The Impact of Weather Normalization on Energy Evaluation Measures
As we all know, the weather is unpredictable — especially from year to year. There is no guarantee that the conditions are going to be exactly the same, let alone similar to the weather from the previous year or month. For this reason, energy managers must take into account weather normalization when analyzing the energy consumption patterns of their buildings and assets in order to accurately assess their performance.
According to ENERGY STAR, weather normalized energy refers to the energy your building would have used under normal conditions. This accounts for abnormal temperatures, whether it’s hotter or colder, that result in a drastic change in energy consumption.
The purpose of weather normalization is to account for the variances in operational efficiency, energy consumption and budgeting. Weather affects each building differently, but an analysis allows managers to better understand the fluctuations, as well as filter which parts of energy usage are attributed to weather and which to other factors. Here, we look deeper into the importance of weather normalization for these three key measures.
With an increasing focus on energy reduction, energy managers are investing in new technologies and equipment to better manage their energy usage. A main problem of implementing new assets is that results can sometimes show no signs of improvement as a result of weather. Weather normalization helps account for differences in weather, allowing energy managers to accurately assess the performance of the asset by evaluating under the assumption that conditions are the same.
If after weather normalization, energy consumption is still high, then that indicates to the managers that there are other factors influencing it, such as asset malfunctions. This helps them determine the correct action to take when looking at energy consumption and costs associated with it.
Weather normalization only compares energy usage against that same building using historical data. Facilities and buildings in different climate areas are not used as benchmarks for one another. Energy consumption that is not affected by the weather is considered the base load and is the constant throughout the year.
This type of energy consumption includes lighting and electricity used from technical equipment. Energy consumed from heating and cooling is significantly affected by weather and therefore is calculated out when determining base use. By comparing the base load across time periods, an accurate reporting is created to inform energy managers whether or not changes are necessary.
A concern for most companies is making sure that their money is being allocated to the right resources and is not being wasted. Budgeting fluctuates over time and it is important to understand the factors causing these variances. With weather normalization, companies can rule out fluctuations in energy consumption caused by temperature changes as the main cause of their excess expenditures.
An increase in heating or cooling during certain times would be extracted out through the analysis, allowing managers to dive deeper into other factors, such as machinery malfunction, causing an increase in costs.
Weather normalization proves itself to be an important adjustment that is necessary to make accurate comparisons of facility performances from year to year. Despite varying weather patterns, energy managers can get a clear understanding of their building’s energy consumption by filtering out the excess heating and cooling days. This adjustment is vital to properly evaluating asset performance so that energy managers can take the appropriate steps forward in managing energy consumption.
To learn more about how leveraging your utility data can power your energy benchmarking efforts, download our eBook: Building Energy Benchmarking & Transparency Laws.
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