When the goal is to reduce the size of your utility bills, using operating schedules can eliminate waste. Enormous savings are possible with even small adjustments.
Now you’re thinking, isn’t interval data sufficient for scheduling? While interval data can give you many insights, this information is only accessible at best an entire day later. Real-time energy data can improve the process in the following ways.
A building’s baseload is the amount of energy consumed when the building is unoccupied – usually at night or over the weekend. The off-hour use is attributed to safety lights and other necessary mechanical equipment, or a building not being fully shut down properly.
An efficient building has a low baseload with minimal energy consumption. If the baseload is high, there are many operational changes you can implement for easy energy savings. For example, you can perform nighttime setbacks, where you set your thermostat settings 8-10 degrees warmer during summer nights. You can then use energy analytics software to see exactly how long it takes for your building to recover in the morning to maximize comfort and savings.
On average 20-30% of a building’s water use is during non working hours. A large private real estate company found $80K in identified annual savings by optimizing their properties’ water operating schedules.
Without clear data, information on baseloads is nearly impossible to estimate. Real-time data gives you access to consumption constantly, enabling you to identify your baseload quickly and easily. However, interval data has a delay in data accessibility, which means you miss important potential savings.
Once you have identified your optimal schedule, it’s important to continuously monitor your baseload to prevent operational stray.
Let’s say thermostat settings were adjusted last night due to a late fundraiser in your building. The next morning, you need to verify that the schedule has been reset to avoid energy waste. With real-time data, you could either identify this high energy use immediately or receive an alert on the energy consumption spike, allowing you to resolve the issue immediately.
With interval data, you would have to remember to manually download the data a whole 24 hours after the fundraiser. In this time, your utility bills have already suffered a huge spike in high heating or cooling costs. According to the Department of Energy, a 1-point thermostat difference for eight hours can represent 1% of your energy costs, so a small change in temperature can make a big difference.
Keep imagining this late fundraiser scenario. If you have access to real-time data, you would easily remember why consumption was high and you could quickly move on to accomplishing other energy tasks. If you received a delayed interval data report, you may waste precious time investigating the cause of the spike by either checking equipment for problems, or by talking to other staff members about what occurred in the building.
A property manager shouldn’t have to do detective work when an energy analytics software can do this work for you. Real-time data helps you quickly identify baseloads, prevents operational stray, and reduces the need for excessive internal communication – getting you back to working on what’s most important.