Energy Managers all too often have to justify their existence to management. They may be asked: “How much did we save last year?”, “Did your recommendations give reasonable paybacks?”, “Since the last project didn’t save any money, why would we expect the next one to?”
More and more, alternative energy contractors want to prove to customers the savings they expect. Customers often want to know that they have saved the energy and costs they were originally promised. From the customers’ viewpoint, the simplest and most understandable proof of energy savings comes from a simple comparison of electricity bills. Did the system save on electricity costs or not? In theory, a simple comparison of pre-installation bills to post-installation bills, and you will see if you have saved.
Every year energy managers need to report how much energy they saved and whether or not they met their energy savings targets. Most energy managers present reports comparing their current year’s usage to energy usage from a previous year. Savings targets are typically a percentage of that previous year’s usage. Setting targets and comparing in this manner usually does not generate an accurate estimate of energy actually saved. Inconsistencies arise from year-to-year fluctuations in weather, occupancy, production or other factors, which can interfere with savings results. Instead, an energy manager’s performance should be determined by comparing current year usage to a normalized baseline, which represents how much energy the building would have used given current year weather conditions, production, occupancy, and base year usage patterns. Energy savings targets should be set based upon this dynamic baseline. Using dynamic targeting, variations in weather conditions, occupancy, production or other factors will not hinder the accurate measure of how much the energy manager saved, and whether energy savings goals were indeed met. This paper explains, with an example, the differences between using a static and dynamic (weather normalized) targeting to demonstrate energy savings.
Utility Bill Tracking systems are at the center of an effective energy management program. However, some organizations spend time and money putting together a utility bill tracking system and never reap any value. This paper presents three utility bill analysis techniques which energy managers can use to arrive at sound energy management decisions and achieve cost savings.
When I was an Energy Analyst at JCI, my conscience was always reassured that I was doing good work by being involved in saving energy and natural resources. When I explained at a party what I did for money, people always approved. It was almost as popular as being in the solar energy or wind power business. However, as soon as I opened my mouth, their eyes glazed over and they started to drift away to the more colorful figures in the room, because, you know, nobody wants to know more than a sentence or two about our field.
Utility bill tracking is at the heart of an effective energy management program. Merely comparing utility bills can yield inaccurate indications of the amount of savings from energy management programs due to the unaccounted influence of weather or other factors. Correcting utility bills for weather data will give more accurate representations of savings that were accrued. This paper presents the how and why of weather correction for those who want to become more familiar with the concepts and methodology.
Today’s utility bill tracking software can deliver excellent results for energy managers who want to gain a comprehensive understanding of utility usage and costs in their facilities. All of the major commercially available utility bill tracking software programs are good at what they do, however, they are distinctly different in functionality and capacity.