Google Energy Waste Search Engine

It doesn't exist yet, but certainly a search for waste is the job of any energy manager. And it's valuable.

There are some reasons that explain why it doesn't exist, and some hints as to where it might come about.

Food and Energy Waste are Similar

Lets consider a very simple idea - Food provides energy so its very like oil, or gas or sunshine.

When we talk about energy consumption - that usually means what we end up paying for. But let' take a closer look...

There's what you pay for...

there's what you eat...

and there's what you throw away!
If throwing away food was a problem (it is - it's a huge shameful problem go watch this video if you want to be truly amazed - don't worry you will get back here easily enough )

So throwing away food is a problem - but if you look - it's visible.

Energy waste is a bigger problem ! - Not only is it usually invisible, but you can' touch it or smell it either, and since it cannot be disposed of it can't easily be measured. (Think about it).

So my question today is what should energy managers use as a Search Engine as long as Google cannot get their hands on your data. (By the way - I think Smart metering is not a problem regards privacy and has a huge amount to offer, once its better understood).

So back to the consumption analogy...

Energy Waste Definition

What you pay for (consumption) includes both what you use and what you waste. This leads very naturally to the energy waste definition:

Energy waste = What  you buy - What  you use

Many companies know what you buy and can show it on pretty graphs:

Invensys IMSERV
"The ability to ‘see’ your energy consumption is critical to truly understanding how you use energy and where you could potentially make savings."

Elster Energy ICT
"Our basic Energy Monitoring solution helps you become aware of your energy usage, reduce your energy consumption and increase your energy savings."

Honeywell Attune
"Collaboration begins at the Awareness level. Here, our experts set you up with a web-based Energy Dashboardthat provides a means to understand your building’s energy consumption and enables up to 3% energy savings"

"Measure, monitor and minimise every aspect of your energy and carbon use, more quickly and more easily, with npower’s encompass energy management software."

There are probably as many energy dashboards and graphic monitoring tools as there are ways of skinning a cat. But they have one thing in common - they visualise consumption not waste.

Energy Waste and Energy Use are the two different things that make up Energy Consumption

Since you can only eliminate energy waste, as an energy manager, seeing consumption in a graph tells you nothing about what you can do.

There are no exceptions, but there are a few "fudges". If you see an increase and assume it represents waste, you base this on the idea that prior consumption was not waste.

If you see an absurd pattern and know it to be waste - you see something contrasted with expectation.

Contrast with expectation

This is a fundamental truth. If you are looking for something you need contrast.
Maybe a big red X marks the spot

Ranked on Page One verses NOT Ranked on Page One

For the desperate a twitch of a stick
 divines whereas non-twitch doesn't

Energy Managers are often looking for "low hanging fruit" 

They do this by contrast

Building a search engine for energy waste

So the question arises - How do I contrast energy waste?

In fact what you need is a search engine - but some of it only lives in the real world not on-line !

We suggest the following approach (its not kWIQly specific) ...

So whether you use kWIQly, or some lesser tool (such things exist), the job is to 

a) Monitor use (and by all means look at the pictures produced by your monitoring solution)
b) Build a disciplined understanding of expectations eg for an example
c) Automate contrast between use and waste (you want to look at every contrast for every building every day) - so don't use a slow clunky on-line rporting tool or a spreadsheet - it's all you will ever do.
d) Now look at your graphical monitoring tool to interpret cause - some tools (ahem kWIQly) can largely automate this - others cannot. 
e) Send targeted specialists to solve the problems you have (don't send energy specialists on speculative fact finding missions - every building has available savings - you need to prioritise !)

Hope you found this useful - Notice we think Energy monitoring and visual surveys have an important place - but they don't solve your problems alone - Visual surveys lack historic context and are expensive (time & travel) monitoring can help explain waste but not define it (a model of usefulness is required).

Please do throw your opinions into the ring - if you use the disqus commenting tool a) its searchable b) it helps readers find me and c) its open to the whole web.

Thanks James
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