Energy Management, location.location & location ?

They say three things matter in marketing : location, location and location - which I think is an exercise in exaggeration.  However there are three ways in which location is utterly critical to energy management in buildings.

Geographic Location

This can be pretty precisely defined in terms of latitude and longitude and (since buildings sit on the surface of the earth) generally this defines altitude above sea level, which can be telling in terms of temperature, solar gain ( mist is very height sensitive), air pressure, wind speed and direction and so on. 

In short location determines weather on a global and local scale. And weather is why we heat and cool buildings ! - In fact weather is why we have buildings ! To quote from our weather provider meteoblue (we merge their data with client energy data)

High resolution means that there is always a meteoblue weather forecast close to you - closer than 2 km in Central Europe, closer than 8 km in all of Europe and North America, and closer than 11 km in Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia. Forecasts are further adapted to each location by meteoblue downscaling methods. meteoblue forecasts extend to 5-7 days, with hourly detail for every location. This detail is also available for the atmosphere, for the entire continent, and for the sea surface covered in the respective forecasting domain. 14-day forecasts are also available.

Naturally it helps if the location is neatly documented :

It seems with facilities as powerful as the Google Maps API to hand - a simple first stage for any energy manager is to document exactly where each of their properties is located.  They should be able to download on demand a list of exact co-ordinates.  This can be of assistance not only to the energy manager, but for all manner of services (delivery of materials A - B, client access "how to get here", operations etc), but as it is utterly critical to energy management, it is not optional in any half-adequate energy management suite.

Physical Location Context

As an energy manager it is not sufficient to know where a building is to be found - we have had one client "lose a tower block" - local government in Britain is not perfect :)  

An energy manager must also have an awareness and appreciation of significant local geography and topography. Two identical hotels (one in the middle of town, one on the north shore of a lake) are identically built - benchmark target performance is the same.  However, in winter after a clear night (cold) the sun rises low on the southern horizon and reflection in the lake gives a double dose of solar gain (hot).  So on cloudless mornings in winter, none building has higher cooling loads than the other continually shaded building! 

Where I live (near Brienz) the effect of Foehn winds is famous (also known by numerous other names locally - Chinook, Favonio, Garnoosh, Helny, Helm) - a simple change in wind direction can lift air temperatures locally by 20 Celsius in as short as half an hour.  These are similar but not identical to dry deserts winds like the Santa Ana.

An energy manager with no appreciation for physical weather vs. statistical weather has little chance of understanding some of the distortions that physical circumstance  can create (simply predominant wind direction or sea fogs can be significant).

Physical aspect

The third sense in which location is critical is the internal building location. Trapped heat rises, requiring de-stratification to keep the top and bottom of a building comfortable. Sun and shade effect different fa├žades at different times of day and year. Wind direction can play havoc with Air-handling equipment (how often does a warm outlet feed into an intake creating false chilling demand through unwitting air recirculation?

So - when a marketing man says it is about location, location and location - an energy manager can upstage him every time!