Take Your Energy Management Program Beyond the Bill with Interval Data

Amy Hou  |  March 26, 2018  |  Energy & Sustainability  

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Take a minute to think about your energy management program. What initiatives do you have planned for this year? What are your goals?

Now think about how you arrived at those plans. Most likely, the answer is utility bill data. But did you know that relying on utility bill data alone can leave you with a large blind spot?

Shortcomings of Utility Bill Data

You’re not alone here — most energy management programs rely solely on utility bill data. But the truth is, bill data on its own just isn’t enough. Why not you ask? In short it’s because bill data:

Lacks granularity: Each utility bill has little more than a single demand value (kW) and a single consumption value (kWh) for the entire month. This lack of detail makes it extremely challenging to identify the reason behind any changes from one bill to the next.

Is delayed: Real-time insights are next to impossible with utility bill data, which can be delayed by 30-45 days when receiving bills through traditional mailing methods. Even with a service for more timely delivery, the oldest data from the bill can date back three weeks.

Going Beyond Bill Data with Interval Data

Although utility bill data has its shortcomings when it comes to informing energy management initiatives, it still provides value. However, you can supercharge its value — and your energy management program with it — by supplementing your bill data with interval data from smart meters.

The smart meter market has made huge progress over the past few years thanks to advances in technology, better market education and several government funding initiatives. As a result, the market has reached a point where both smart meters and the detailed interval data they collect are readily available. And that market growth is definitely something of which you should take advantage. That’s because informing your energy management program with interval data can go a long way toward helping you set and realize more strategic objectives.

For example, integrating the detailed interval data from smart meters can give your energy management program a strategic boost by allowing for:

Operational improvements: The insight provided by interval data can help you drive operational improvements like identifying inefficiencies by comparing performance at different times, better managing demand by identifying peak times, ensuring proper equipment run times by comparing energy use to operating schedules and bringing high value information to light quickly by setting smart alerts.

Better goal setting and tracking: Because interval data can provide a more detailed understanding of operating patterns, it can help you set more specific and meaningful goals, track your progress toward achieving those goals and support recommendations and progress reports to leadership with data.

More effective initiative launches: You can also use the more detailed insight provided by interval data to launch more effective energy initiatives since you can identify specific areas for improvement and be more strategic in how you plan and execute projects. The detailed data can also help validate savings on already-completed projects.

Stronger occupant engagement: When it comes to reducing energy consumption, the more specific recommendations you can provide to occupants, the more closely you can tie those recommendations to desired outcomes and the more you can communicate progress, the more likely occupants will be to respond positively. Once again, the detail provided by interval data can help achieve the necessary level of specificity.

Informed energy budget management: Finally, interval data can also make it easier to validate utility bills and manage tariffs in order to improve energy budget management. Specifically, it can help reconcile any discrepancies in energy use to ensure your bills are accurate and help you make an educated decision about tariff choice based on your building’s load profile.

Take Your Energy Management to the Next Level

Given the benefits that integrating interval data from smart meters into your energy management program can provide, it seems there’s no reason not take that step, right? Well, almost. Don’t forget that in order to achieve the benefits of interval data you first need to gain access to that data. And doing so can be tricky if you have a portfolio of buildings that uses multiple utility providers since there is no standard among providers for making interval data available.

However, it doesn’t have to be difficult. Introducing a utility interval data service can provide a single source of truth for all of your utility data and standardize that information across various regions, providers, infrastructures, software platforms and more.

Read more about integrating interval data into your energy management program in our newest eBook: Beyond Bill Data: Refining Your Energy Management Program with Interval Data.

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About Amy Hou

Amy Hou is a Marketing Manager at Urjanet, overseeing content and communications. She enjoys writing about the latest industry updates in sustainability, energy efficiency, and data innovation.


Tags   Data & Technology   |   Energy Management   |   Interval Data   |   Urjanet   |