Obligatory Waste and Patio Heaters

There are three types of wasteful that I can think of ( there may be more ? ). 

Most buildings (and people) exhibit all three to a greater or lessor extent and do so at the same time, for different reasons. Confusion between these reasons prevents appropriate action to eliminate waste. So although the difference between them is on the face of it very obvious I will really emphasize these differences to make them very clear...

 "Waste not, want not. Save by presevring Now
Photo Credit Wikipedia

Waste Types

Thoughtless waste

When you leave the door open during winter and let all the weather come tumbling into your reception area, you are practicing behavioural waste. Well insulated boundaries of your building are easily bypassed by a few ounces of thoughtlessness.  Thoughtless waste trumps good construction (or building planning).

Planned Waste

You may have the door closed to keep the weather out, but when you had your building designed to such a poor specification you were (perhaps inadvertently) planning for waste. Such buildings may as well be in the open air for all the difference that closing the door makes. Planned Waste trumps righteous thinking.

Both of these forms of waste imply spending resources to heat up outside and you only have to fail at one to suffer the impact. This leads us to the third form of waste...

Obligatory Waste and Patio Heaters

patio heater
patio heater (Photo credit: jasonwoodhead23)
During a period of dramatic climate change accidental waste is almost as stupid as using patio heaters ! Why only "almost" ? - because astonishingly the patio heater was perfectly designed to promote climate change !

But it isn't just patio heaters - "obligatory waste" is rampant.

Other forms of obligatory waste include decorative lights that burn all night (because we must put up Christmas decorations - and only scrooge would want to save the planet!), food waste ( we need to over-provide to be content and obesity equals happiness ? ),  driving children to school when there is a school bus or better a safe cycle route to ride (because responsible parents need their children to suffer early heart disease ? ), and finally and most wantonly that marketing mans dream - buying gifts for people who have "everything they need" but for whom you feel "obliged to waste something" . And the list goes on...

These last types of stupidity are often socially driven and suggests our society is wholly immature. We are conditioned to consume and if we cannot consume then we simply demand and dispose of the excess that we cannot use.
A World War II poster encouraging kitchen wast...
A World War II poster encouraging kitchen waste to feed animals.
What went wrong ???
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is deliberately throwing energy away - in the interest of achieving a questionable marketing effect really wise ? I say questionable, because very soon, (I hope) this sort of nonsense will be considered socially reprehensible, and then it will be criminalized and finally it may be stopped.

The only real cures for obligatory waste are an escalation of educational context and social discipline, from gentle encouragement, through social ridicule on wards to compulsory instruction and ultimately if necessary harsh punishment.  Our great grandchildren may end up screaming for execution for even the thought crime of waste!

Humanity knows it is screwing up the climate (apart from those with clear political agendas, and perhaps a few outliers  whose ignorance and inability to face reality is hard to fathom or beyond the pale). 

BTW "beyond the pale" refers to a paling fence or demarcation line to delineate gettos, as a reprehensible social engineering tool (typically anti-semitic or pro-anglo-saxon) it is revolting. So I do not mean it as a racist comment, but use it deliberately to refer to a class of people to whom we must become intolerant in the common interest (including theirs).

However, this was not where this blog post goes. I wanted to make a simpler point.
If you want to fix "Planned Waste" then you had best address "Thoughtless Waste" first. Why - because the first can be bought but not bought well in the context of the other, and the other must be learned - and cannot be bought at any price.

If thoughtless waste is addressed, it comes at the princely price of a penny - as in "a penny for your thoughts". So payback is immediate and it clears noise away so that investment in reducing "Planned Waste" can be made in the context of a reasonable operation. Please remember that thoughtless waste includes, not turning down thermostats, not adjusting time-clocks and making unfounded assumptions about needs.

Regarding the last "Obligatory Waste" -  can only say that the obligations are rules made to be broken. Waste is always wanton. So preventing waste always allows the actor access to the higher ground.

A few people saying no I won't sit under heaters designed to heat outdoors makes some direct difference, but a social movement of intolerance towards profligacy is overdue and undervalued - but "the times they are a-changing"

Related articles

Can it be that Google said - Too hard let's go home?

Is advertising better managed than engineering ?

I want to consider this apparently absurd notion in light of three quotations of wisdom that people find at first slightly ironic. Each of these rings a bell of obvious inner truth that we recognize instantly and trust.

So as a passionate engineer I will argue that yes - advertising is better managed than engineering (buckle up ! ) ...

Waste,waste everywhere, we never stop to think

Coleridge wrote with the famous line

"Water, water, every where,Nor any drop to drink."

English: Samuel Taylor Coleridge at age 42.
English: Samuel Taylor Coleridge at age 42. Wikipedia)

Where our hero is blamed for their desperate thirst with sea water all around.  You might feel like me a more relevant modern take would be...

EnergyStar claims 2nd Law Thermodynamics wrong !

Look for this logo when considering your new r...
Look for this logo when considering your new roofing materials (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If you consider the question :

How much energy is wasted in buildings ?

read in light of the EPA brochure Energy Star by the EPA, pretty soon you are faced with a nonsense that appears to be systematically overlooked.

The brochure claims:

 'The Average Building' Wastes 30% of the Energy It Consumes'.

George Interviewed at Leweb by Digitalia

This is what George has to say about us with at LeWeb Paris

George is the most recent member of our full time team, studied product design and has energetically run his own solar company before being enticed over to join us, with promises of hard work, no pay and only the very occasional reward of sharing a beer with some great start-ups in Paris.

If George keeps at it we will be reaping such rewards as he builds relationships all over the globe!

Please give George some feedback below - this is his first ever radio interview and I think he nailed it !

You can follow George here:

We decided to split news into a separate account this week, because increasingly we need to manage PR related issues in parallel with business

kWIQly PItches LeWeb

Today a very brief post.

Yesterday I pitched our solution to LeWeb in Paris - Six minutes of pure adrenalin and some Q&A.

Please give feedback - we need to know what to work on !

What is an energy manager ?

Perhaps, it is someone who sees the ravages of storms and heatwaves, drought and floods or disease an malnutrition as things that will come, but that can be kept to a minimum. This someone cares about the reputation of their company, about money, and doing a job well, and about the earth their grandchildren will inherit.

So an energy manager is someone who takes care. We should all care and all be energy managers, but from the professional more is required. What more is there beyond caring ?

A manager lacking the authority to act or delegate is useless.

A little discomfort goes a long way

Sustainable energy - wood stacked for drying
Dried (three-year old ) wood near Niederried
What happens when two worlds collide ?

The nineteenth century and earlier is one,

the future and thereafter is the other.

We can characterize these with numerous technological changes - but the biggest change is inherently human - laziness !

Energy Saving - Balance Temperature - Yes / No?

"Rules of thumb" develop lives of their own.

Some need to be slain at birth; while others have "legs". 

Balance point temperature...

Should we send it to the naughty step - or run it up a flagpole so we can salute it ?

Smart Metered Energy Savings - Size Matters!

How big is too big ?

Suppose,you were a really, really good energy manager.You would know that almost every boiler and chiller on the planet is far too big for the job intended. 

Bigness is not a virtue in efficiency circles. But how big is too big ?

Imagine that your faithful smart meter, diligently logged consumption daily and plotted it on a chart. Really smart energy managers would use kWIQly to do this.  It might look like this.

Graph of Energy Consumption and Savings potential

I think it is fairly clear that on two occasions in the past two years, these boilers have been maintained.  Those monstrous spikes are when the boiler was being fired manually.

So are these boilers "Just big enough for the job required" - or are they "a wee bit more".

I would like to exaggerate and say these boilers are immeasurably over-sized - but they aren't. They are very accurately measurably over-sized.  

The funny thing  in Switzerland and Germany where they are "supposed to be" very environmentally conscious - is that they also REALLY like reliability so they make everything in the heating department way too big.

The inevitable result is inefficient operation. (Boilers are much less efficient on low load).

So if you really need to think for more than a microsecond about whether Smart meters (however badly named) are a smart idea - then I hope this helped a little !

If you would like me to explain why boilers are so inefficienct on low load - just ask - meanwhile here is a much more interesting blog post

How 'nifty' relates to saving energy

Goya : Art expressing the effect of a sleep of reason
Goya : The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters
We are IT engineers not linguists, but in terms of human languages between the two of us in the IT team we have a command a command of english, german, dutch, norwegian, french and spanish. 

Being able to communicate effectively is essential for IT staff. They should be encouraged to blog !

We have a thing called DSLs - Domain Specific Languages (so DSL is basically geek jargon for jargon).  

A nifty DSL is apt -and well suited to the task being just as terse and / or expressive as it needs to be - but where does the word "nifty" come from ? ...

LeWeb manages energy in Paris - How so ?

LeWeb Logo
Add caption - Go on try !
Win free trip to their website :)
Hi again fair reader !

I just wanted to let you know that (whether you are in fact fair or not) - We are honoured to have been chosen as one of the sixteen startup finalists for LeWeb in Paris 4th, 5th, 6th December 2012.  

Do You care about Sustainability ?

Today an opinion piece guest post by : Evelyn Robinson

I hope you enjoy this rather more than my usual posts, and if so don't forget to comment at the bottom of the page !

Let the World Know that you Care about Sustainability

To remain green should always be done primarily for altruistic reasons rather than to increase profitability but that is not to say that there is anything wrong with a business spreading the news of its concern for sustainability in order to boost its public image. The problem is that some companies lack the know-how to do this effectively, meaning that their good work can often go unrecognised. Communicating sustainability credentials can often be fraught with pitfalls so here is a quick guide to doing it as successfully as possible.

Preventing overtly flappy action !

So we've been invited to DevFest courtesy of Google  this weekend

Doubtless fun will be had at the Googleplex even if this video is a couple of years old now (but still cool)

This means that Andreas  ( Andreas on kWIQly Team Page ) and I get to drink coffee, learn stuff

Green Deal vs ISO 50001 Slapdown

Hi all

This one is fun if you are more into UK dominance of the world than international  standards bodies - do share it with anyone you know involved with The Green Deal.

Yesterday I posted on  ISO 50001 Where do I start ?  and today I wondered if the Green Deal is penetrating the "noggins" of people who search on Google.

It appears it is - Below is an embedded image and this is a World Search context - You can click to enlarge , and on on the face of my energy blog (at the top - I will move it later :) you will see a live widget - so it will be fun to see how this develops ;

DON'T forget to bookmark and share this if you think its fun.

DO make any comments you like below this post - How do you interpret that exponential hockey-stick?

and if you would like me to look up trends for some other energy related interest - just let me know.

BTW - I put "kWIQly" in and I'm afraid we don't register much on this scale
 - YET !

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ISO-50001 - Where do I start ?

Do you need to :   "Win the energy challenge with ISO-50001" ?

Before we offer any help - you may want to familiarise yourself - so why not read what ISO have to say about it ! 
ISO 50001 Win the energy Challenge - Introduction
Free introduction direct from website

How you can I achieve ISO 50001 compliance ?

We can help ! 

But first we should help you understand your priorities - we will then match your needs however you define them !

This article gives you a five-minute starter on the subject and may lead you to some resources that can significantly help you in your goal.

- We hope so !

How hard is it ?

ISO 50001 is drafted to be as inclusive as possible, which means that organisations can approach compliance in at least three ways:
  1. Audit by accreditation or registration body for certification.
  2. Internal verification of compliance (self-certification)
  3. Client assessment - usually as a trade condition.
It is very important to understand that whichever of these methods is chosen, the key benefit is from conformance ! 

And, just as you would not expect to pass an exam without preparation and learning, you will not be found to comply to ISO-50001 by chance.

You may wish to purchase the standard directly :

However we will provide an introductory view may be that you are already doing much of what is required - and that you can adapt only as necessary.

What is ISO 50001 all about ?
ISO 50001 is a specification created by the International Organization for Standardization for an energy management system, which specifies requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining and improving an energy management system, whose purpose is to enable an organization to follow a systematic approach in achieving continual improvement of energy performance, including energy efficiency, energy security, energy use and consumption.
(courtesy  ISO Catalogue description ) 
The process of compliance is based on four inter-related exercises:
Which form a :

 "continual improvement framework and incorporates energy management into everyday organizational practices"
  • Plan
  • Do
  • Check
  • Act
These are listed in order, but necessarily in any organisation there is a work flow that means that while planning take place in one area, action may be required elsewhere. This aspect of time and organisational management is we believe the major issue faced by energy managers world-wide. We go as far as to say that if you do not have the means to track the above, in different places and at different times, then much of your energy management effort and time is likely to be wasted.

This is not just our opinion - it is so much the case that a schematic indicating this is used by ISO to represent the management process in this context.
ISO 50001 Energy Management Process - How to save energy

Energy management system model for this International Standard (Courtesy ISO)
  •  Plan: conduct the energy review and establish the baseline, energy performance indicators (EnPIs), objectives, targets and action plans necessary to deliver results that will improve energy performance in accordance with the organization's energy policy;
  •  Do: implement the energy management action plans;
  •  Check: monitor and measure processes and the key characteristics of operations that determine energy performance against the energy policy and objectives, and report the results;
  •  Act: take actions to continually improve energy performance and the EnMS.

Now - How can we help ?

To be clear we will be delighted if you wish to drop us a line, but to save you time, it may be worth understanding how we approach the subject.

is essential, but can involve a huge amount of paperwork, spreadsheets and similar. Alternatively, a huge amount can be automated if you have your main utilities monitored by smart-meter.

This means the "bottom-line" numbers in terms of energy are available in high resolution accessible formats. Not only does that mean your data is organised and secure (a requirement), but it also means that your reporting aspects are covered, without any need for manual intervention.
So you can produce charts like this at the drop of a hat : 

Pattern Recognition to identify energy saving opportunity
Weekly performance assessment - automated by kWIQly (Click to Enlarge)

Naturally planning is essential - but we have come up with a way to automate the planning process as we can now measure waste directly from smart-meter data (we use pattern-recognition techniques that are proven but remain proprietary). This means that given a portfolio of buildings, we can not only automate the planning process to target provably achievable objectives, we can roll-the plan forward on a continual basis, tightening conformance parameters automatically as progress is made. Note - your preferences are required based in planning process)

Even the entry level version of kWIQly incorporates automated anomaly identification that considers your available time-resources so that you are not overwhelmed and prioritizes tasks so the time you have available is best applied. Reminders can be scheduled, a ticketing system tracks open items, and a complete audit trail is available for every metered point.

The system is integrated - As soon as a target is set (automatically to define continual achievable progress) or manually if desired (for reasons the system cannot automatically interpret - e.g. budgetary considerations, or imminent organisational change). Tracking commences immediately. When the  pre-set tolerances are exceeded notifications are added to the tracking system, that can be forwarded to the relevant party. A dashboard of EnPIs - (  ISO term for KPI's ) is available on a continual basis, that supports rouine or ad-hoc monitoring and report generation

The difference between DO and ACT can be unclear in a continual management system for energy.  The reason is that in the process of addressing problems, (implementing the plan) a continual stream of awareness should be feeding into better practice.

We think it important that any energy management team can state unequivocally five things:

  1. We know the targets and tolerances within which we manage, and how they are set.
  2. When we outperform targets, we have the means to find why and repeat it, where possible.
  3. When something goes wrong we can track; the occurrence, duration, impact and probably causes, together with communications between responsible parties.
  4. We have criteria relating to cost of inaction that are used to justify innovative energy savings measures.
  5. We have access to expert support when we need it.
If you think being able to demonstrate these would help you achieve ISO-50001 compliance please contact us

We hope can be of further help!

Endnote on Accreditation:

You will not be "ISO certified" by ISO even if you succeed. You may be certified by a certification body to ISO-50001 , but none carry the imprimatur of ISO.

ISO spell this out in no uncertain terms... 
ISO does not perform certification
ISO develops International Standards, including management system standards such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 31000. However, it is not involved in the certification to any of the standards it develops. Certification is performed by external certification bodies, which are largely private. Therefore a company or organization cannot be certified by ISO. - for more details:
Internation Accreditation Forum

If considering accreditation - you should ensure the certification body implements "ISO/IEC 17021:2011, Conformity assessment –Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification management systems" 
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A patronising post on energy savings

So today a rewarding look at a couple of charts to look at ( not as immensely boring as it sounds) ...

But first  - Imagine if you will, that you had previously been in contact with us - the upshot being that for a very reasonable price you would be well served in the whole saving energy effectively department. Aren't you lucky - you (being wiser than most) can save time by not reading the rest of this post.

However, for the rest of you, it is only fair we tell a little about the things in energy management that excite us most.

Picture of a pie and pint taken for enwiki-p's...
A "pie and pint"  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Consider for a moment a pub, not just any pub, but a "better" pub. If you have been paying attention you will also know that boiler energy saving is like running a bar !

BTW - a word to the wise ! -  If you have not been there do have a look - firstly for the *ahem* brilliance of the analogy it offers, and secondly for the wonderful picture at the top of the post.

You have to love a disaster it - clearly he does ! 

And what is better than running a better pub I hear you ask (rhetorically) ? -
"Why - drinking in a better pub of course ! "

So, the problem today is as ever how to address the problem
- How do I get to be sitting in a better pub ?

The answer naturally is that as an energy manager - you need one of three things :

a) A better job
b) If a) is not available - more respect in the job you have
c) Failing a) and b) - you need to gain respect.

And that is why we are here ...
If you did so (that is - click to enlarge) you will have seen that the chart above is of a pub. The energy use to be precise - if you are smart you will be able to figure out when they are open. (And this is why you should know it's a pub!)

The faint line at the top is the most this pub spends (by hour of week).  The green is what it should be using if all is well under the current conditions - and the red - Well the red is the current weeks level of "spillage". That which is to be avoided!
OK - I was just kidding ! - naturally the chart doesn't show you when they are open. It does show you when they are using energy, and that is not the same thing !

If you are observant you will see that the energy use is "even better than ideal" on Tuesday evening - In other words - a mistake !

Since nobody changed the time-clocks for Daylight Savings Time.

The mice are cosy before the pub opens, and the punters are cold when they leave in the evening.

What is that ugly red spike at  ?

The ugly red-spike is a boiler boosting hot water to above its necessary temperature.  We know this because it then switches on and off all day.  This is known as slow dry cycling - the load does not warrant the activity - so the boiler overheats the system, then slowly cools down before doing the same again.

If it just did a little when it was needed - it would cost less, the room temperature would be more stable (more comfortable - and less likely that someone opens the door for a bit of fresh air - as often happens in autumn).

Now there are lots more things I could tell you - like the implications of the high load line over-night (maybe I'll post on that another day)...

So you reward for having got this far is that you are better informed (maybe) - or perhaps more likely - you disagree with drinking beer  - in which case please feel free to express yourself elsewhere !
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Tame the wild stallion

OK - people are complaining about the temperature.
English: Feral stallions fighting for dominanc...
Feral stallions fighting for dominance of a herd of mares. . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you are heating you either need to heat more or heat less.
If you are cooling you either need to cool more or cool less.

If you are doing both - you have a problem !

Collectively people have a problem - they can't make their mind up.
You need to help people make up their minds ...

First they must know that you can only offer collective comfort, not personalized comfort if they share a space.

Most of the time in most buildings there is some heating and some cooling going on because some people are too hot while others are too cold. Even if these are in different places opposites attract !

People don't complain that it is too stable (this is your ally ) - they want change - they always want change. but they only want gradual change - only they just don't realise.  So calm, deliberate, firm decisions pays off - like calming a wild horse

The best way is to do less - 
Gentle on My Mind (song)
Gentle on My Mind (song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And do what you do - gently!

They want it hotter - offer to turn down the cooling - it takes a while to cool a building - (much longer than the time it takes for a cup of tea to cool down) - explain this to them. So turn it down slightly - as near to the source of heat or chill as possible... and ... then... wait !

They want it cooler - it's the same only different - It takes time for ice to melt:)

When you are not heating and cooling at the same time and same place - you are doing far less - there is far less to get wrong - so have a rest.

Comfort is stable, and fresher and calm - so give it time, tame the wild stallion.

They want it faster - but balance is a fine art - if your art is appreciated - there is always time to get it right. Take your time.
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Waste problem? FG Answers - BE ON FIRE?

Yes, @FAKEGRIMLOCK. came to the right page to find out how climate-change can be fixed - but soon our thoughts were invaded by his awesome  GIANT ROBOT - this is what happened...

He generally "lectures" on lean business start-ups', and attitudes for success and efficiency in general and as you will see, he is generally a CAPITAL fellow :)

We will see how this applies to Climate-Change.

Be aware -  has some interesting teaching methods like eating people he doesn't like - or who just don't get it !

So take my advice - you should probably read about him here : 

Having got that bit of gratuitous hyper-linking out of the way (in case he visits this piece of "virtual/real"-estate)

Hopefully I get myself into a category of people who will not be eaten on NOEATFRIDAY

Let me move on to why I think much of what he teaches is very funny instructive, relevant when it comes to energy efficiency.  I will use his illustrations to 'ahem' illustrate as he is also quite the artist...

I'll first apologize for his notion that making a difference necessarily involves violence (ie having an impact is "PUNCHING THE WORLD IN THE FACE") - I guess it's the dino in him, or what he had for breakfast.

I also guess he won't like me apologizing either - but hey I get to have an opinion too !

In an guest post for Brad Feld 'be on fire' FG made the following observation about how to find the right idea to work on and how it must be an idea to set you on FIRE. Enjoy it and I will explain why it is relevant to us at kWIQly

First he explains how cold dispassionate ideas are not so special.


Well energy-efficiency is also about being comfortable and should never be too cold ... So he tells us how to get fired up



Well WORLD IS BROKEN climate-change is a-coming  and so THE right idea must be to FIX IT.

IT HARD - in fact its so hard its capable of pushing water uphill...

Glacier Thickness and Climate Change Chart
Ice going "uphill" courtesy of wikipedia


Bear Stranded on Ice Flow - Climate Change
Credit : - Unknown - contact please
(Yes we will get on to efficiency in a minute BEAR with me - there's a DINOSAUR in the room that's hard to ignore)


Climate Change in action
Asif Iqbal - The News Blog
Errm - yup - and floods, fires, storms, landslide, drought, disease and some other stuff!


Yes well there is a lot of TALKING going on...

1995: COP 1, The Berlin Mandate
1996: COP 2, Geneva, Switzerland
1997: COP 3, The Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change
1998: COP 4, Buenos Aires, Argentina
1999: COP 5, Bonn, Germany
2000: COP 6, The Hague, Netherlands
2001: COP 6, Bonn, Germany
2001: COP 7, Marrakech, Morocco
2002: COP 8, New Delhi, India
2003: COP 9, Milan, Italy
2004: COP 10, Buenos Aires, Argentina
2005: COP 11/MOP 1, Montreal, Canada
2006: COP 12/MOP 2, Nairobi, Kenya
2007: COP 13/MOP 3, Bali, Indonesia
2008: COP 14/MOP 4, Poznań, Poland
2009: COP 15/MOP 5, Copenhagen, Denmark
2010: COP 16/MOP 6, Cancún, Mexico
2011: COP 17/MOP 7, Durban, South Africa
2012: COP 18/MOP 8, Doha, Qatar


The point is that a new technology with the power to set the world on fire is just that - "new". So doing an impossible thing is pretty easy if you believe that the classification "impossible" is utter nonsense - as often as not it is just that.

Finally the bit on why this applies to you merry reader - as a kWIQly reader you are empowered "kW" - Intelligent "IQ" - and you want to do it without delay "kWIQly"  (you did already link to this site didn't you ? ! )

So our regular readers have heard:
  • 100 times - every building is different so it is impossible to manage them all efficiently.
  • 1000 times - you can't manage what you can't measure.
  • A gazillion times - You can't please all the people all the time !
Well sorry but NO, NO,NO !

We were told that it is impossible to measure waste by considering smart-meters - well we do. YES we are the only software available that can deduce waste directly from consumption !

Waste Energy consumption calculation
 Waste derived by pattern recognition in consumption
Date Formats need fixing - but this is the first ever graphic
Saturday 10/10/2012
We use some pretty smart pattern recognition - who thought  we would have automated speeding fines 15 years ago ? -

Three  points...

"Every building is different so it is impossible to manage them all efficiently."

EPIC FAIL - this is scalable and requires no site visits (it's SaaS with zero disruption or site installation based on smart-meter data)

"You can't manage what you can't measure."
EPIC FAIL - We are not measuring waste - (where would you put the meter ? ) - but you can deduce waste and manage savings opportunity based on these deductions

"You can't please all the people all the time !"
YOU - CAN  - Well so long as we fix climate-change together - maybe everyone should be pleased

Yup FG said it first ....


But did you notice the date on the chart above - this happened at 02.00 a.m. this weekend.


Buildings share the Laws of Physics obviously making them more similar than different.  If that weren't the case how would any engineer ever become expert in building controls or energy efficiency ???

So if we take weather data (not from your building, but from a reliable source ! ), we take utility data from your smart-meters, we have two measures that are completely independent of your building and can audit what happens inside independently !

Now we expect that many of you (new visitors) won't really believe us - we also expect that FG will eat many of you for lunch - so we don't really care ! 

We only want winners to work for anyway.

So if you don't want to be eaten tweet something to @FAKEGRIMLOCK - or like us on Facebook or whatever rings your bell. 

But please don't just do the things that are easy (it's a start) ...

so do the things other people CAN'T DO !

You are an energy manager - no we don't have green elastomeric underwear

or a cloak for you - but you too can be a hero !

Oh and if you didn't realise it -  then that's another EPIC FAIL !

 - but you can  contact us if we can help ! anyway !


Pareto principal - get your ducks in a row

ducks in a row
ducks in a row (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This post makes sense to any entrepreneur or manager needing to gauge how to allocate resources efficiently to get a best return.

As ever, we will illustrate using energy management (or the lack of it) because we are kWIQly, and also because the ideas are familiar to everyone.

Problems, energy waste or if you insist "energy savings opportunities" (why can't we call it what it is - a disaster - are we so afraid of the truth ?")  can be characterised. 
Suicide Is Painless
Suicide Is Painless (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is this grouping or triage of priority as we mentioned in "kWIQly - Don't Panic" that allows a low cost rational application of resources.

It should not be complex, but crystal clear (it needs to work on the battlefield when under pressure). 

Triage should not fly in the face of common sense, because the managers (nurses, energy managers, generals) need to trust it without thought, so it also needs to be "light-weight", convenient and agile (and well-considered).

If you had queued in a hospital for two hours bleeding to death this would be obvious to you - common sense rapid assessment saves lives!  - Are you old enough to remember M.A.S.H - triage exemplified ;)

Equally, the response shown by someone lacking triage is the "headless chicken" where a manager is flustered, cannot justify decisions and is simply not effective.

Panic - When visceral dominates rational is a brief post about how this indecision applies to our society as a whole confronting climate-change - but today I want to focus on us - individuals...

Anyone who cannot tell priorities apart is not an energy manager (or perhaps does not have the right tool for the job).

English: Studio photo of peas in their pods.
English: Studio photo of peas in their pods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Lets consider just a few characteristics that can make all the difference.

We know what the Pareto principal says. It was initially conceived by Joseph M. Juran a 20th Century leading light in Quality Management when he noticed that 20% of the pea pods in his garden yielded 80% of his peas.

 It basically says that things are not normally evenly distributed (buses and taxis come in clumps), blackberries on a bush are biggest in clusters, and in general that life is not "fair".

This has profound implications...

Blackberry (Photo credit: Lastaii)
It means if you have so much time to pick berries you better start in the most fruitful area.

If you are selling anything location counts.

And so on.

However in some fields, Pareto analysis is multi-faceted (even assuming you have the necessary data to begin with).

So back to our archetypal energy manager (I must remember to do a post about our archetypes), but lets call her Sally for now.
English: Oak Moss and Truffle Toast.
English: Oak Moss and Truffle Toast. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She manages energy for 100 truffle outlets (the things pigs dig up not the gooey chocolate filling).

These are distributed some in the US, one in Brienz (just down the road from me) and a handful elsewhere maybe say Singapore where air conditioning is a challenge.

She is a finite resource (not corporally) and though imposing she can only be in one place at a time.

So she needs to prioritize!  

We asked her to make a list of the things she needs to know ( take note because there will be a question about these facets later ! ) - this is what she comes up with.

Overview - The context is always "Where" because it represents her limited resource  - visits to manage energy cost time!
(We assume for this exercise she can just go there and wave a wand - many energy managers are guilty of believing in this method - maybe subject for another post soon ! )

Immediate priority - Blitz Action
"Where ?"  - kWIQly - Geographic Triage 
Where do I find the 20 stores that are wasting (wasting not using!!!) 80% of my energy right now ?

Substantial performance - Annual Returns
Where do I find the 5 stores that wasted most energy last year ?

Least Performant - The current "basket cases"
Where do I find the stores  who have exceeded ideal consumption by the greatest proportion (this month) ?

Most Chronic Problem - Weed out malingerers
Where is the single store that has been under-performing for the longest time ?(measured against a threshold or in absolute terms)

Most dissolute - The "drip-drip-drip" losses
Where has the cost of continual losses mounted up most ?
(a world site ranking - as a rolling average over a range of time periods)

This is obviously not all Sally needs to know - once she has selected a "patient" to treat, she will for example need tools to diagnose the causes more thoroughly .

But given that she has all this on her desktop in browser on a day-plus-one basis, we can probably agree - Sally knows what she needs to "get her ducks in a row".

Now I promised you a question about facets of your job - (it applies to anyone but particularly energy managers)..

Of these things Sally needs to know - "How many can you do without ?"

Bonus questions -  "How many do you have ?"

Obviously each of the above addresses a different facet of the problem (recency, severity, term, significance, attitude and intractability) and a manager must manage - ie decide how to allocate resources, but we argue that without the data the decisions are hypotheses or perhaps just guesses - 

"And that ain't energy management !"

Note given smart-meter data and the location of the sites (and opening hours if any) - we can answer the above questions for less than the price of a cup of coffee and a donut each week - Can you ?

Reach Out to us if you need help or if you think we have this all wrong - please comment below - we would love the feedback !

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