BMS) and ICT-solutions for Energy Efficiency: focusing on Near-Zero to Energy-positive Buildings, Eco-Efficiency and Buildings integrated into the neighbourhood energy systems.

For the Hit2Gap project, I’m the Team Leader with the responsibilities to coordinate all of the project’s activities; this mainly affects the development of the Energy Management modules and their integration with the Hit2Gap platform

Q2: Can you describe the concerns and opportunities addressed by an Energy Management System?

An EnMS is a rather complex system that needs to cover all technical, organisational and human factors within an organisation to be successful in improving energy performance. Every sector has specific typologies, users and usage patterns, energy infrastructures, energy uses and functions.

Thus, the EnMS becomes a concern if it implements management practices to achieve only specific levels of energy performance without adopting any standard.

To deliver efficiency in energy management, Organizations need to apply a systematic approach to continuously improve in terms of energy efficiency and cost reduction. Some of the key questions and challenges for an effective EnMS are:

• How can energy expertise and support be provided at modest cost?
• How can energy savings be achieved quickly?
• How can people who are consumed with critical day-to-day business issues be helped to support efforts to reduce energy cost at the sites?
• How can the EnMS be prevented from losing direction over time?
• How can energy consumption and cost continue to be reduced year-on-year?
• How can staff enthusiasm be maintained about energy savings?

The ISO 50001 international standard drives the day-to-day requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining and improving an EnMS.

To address the challenges, organisations need to adopt tools, such as Enerit’s cloud-base software (or similar), that comply with ISO 50001. In this way, the EnMS provides an opportunity within the core business of the organisation, and a resource that is simple, secure, clean, economical and necessary.

Q3: And to put this in context of the project, would you please describe Enerit’s core business?

Enerit provides ISO 50001 software, using a SaaS model. The market for ISO 50001 software, like Enerit which is still unique in the world, is separate from the very crowded and highly competitive market for energy monitoring, building management control systems or carbon reporting.

Rather than a focus on data from machines, Enerit software deals with the organisation and management of people and processes. The software is complementary to energy monitoring software and other tools that are part of the HIT2GAP platform. Research shows that the ISO 50001 energy management system approach produces 10% more energy savings than normal energy efficiency programs. Enerit’s software helps customers achieve these cost savings and/or certification faster with less staff resources and maintains the costs savings into the future.

Q4: Can you describe the value of the Energy Management Systems in the world market?

Energy Management System market is expected to be $76 billion by 2021. Until few years ago, the large equipment manufacturers had long dominated this market, taking benefit from their global presence, extensive domain expertise and established infrastructure to support long-term engagements. In the recent years, smaller niche companies - such as Enerit - have a strong position in the EnMS market with unique product and service offerings. However, barriers still exist to adopting an ISO 50001 based EnMS. Many organisations with the potential to exploit an EnMS are at a stage where they understand the benefits of implementing these systems, but still prefer to utilise more basic technology and applications - in a project based approach rather than a systematic approach to energy management and efficiency.

Q5: More specifically, what do you hope for in terms of a positive outcome for ENERIT’s business arising from involvement HIT2GAP?

The Hit2Gap project is primarily a stimulus to create innovative products to offer competitive advantage to Enerit customers. Participation in the Hit2Gap project will allow Enerit to establish a diversified market approach: selling of standalone cloud-based software and add-on to the HIT2GAP collaborative platform.

On the other hand, Enerit, through the HIT2GAP project, is enlarging market visibility and developing stronger linkages with other energy related tools and solutions, such as BSP, BMS, LEED, BREEAM.

Q6: The project is very ambitious in trying to reduce the energy gap between predicted and actual energy use in buildings; what do you see as key to the delivery of a useful outcome that can be widely adopted by building owners and managers?

There are several key outcomes to address for potential HIT2GAP platform target users. A strong energy management approach is required to reduce this gap. The internationally recognised ISO 50001 energy management system standard provides this through the modules in the HIT2GAP platform, including the Energy Management modules provided by Enerit.

The ISO 50001 standard must be seen by organisations not only as relating to industrial energy management and efficiency but also to the built environment. From a cultural point of view, this means that ISO 50001 must not only be considered as part of an energy efficiency programme but also as a fundamental basis of an energy management system. There is a need to extend this concept level by creating and increasing awareness of EnMS applicability and new knowledge of ISO 50001 amongst building sector professionals.

Q7: What do you think will be the main benefits from the project to building users and to wider society?

The Hit2Gap project is introducing new technologies and innovations for making buildings smarter and more energy efficient with better long-term energy performance. To this end, the Hit2Gap platform will provide a solution through Apps, similar to smartphones technology, developed as stand-alone entities and further integrated with each other. Thus, the Hit2Gap platform realizes a unique and cooperative environment including EnMS, user’s behaviour, energy modelling, calibration, forecasting, BIM and data aggregation. All in an open context where users can customize the service level which best adapt to their needs.
Moreover, the HIT2GAP project addresses the challenge to process and analyse huge volumes of energy-related data by the people who operate buildings on a daily basis, while improving on the way buildings will be designed and built in the future.

We would like to thank Alfio for taking the time to answer our questions and and for sharing his thoughts on the project and the associated issues.