Energy Efficiency Needs More Data Management
(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Management guru Peter Drucker famously said: “You can't manage what you can't measure.” Reliable data lies at the core of smart decision-making. However, when it comes to energy efficiency, many companies lack in advanced resources and tools to measure and manage data. This severely limits visibility into the performance of their corporate sustainability initiatives.
According to the International Energy Agency’s 2014 Tracking Clean Energy Progress report, this insufficiency is an ongoing obstacle to tracking and assessing the progress of energy efficiency improvements. Energy Star, a voluntary program of the U.S. EPA to help businesses save money through energy efficiency, offers energy tracking tools to smaller companies that do not have the resources to invest in custom data management software and systems.
If a company is able to accurately determine the financial value of its energy management, it will not only motivate themto do more, but also encourageinvestors, consumers and other stakeholders to recognize the company for its commitment to sustainability.
A recent Urjanet survey of nearly 200 U.S. energy executives reveals that while companies in general want to improve efficiency in their energy management process, they often lack resources and tools to pursue this goal more effectively. Dependence on outdated tools and processes to collect and manage data limits visibility into project performance, even though more than 50 percent of executives surveyed by Urjanet said they are committed to energy efficiency projects.
Forty percent of respondents said they obtain paper utility bills from service providers, and 51 percent said they manually input data from utility bills into spreadsheets. Meanwhile, 60 percent said that insufficient resources to complete energy projects would be their biggest energy management challenge in 2016.
Inefficient tools and processes make it difficult to assess sustainability project outcomes. While 28 percent of respondents use software to calculate savings on energy projects, 34 percent said an inability to validate ROI was the least efficient aspect of their energy management process. Fourteen percent do not bother even trying to calculate savings.
According to Sanjoy Malik, CEO at Urjanet, while energy prices, infrastructure and regulatory changes are typically beyond the control of energy managers, what they can control are the tools and processes they use to manage energy projects. By automating data collection and analysis, companies can reduce costs and increase visibility into project performance.
Image Credit: Flickr via Siemens nv/SA