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It's that time of year when we reflect on the prior year's wins and opportunities. No matter how sophisticated your Energy Program is, there is always room for improvement. So, what is your 2014 resolution?

Recorded: November 21, 2013
Hosts: Alison Liaboe, Director of Product Management, Facility Optimization with Ecova

Published in: Business, Technology
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  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle MOREProvide useful energy reports to the field so they can know how they are performing year over year and to show whether energy conservation efforts are working or not.Save 5%!Review each account for accuracyMore savings!8% kWh reduction
  • Today’s top businesses operate in an environment of razor-thin margins and extreme competition. Add to this already challenging environment, hundreds or even thousands of sites to manage, controlling the costs of using natural resources and gathering and trying to digest the massive amounts of data that are collected on your sites’ usage. Often, businesses have limited insight into what’s happening at each of their sites; what sites are performing the best from a resource standpoint – and what that should be compared to – and, how is this possibly affecting the end customer experience or product? The issues surrounding water, waste, energy, and gas all need to be addressed. Now layer in uncontrollable variables: changes in weather, equipment degradation due to age or improper use or installation, and the behaviors of people that work and experience the environment at each of your site locations. <Animation: 1st click fades out challenges; second click fades in storm.>Each of these variables contributes to brewing a perfect storm in resource management, which now looks like an impossible and insurmountable objective.:60
  • So here’s the question du jour: how do you make sense of all of this and wrap your arms around all the data, and the geographically disparate sites, and the costs…?How do you eat an elephant…<advance once for elephant image>Yes – one bite at a time. You break this huge insurmountable job into small pieces and you put a smart, sustainable and repeatable process around it.:20
  • We begin with one assumption here – and that assumption is that you are currently gathering usage data, whether it’s historical in the form of utility bill data, or data that comes in more frequently than bill data – meter data from an energy management system, for example.The process starts with ANALYZING the average energy usage across your sites – to get a handle on where you stand – compared to best practices. This analysis typically results in identifying various sites that are performing outside of business parameters. Once you’ve IDENTIFIED which sites are outside of that desired state - using too much energy, comfort parameters not in check – you need to explore these outliers – by surveying the site manager or making site visits, analyzing employee behavior, weather dynamics, and checking for equipment systems that aren’t properly calibrated.Courses of ACTION are unique and varied, but can include adjusting day-lighting controls, weatherization, equipment calibration, and energy behavior initiatives, to name just a few.  To ensure that solutions are sustainable and that your return on whatever course of action you decide to take is maintained year-after-year, continually MONITORING your energy usage and equipment completes the loop. 1:10
  • Let’s take a deeper dive into each of these areas.So you’ve got your data. Again, whether it’s historical utility bill data or up-to-the minute usage data from an energy management system looking at it ALL can be overwhelming so you need to bite off pieces of it – you can begin by analyzing usage trends among your full site portfolio.<Animation: click for EPR graphs>The graphs in the upper right of this slide illustrate electric and gas performance, weather adjusted, through 2011. This is the big picture, and it’s good to have, but there is another step you can take to drive actionable insights.A good next step is benchmarking – after all, you can’t manage what you don’t measure.Benchmarking here is really comparing your portfolio sites’ usage against each other, and then perhaps going to the next level and comparing your average usage against the average of your competitors – or benchmarking within your industry.We were told when we were growing up, and probably even tell ourselves as adults, not to compare ourselves with others. Well here is where it’s truly encouraged, where that element of competition is a very positive factor in realizing your ability to reduce energy consumption.You can think of this as you would home improvement. 1:10
  • So as you look through home improve magazines and think about ways to improve your home you think – well a fresh coat of paint would really do wonders for my house. Maybe something fresh for the front door – and a few weeks later you have a visible improvement. You may be asking yourself “Why is internal benchmarking important?” An easy answer is that it gives you an easy place to start, you have the data and you know your sites. Benchmarking internally also allows you toIncorporate internal metrics into overall programIdentify best practices quickly and reward performanceProvide trainingCommunication – newsletters, signageIncentivesRecognition programYou know what you know!That’s a great start, but what’s the next step? So back to our home improvement analogy, as you’re driving around the neighborhood you come upon some houses that are really beautiful, with fully landscaped yards, decorations on the front porch, details that make a big difference in appearance.1:05
  • Here is where external benchmarking comes in.There is a benefit to widening the portfolioIncorporate additional locations across a wider reachUnderstand the “norm”Learn from other best practices – are you in line“When you compare to what you have, you will always get what you got”Ability to share insights with othersHelp unique sites find similar peers <next slide> Let’s go to the next step in this data-driven process and identify outliers and then learn why they are outliers.:45
  • What is an outlier? The “formal definition of an outlier on Wikipedia (the leading source for definitions, of course) is “an outlying observation, or outlier, is one that appears to deviate markedly from other members of the sample in which it occurs. Or if you read the book by Malcolm Gladwell, it’s somebody who either was blessed by birth, or opportunities opened to him or her during their lifetime that they took advantage of, or both. <next slide>:25
  • In this example, anything above one standard deviation from the segment average would be identified as an outlier.Once you have your set of outliers, next is drilling down into the “why.” There are a couple ways to investigate these outliers:You could set up a system for site managers to enter information about the site, such as year built, sq ft, weatherproofing status to see if there are any drafty areas or air leaks, condition of cooler gaskets, lighting systems – whether they are automatic based on motion sensors and what type of lighting is used in that building, etc. You could call the sites on the phone and do this survey over the phone or you could make a site visit and investigate in person. Through any of these data collection means, the ultimate goal will be to determine what is causing the “bad behavior” at the site.<next slide> :50
  • Once you’ve identified the cause for the poor performance, you’ve got to take action.:05
  • It’s true – having all the data and understanding your outliers is just part of the process. You need to take action if you are to see different results down the road.There are a number of ways to take action on energy consumption issues – and some are low or no cost, such as employee awareness programs or competitive programs between sites, where you provide the stores’ energy stats and pit the stores against each other. The element of competition can be very compelling. Other actions can require additional or even a substantial amount of capital – such as integrating Energy Management Systems as a pilot program and then potentially throughout your portfolio.  It will be important to determine the payback range when you evaluate each of these actions. Fortunately, for many of these energy efficiency measures, there are Energy Rebate programs available through your utility that you can take advantage of and that will help subsidize the cost of capital improvements. One of our clients was actually able to realize nearly $700k in energy rebates through these programs. :10
  • Once you know the sites you need to focus on it’s difficult to know exactly what you should be concerned with at each site. This is where Ecova’s Outlier Investigation Service comes in.This service consists of three different levels:either an employee at the site can complete an online survey, with various question about lighting, heating, etc.An Ecova energy analyst can call the site and conduct So after you take action and implement energy efficiency measures, you’re done, right?<next slide> :55
  • Not so fast. You need to monitor these implementations to make sure that you’re getting the ROI you expected. :07
  • If you have access to an intuitive online dashboard, you would have complete visibility, network-wide as well as by facility. You’ll see your resource management decisions play out in near real-time.You can monitor the effect of your project implementation by keeping an eye on those sites each month with historical data from utility bills, or through more frequent usage data via an energy management system.  This kind of monitoring will allow you to make tweaks to the systems put in place and report your successes across the organization.:20
  • Now you have a process in place for continuous optimization… a process that’s repeatable… a process that leads you to more informed business decisions.  But it’s a process – so just because you’ve followed this process once, doesn’t mean you’re done. It’s a constant process of analyzing your data, identifying outliers, taking action and monitoring.<next slide>:20
  • So now you’ve gone through the process – what results can you expect?First – you should have greater visibility into your data than you’ve ever had before. You should be able to understand trends at the portfolio level and within your regions or different site hierarchies. As well as pinpoint underperforming sites within your portfolio.With this knowledge – you will be in a much better position to manage your resources efficiently.And you will ultimately realize bottom line savings.<next slide> :30
  • In summary – we’ve taken a look at the challenges faces by multi-site companies – Hundreds or even thousands of sites to manage, controlling the costs of using natural resources and gathering and trying to digest the massive amounts of data that are collected on your sites’ usage. As well as the uncontrollable variables: changes in weather, equipment degradation due to age or improper use or installation, and the behaviors of people that work and experience the environment at each of your site locations. We’ve discussed a process to put in place to get control of consumption: analyze, identify, take action, monitor – a smart, scalable and repeatable approach.And you know what results to expect from this approach: data visibility, efficient resource management and bottom line savings.Thank you for your time today.:51

    1. 1. What are YOUR Energy Resolutions? November 21, 2013 Presenter: Alison Liaboe, Director of Product Management, Facility Optimization, Ecova 1
    2. 2. Agenda  Your resolutions!  Challenges  A Four Step Process to Help Reach those Goals  Tools to Help you Get There
    3. 3. What are YOUR Energy Resolutions?  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle MORE  Provide useful energy reports to the field  Energy savings!!  Conserve more pay less
    4. 4. Challenges 4
    5. 5. How do you eat an elephant? 5
    6. 6. Energy Management – The Process 6
    7. 7. Analyze 7
    8. 8. Benchmarking – it starts at home 8
    9. 9. Benchmark – Compare Your Sites Against Each Other 9
    10. 10. Compare to Your Peers 10
    11. 11. Compare Your Sites to Peers in the Industry 11
    12. 12. Identify 12
    13. 13. Start with knowing your average 13
    14. 14. Take Action 14
    15. 15. Take Action 15
    16. 16. Resolve the Outlier Recommendations 16
    17. 17. Monitor 17
    18. 18. Monitor Trends, Verify Project ROI 18
    19. 19. Repeat the Process 19
    20. 20. Results 20
    21. 21. Summary 21
    22. 22. Upcoming Educational Webinars INSIDE ENERGY & SUSTAINABILITY  Waste Management – December 5th 11am PST  What Data is Driving Your Decisions? – December 10th 1pm PST  The Ecova Blueprint Educational Webinar – December 19th 10am PST Questions, comments, suggestions? 22
    23. 23. Q&A 23
    24. 24. Thank you! 24