How Real-Time Data Can Cure Your Measurement and Verification Headaches July 28, 2016 | Roger LeBlanc

With CRE tech becoming more common in day-to-day operations, our world is now incredibly data-driven. Key stakeholders now require energy decisions to be supported with data through measurement and verification. To be most effective with your time, you’ll want to make sure your process is as accurate as possible.

Measurement and verification doesn’t have to be a headache anymore. Real-time energy data can help you accurately assess past projects’ success.

Why Energy Savings Projects Require Measurement and Verification  

Measurement and verification is the process for calculating energy and budgetary savings for a particular energy efficiency solution. This is measured in the amount of energy saved, as opposed to cost savings (since energy prices can be variable based on many factors).

Measurement and verification allows you to:

  • Prioritize projects that are bringing your building savings, and cut the projects that aren’t performing well.
  • Persuade funders with proven ROI estimates to go forward with your project – so your plans are not left in limbo.
  • Hold energy services companies accountable for energy savings they may have promised you.

 

The main steps in the process include:

  1.      Selecting target areas to create a baseline for your analysis
  2.      Identifying your most effective energy projects
  3.      Calculating energy savings and estimated ROI
  4.      Expanding deployment of your best projects + continuing to monitor results

 

Why Utility Data is Not Enough for Accurate Measurement and Verification

Working with inaccurate measurement and verification calculations is like driving with the wrong road map. Unfortunately, this is the reality for many building engineers, since relying on utility bills alone can lead to many inaccuracies.

Say you performed an air conditioning efficiency upgrade, but then your monthly bill was much higher than you expected. With only one data point for the whole month, you would be left guessing and may incorrectly assume the new system was ineffective.

With measurement and verification, you are interested in isolating the influence of an energy project or retrofit. Weather, occupancy, and equipment issues – to name a few – can all vary greatly in a month. These factors can all be hidden by your utility bills leading you to the wrong conclusions.  

 

How Real-Time Data Simplifies Measurement and Verification

Real-time data gives you full transparency into your building operations. Instead of 12 data points in one year, you can gain instant access to 12 points in 12 minutes. This allows you to match up consumption spikes to exactly when they were actually occurring, helping you to accurately attribute changes to specific causes.

Think back to the example about the new air conditioning system and the high monthly bill.  With real-time data, you could see that your HVAC consumption spiked in the start of the month, and your building consumed less than baseline thereafter. By looking at the dates you could quickly attribute the spikes to being caused by the heat wave that occurred, and conclude that your new chillers were indeed saving your building energy after all.

Another major benefit of real-time energy data is that you’ll have remote access to your information. Real-time data is aggregated onto an online platform, so you’ll never have to enter your basement again to analyze energy data. With instant access, you’ll also be able to continuously monitor the performance of a project. If you need immediate feedback to settle a purchasing decision, the data is ready for you right away – no more waiting around.

You need measurement and verification to get your projects financed, but monthly utility data leaves you in the dark with too few data points.  Real-time data helps you perform measurement and verification accurately, simply, and on your schedule – curing your measurement and verification headache.

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CRE Tech, energy savings project, measurement and verification, real-time energy data

About The Author

As the Content Marketing Specialist, Roger LeBlanc coordinates communication and outreach for Aquicore. As a LEED Green Associate, Roger is passionate about supporting climate change solutions in the built environment.

Previously he was the Energy Outreach Coordinator for George Mason University, where he managed campaigns surrounding behavior change for building tenants. Roger graduated with a B.A. in Environmental Sustainability Studies with a concentration in Policy and Politics. Currently Roger is pursuing a M.A. in Science Communication at George Mason University.