For property managers and building engineers, the temperature outside is more than just small talk at the water cooler. It can mean the difference for making your annual targets and advancing your bottom line. Weather normalization ensures that the changing weather stays out of the way of energy analysis. Accounting for weather can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be.
Weather normalization is a process that adjusts actual energy consumption or peak outcomes to what would have happened under normal weather conditions. By running a regression to remove weather as a variable, an energy manager can assess consumption between two time periods.
When you want to compare energy consumption from one time period to another – fluctuations in temperature must be taken into account. When comparing August to May, your building will be using more energy to cool the building due to the late summer humidity.
In many instances, you will want to understand how your building is influenced by factors other than weather. To fully grasp the effects, you will have to remove weather as a variable in your analysis. Having access to historical data allows you to create a normalized baseline to measure your success – so that your team understands how your building is actually running.
Countless energy projects require energy normalization for measurement and verification. For example, you may install new insulation in your building to save on HVAC costs during cold winter months. Without weather normalization, it would be impossible to know if the upgrade made your building more efficient or the change in energy consumption was caused by that particular winter. If this winter is warmer than the last, you won’t be able to isolate the savings you gained with the new insulation from the savings with the warmer temperatures.
With weather normalization, you can confidently state the return on investment for the insulation. This allows you to clearly communicate the value of your work and gain recognition for your energy management program. This increases the likelihood that more energy projects will be approved for funding in the future.
Most importantly, it allows you to know how well your project performed. This is critical for effectively choosing which projects to expand and replicate. Without the historical knowledge of what works well in your building, you will have to continue guessing instead of moving forward to reach more energy savings.
You may have calculated weather normalization before. The standard system of the past was to manually look up the heating degree days and cooling degree days for the range of time you were interested in. Many energy managers then calculated the weather normalization with pen and paper. This method can be time consuming and it can create many opportunities for human error.
New CRE Technology can completely transform the process, with 100% automation. This new technology allows you to layer normalized weather data over your energy consumption trends – giving you instant visibility into meaningful data. Weather normalization automation increases accuracy of calculations and saves you a significant amount of time – getting you back to more value-creation projects.
Above is an example of weather normalization on an energy management software. The yellow line represents weather. Dark blue represent your building’s actual consumption, and the light blue represents consumption normalized for weather. Without normalization you may incorrectly assume that your building was running less efficiently in June compared to May, but the weather normalization trend shows us that June was actually more efficient.
Convinced that you want to enhance your weather normalization process? All you need is a full year of historical energy data. This can be in the form of meter data for your building or utility bill data that you can upload to your software platform.
Currently many platforms normalize weather for the building as whole, so investing in submetering is not required for this process. Submetering, however, has numerous other benefits for your energy program.
With so many variables, weather normalization can be a complicated step of any energy project. It’s also an incredibly important step for accurate measurement and verification to gain funding for future projects. Utilizing new CRE technology can make this an accurate and efficient stage of your process.