You collected your old utility data. Check. It’s in your energy management platform. Now what?
Although collecting old utility data is a helpful exercise, you will only start creating value once you start using this data to take action. Historical data serves as a baseline to accurately track your building’s progress as you make improvements so that you can identify the most effective changes.
Here are the best ways to utilize your historical data for better building operations.
You want each step you take to make a difference in your building’s energy efficiency. Historical data adds context to the way your building consumes energy. Say you add smart windows that respond to the light that hits your building. Historical energy data will show the difference that these new windows make to your overall building energy consumption year-over-year. This will give you a better idea of your overall return on investment, rather than providing a snapshot of the change in consumption since you installed real-time monitoring. This additional context ensures you quantify the total value add of the new windows and eliminates the possibility that the results were caused by other factors, like seasonal changes.
Have you tracked your building’s performance over time? Compared its performance to other similar buildings?
If not, it’s time for you to scope benchmarking into your operations plan. Benchmarking tracks your energy use over time to establish how well or poorly your building is performing. Some municipal and state governments now require certain types of buildings to submit their annual energy data for benchmarking. This process establishes how one building uses energy compared to other similar use buildings in the area, thereby encouraging key stakeholders to make adjustments to improve their buildings.
But how does this add value to your building? By recognizing ways that your building’s performance can be improved, you’ll be able to take steps to make your building more efficient. In the building efficiency world, knowledge is key; with additional data and transparency into utility resource consumption, you will know where your building falls short and how you can improve. Gathering historical data and comparing it to your real-time data will enable you to identify trends in your consumption over the course of the year, allowing you to make seasonal adjustments to cut back on your energy waste – which means you’re reducing your energy bill as well.
If you happen to have historical interval data, you can take more decisive actions than with monthly utility data. Some utilities offer Green Button data that you can download from their platform. This information can then be uploaded to an energy management system that allows you to overlay your energy data from last year with your real-time energy data. This will improve your ability to quantify the results of the changes that you made.
Historical utility consumption data is extremely important to achieve the best energy management program. When combined with real-time data, key decision-makers have the context they need to make strategic changes to their building operations while more accurately quantifying the value that each energy efficiency project creates. As data gains recognition as the key differentiator for extraordinary building operators and managers, historical data will be even more vital to building management. Get on board with historical utility data before your building gets left behind.