Problem 4: How can you tell your story at low cost?

This is the last in a series of five posts.

In this series of posts, we’re discussing four people problems with energy:   (1) energy is mysterious; (2) dollar costs are not big enough for many CFO’s to focus on and costs are invisible to almost everybody else; (3) energy management requires basic management skill; and (4) it takes effort to harvest good stories that we need to build will and enthusiasm to get more people on board.

Now it’s time to focus on problem 4–documenting improvement to build will and enthusiasm.

What’s the story you can tell?  Show how your actions have reduced energy use and costs in one or more buildings, driven by actions to use energy more intelligently.  If you can add pictures or videos, even better!

Here’s an example.  Start with the Building list, choose the building with the greatest improvement–in this case, Palmer-Johnson Power Systems LLC.

On the Palmer Johnson home page, the thumbnail graphs show that energy use is coming down over time, supporting the Energy Use number, a 38.5% decrease in energy use from baseline.

Click on the View Details button to get more ingredients:  weather normalized energy use and energy-saving actions.  (If a building is one of the 15 types of buildings rated by ENERGY STAR, we show the ENERGY STAR rating number, month by month)

Energy Stewards gets weather normalized numbers from ENERGY STAR, which takes into account month-to-month air temperatures variations. We then make a graph of this adjusted energy intensity, month by month.  Each dot on the graph shows total 12 months energy use divided by square feet for the year ending at the dot’s month.  The energy intensity has dropped from more than 100 in January 2009 to a little less than 70 in July 2011–and that’s the meaning of the 38.5% decrease in energy from baseline.

The green arrows on the graphs tie to the actions taken by Palmer Johnson people to reduce energy.   The darker the green, the more the actions.   Here’s what you see when you click on the darkest green arrow:

If an actions is underlined, that means users have added more information about the change  in the Forum:

The Forum function gives you a way to add documentation–photos, text or spreadsheet reports and links to additional information like video clips, too.

So that’s a quick introduction to how you can use Energy Stewards to tell a building’s energy story without much effort:  grab the headline information on better use of energy over time, and show the links to who did what, when.    Visitors can follow the story themselves live on the web or you can make a short screen cast or take screen shots, like I did here.

Summary of this series   This post wraps up our five-part series on the people problems with energy.   Energy Stewards is designed to help take the mystery out of energy, make costs visible, support a Plan-Do-Study-Act management cycle, and capture the story of your successes.   We’ll keep posting examples and ideas on this theme!


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