Does your building need a lifestyle coach ?

Personal Trainer Exercise
Personal Trainer Exercise (Photo credit: katieklimek)
Most buildings have the energy characteristics of a coach potato... They are not "fit for purpose". They consume far too much for their level of activity, lack discipline and motivation to even aspire to higher performance; and worse, they have no idea what they look like.

You spent HOW much - the joy of waste !

The Run Amok PAD May 8
The Run Amok PAD May 8 (Photo credit: AlishaV)
There is a fine balance in any organisation between stifling the life out of people, or letting them run amok

In one case nobody dares do anything and nothing ever gets done, in the other everyone does whatever they want and there is no rhyme or reason to it all.

Does your building have its hands in its' pockets ?

English: Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, view from ...
Image via Wikipedia
The North Face of the Eiger gets cold ! 

I was walking along the road in Niederried the other day, looking up towards the Jungfrau range.

I was not as warm as I guess Ueli Steck must have been during his astonishing Record solo climb - in 2 hours 47 minutes - up the North Face of the 13,000-plus-foot Eiger 

Green flagship - a plan for disaster

Centre-of-excellence or silliness ex-centre ?

Here's how it often starts ...

The political elite of a faceless corporation gather round the table and say..."We need to spin some good news and we need it fast" - "So how do we do it?"

A few blank faces look down but no blank cheques are offered. The plan is to cook up some nonsense that sounds good, ideally looks good for long enough and costs very little indeed. In other words a Green Centre of Excellence is a great place to tell some tall-tales.

Energy Manager - Poacher or GameKeeper

Building Management Systems
Poacher or GameKeeper - who will police the police ?
Old Poacher and Gamekeeper Watercolour

 - It's is a well known question, so let's apply it to looking after the greatest asset of all - our environment.

The answer as always boils down to simple ideas of trust, independence, integrity and local knowledge. Let's look at these in turn, in the context of Building Management Systems ( BMS ) or Building Control Systems ( BCS )...

Effective Policing relies on trust
BMS are like policemen : -  not 100% reliable, and they will sometimes fail, and they are responsible for keeping behaviour of very un-intelligent things under control - that is the plant that determines both the comfort in a building, and the cost of achieving that comfort. In short they cannot be trusted not to waste energy, so an external mechanism or "energy audit" function is needed.

Any audit function, must be above corruption, whether by "bent coppers", "fraudulent financiers" or "flawed intelligence".

It is the last that concerns us - because of the Garbage In Garbage Out principal, if we use a BMS to audit the control of a BMS we are hopelessly lost.

It is like trying to measure your waistline with an elastic tape-measure - you will see what you want to see.

Here we are not talking about a control system of 'good character' - we mean by this that a complete or integrated picture is required.

To contend that say a boiler is well-controlled in absence of occupancy schedules or weather conditions is a nonsense.

Local Knowledge
Every copper must "know his beat" - who are the "usual suspects".
Two identical buildings are not alike in every respect.

  • They may be identical internally, but be used for different purposes or at different occupancy levels.
  • They may be constructed identically, but one is in the lee of a building and the other on the shore of the sea.
  • They may have different shading characteristics, maintenance programmes, and a million other variables.


Any method of assessment to control wasted energy, must have the above conditions satisfied. This means local independent weather data, independent verifiable consumption data, and local building use context.  We can help !

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What do you mean - a gas valve IS a thermometer ?

In my last post How cold is it in Europe ? noted that we allow people to freeze to dead in the cold, while we happily waste energy and this is a thermometer of our humanity.

I also said that a gas valve is a thermometer for a geographic region, and it's been suggested I expand on this a little - (It sounds a little weird after all).

OK - So we can see - in this snapshot from the kWIQly Free Weather Service that the USA leads the world with 2806 weather stations (in the NOAA list ) , while Columbia has 47 and Guadeloupe has 1.

Energy use is related to wealth with citizens of Bangadesh in Asia using around twice their own weight in Oil per year, whereas Americans (ie USA not North America as a whole) use 77 times their body weight of oil.

To put this in context a strong Bangladeshi can carry all the energy he uses in a year on his back in the form of oil by making two or three trips.

An average American would need more than four trips in a HumVee to carry his oil !

So - we are all used to criticizing excessive American energy use, but where it is cold or hot the figures are more astounding. In Iceland we are talking nearly 50% more than the US (for the planet it is a good thing not may people live in Iceland !) - Note: I liked every Icelander I have met so far !
So imagine each person has a fuel supply (like the gas valve I mentioned) - if they are poor they use less over all, but rich or poor when people need heating (or cooling) they use more.

In this sense the rate you use energy represents your local weather conditions, and your wealth.  You may be always efficient like the third world, or always demanding , but in either case your rate of energy use (the position of your personal gas valve) is a thermometer for your weather.

At kWIQly we use recorded consumption rates (Smart Meters) and Weather Data to analyse how your energy use can be reduced - (without sacrificing comfort).
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How cold is it in Europe ?

OK - As I write this in the Alps in Switzerland it is very cold, with high fatalities in Eastern Europe. 

Warning : picture below is not suitable for children !  Support if you can whether directly or indirectly.