Exception alerts are the bread and butter for most energy management platforms. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a platform that doesn’t offer them as a feature in some capacity. But in all honesty, how many times have you seen them actually work?On the surface, they look pretty straight forward. Set some arbitrary thresholds, and wait to be notified when something goes wrong. One of two scenarios takes place:
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The last blog in our Net Zero Carbon Buildings series covered five key energy analysis techniques — the ones we think you should all be using to start your journeys to net zero carbon. This time we’re moving on to talk about some of the data problems that often hamper progress, as well as ways you can overcome them.Frankly, it always amazes us that in the 21st century, energy and sustainability professionals are still having to struggle with inconsistent and poor quality data. But sadly, this is the reality.The technology has never been better: we live in an age of smart meters, sensors, IoT devices and Building Management Systems. Yet shockingly, in our experience, over 90% of building sensor data is never used. Why is that? Here are our thoughts.
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The last blog in our Net Zero Carbon Buildings series looked at where to begin with net zero carbon buildings. We found that good energy data and energy efficiency was the place to start and had some tips for overcoming common data challenges.This time, we’re moving on to look at how best to analyse that energy data once you’ve got it, and what it can tell you about the buildings you manage. Here’s our roundup of the five key energy analysis techniques we think you should pay most attention to.
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Before COVID-19 struck, it felt like everyone was talking about net zero carbon. The UK Government became one of the first major economies to commit to a legally binding target of net zero emissions by 2050, and a host of big businesses followed suit: Apple, Microsoft, Nestlé, British Airways, BP, Shell, Ikea and more.Meanwhile, the World Green Building Council’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment was also gaining traction, securing more signatories. This commitment challenges companies, cities, states and regions to ensure that all buildings they directly operate achieve net zero carbon by 2030, and for them to advocate that remaining buildings do so by 2050.In short, there was a real momentum gathering around net zero carbon.
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Profile analysis was the first thing I learned as an energy analyst. It is the foundation of all other forms of energy analysis. Without an understanding of how buildings use energy on a half-hourly basis, everything else is just noise.The mass adoption of smart metering and AMRs has meant that ‘energy profiles’ are widely available. Back in the day, they were recorded by an energy profiler that was temporarily installed for a couple of weeks. This meant analysts were dealing with a very limited time period for a limited number of data points. Thankfully, this is no longer the case.
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In the world of energy efficiency and sustainability, we very rarely make decisions based on data. In a sector filled with experts and specialists, most decisions are made on gut feel and intuition. You may think because you use data in your decision-making process that you’re data-driven. But that’s not the same thing.Being truly data-driven means putting data at the heart of the decision-making process. It really comes down to a ‘data first’ approach instead of going by gut feel. It means constantly questioning your beliefs and assumptions to form new mental models. Referring back to the data time and time again and continually asking “Why?”.
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Energy efficiency has gone out of fashion. A quick check of Google trends will confirm this. A 15 year-long steady decline in search volume. But why?
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Last week I shared a blog post about why I believe energy waste during non-operational hours is one of the most easily avoided forms of waste in buildings. This week, I’m deep-diving into the 4 step process to identifying energy waste during non-operational hours across your portfolio of buildings.
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4 MINUTES READ
This is the first of a series of blog posts on the most effective forms of energy analysis that can be used to identify energy-saving opportunities. Energy data is an underused resource in building optimisation, as businesses often rush to invest large amounts of money in projects with long and unpredictable ROIs. Proper analysis of a building’s energy data can uncover a vast amount of opportunity to improve efficiency at often very little cost.
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Degree days are the most underused performance metrics in energy data analysis. Simultaneously, they are widely misunderstood and therefore misused.Weather conditions are the most influential factor when it comes to the variability of energy use in buildings. Even in a moderate climate such as the UK’s, changes in the requirement for heating and cooling typically accounts for 50%-70% of the variation in usage over the course of a typical year. In other words, regardless of everything else that’s going on inside or outside our buildings, changes in weather account for nearly all fluctuations we see day to day, week to week or month to month. If you’re not going to use degree days for your energy data analysis, then you may as well be blindfolded. It would be like going on a diet but not tracking how much you eat.
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There is very little doubt surrounding the fundamental role that energy efficiency plays in the success of commercial real estate making a return once the world reaches somewhere close to normal. Whether you refer to it as sustainability, energy efficiency or building optimisation, the need for us all to ‘run buildings better’ is increasing exponentially.There will be an understandable emphasis placed on healthy workplaces in the coming months but that can’t be at the expense of a building's buildings carbon footprint. Equally, businesses must do what they can to minimise excessive operational costs after months with little, or no revenue. With running costs associated with electricity, gas and water constituting up to 50% of a commercial building operating costs, efficiency measures are a viable cost-saving measure, but this can’t be at the expense of occupant well being. You see where I’m going with this…The three underlying driving factors of building optimisation are:
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Data-driven insights from Internet of Things (IoT) devices are enabling energy and sustainability experts to make better-informed decisions like never before. Energy use within buildings is inherently variable, and until recently, even the brightest minds were in the dark when it came to explaining fluctuations in usage, due to the long list of factors that can cause a building’s energy usage to change seemingly at random. Having a fundamental understanding of how a building uses energy and what causes it to change is essential to optimising performance in the long term.
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Every experienced energy and sustainability professional who reads this blog, knows of course, that the first step of implementing energy management solutions, is acquisition of the building consumption data. This process, involves cooperation between different industry groups, and can often be long, complicated and costly.In my last blog, I have shared my thoughts on why it is so important to access the right data when developing your Net Zero Carbon programme.Lets dive deeper into the challenging process of energy data acquisition, and discuss ways to make it easier, more effective and more cost efficient.
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4 MINUTES READ
Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, ESG topics were steadily making their way to the top of forward-thinking stakeholders’ agendas in commercial real estate. With the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak being felt across the sector and the world today, different views on how ESG performance would be prioritised in commercial real estate going forward in the immediate and the longer term are emerging. We thought this would be a good opportunity to share what we have been learning on the ground regarding ESG topics before and after the arrival of the COVID-19 outbreak, especially from our experience working and exchanging ideas with our partners and customers who are ESG practitioners in the field.
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4 MINUTES READ
The Committee on Climate Change ( CCC) advised in 2019, that the UK should be aiming for net zero emissions by 2045-2050 in order to be compatible with the1.5ºC Paris Agreement goal.Its recommendations were:For the UK, a new target: net-zero greenhouse gases by 2050 (up from the existing emissions reductions target of 80% from 1990 levels by 2050);For Scotland, a net-zero date of 2045, 'reflecting Scotland’s greater relative capacity to remove emissions than the UK as a whole';For Wales, a 95% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050, reflecting it having 'less opportunity for CO2 storage and relatively high agricultural emissions that are hard to reduce'.But how to get there and why is it proving not to be so easy?
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