So you got real-time data, made scheduling changes in your buildings, lowered your base load, and implemented HVAC lockouts. After just three months, you’ve already received a full ROI on the cost of meter installation and energy management software.
So, what incentive do you have to keep and analyzing real-time data? You fixed your building, so why do you need to keep monitoring it?
Once you stop monitoring buildings, they naturally regress to their original state as low performers. Unfortunately, there is no “set it and forget it” formula for making buildings energy efficient.
1. The weather never stops changing
One major benefit to real-time data is its ability to incorporate weather normalization. You can use your energy management platform to compare your consumption on any given day to days with comparable temperatures.
You want your building to be operating correctly when it’s suddenly warm in December or the temperature drops one night in July. During the shoulder months of the year, when it’s between 50 and 65 degrees, you want to be sure you are using outside air through economizers instead of wasting energy by operating on a full load with heating or cooling.
2. Occupants change too
Whether your tenants are in retail, offices, or apartments, chances are the people in your buildings are constantly changing. Real-time data can help you make sure there are smooth transitions between tenants.
Energy efficient buildings also have increased marketability. They usually pass on lower utility costs to tenants and are likely to maintain higher standards. If your goal is to sustain tenants so they don’t leave vacant spaces, real-time data will help you keep them satisfied.
3. You want to know when something goes wrong
Real-time alerts are the true key to real-time data. Even if you’re not on your computer looking at an energy usage report at the time of a problem, you’ll want to know about it as soon as possible.
When I arrived at the gym recently, the air conditioning was set to cool the building to somewhere between 65-68 degrees. While I was on the elliptical the temperature seemed to be rising. And rising. And rising. As I walked out of the gym, I overheard two employees saying that the heat had spontaneously turned on, and the temperature in the gym was now 107 degrees.
I’m sure, at one point or another, you’ve experienced a similar glitch in your buildings. When an unanticipated problem occurs, it is better to know immediately than to wait until tenants complain. Worse still, many landlords wait until the end of the month to find out their utility bill has doubled.
4. You want persistent savings
The time-to-value when you first include real-time data in your energy analysis can be as short as a few months. A lot of changes can be made quickly and easily once you have a transparent view of your buildings. However, there are more involved changes you can make to your buildings that might require larger upfront investments.
When you come around to making those improvements, you will want to have real-time data so you can track progress against concrete metrics. These projects are often more involved, but the energy savings are often even more significant.
5. You care about your Energy Star Score
People often ask why they should keep trying to raise their Energy Star Score, especially if their buildings are already certified with a score of 75 or higher. A great example is Cassidy Turley’s building at 750 Pratt Street in Baltimore, MD.
The building started with a score of 26 in 2009. After a few changes and a very small investment, the building received a score of 75 the following year. Now, the building has an Energy Star Score of 89. Every time the score raises, there is an accompanying reduction in energy consumptions and mtCO2e, along with increased tenant satisfaction.
Even if you’re not ready to submeter your buildings, you should keep up to date with real-time data. When you make changes and identify patterns in your buildings, an energy management software like Aquicore will highlight any spikes or peaks that need your attention.