Problem 1: Energy is a Mystery to Most People

This is the second in a series of five posts.

In the last post, we outlined four people problems with energy:  energy is mysterious; costs are not big enough for most CFO’s to focus on and costs are invisible to most everybody else; energy management requires basic management skill; and it takes effort to harvest good stories that we need to build will and enthusiasm.

Let’s start with the mystery problem because energy experts may sometimes forget that most people don’t understand energy.

If you asked most people about the buildings they work in, they won’t have any sense of how much energy their building uses and where that energy comes from.  Most people don’t know about seasonal patterns in energy use or whether their building is using more or less energy than it did one or two years ago.  Most people don’t know the actions that have been or might be taken to use energy most intelligently in their building.

If people don’t understand energy, they are less likely to make good decisions to use energy wisely.  They may even avoid making decisions about energy–it’s just too complicated and it always takes a toll to make good decisions when you have to swim through complexity.   Of course the mystery problem is connected to the money problem, too, which we’ll discuss in the next post.

Here are three ways Energy Stewards makes energy less mysterious.   Our web platform means the energy information is just a click away.

1. You can see the energy used by each building over time, in graphs.  You begin to see how much energy is used month by month and how the pattern of use changes over time.

2. You can compare the energy use of buildings in your group.  Energy Stewards gives you a multiple graph view makes it easy to see unusual patterns within and between buildings.  All the graphs in a display use the same scale based on square feet so you can concentrate on the shape of the time series points.

3. The main Buildings page shows the buildings in your group ranked by change in energy use from a baseline year. This display gives you a quick sense of which buildings are using less energy and which buildings are using more energy compared to baseline (the graphs of the energy use are just a click away to give you more insight.)   Energy Stewards uses ENERGY STAR® calculations for weather-normalized site energy use and figures out percent change between a baseline year set by your project leader and the most recent 12 months.

Next post:  Next time we’ll focus on the cost problem.   Stay tuned.

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