Access to granular data can help California achieve its energy reduction goals and save consumers and business time, energy, and money.
The Signs Are Clear: Data Is The New Tool For The Energy Efficiency Field
Energy efficiency has always worked on the premise of basic analysis; Return On Investment (ROI), payback periods, and verification and reporting methodologies have been around as long as there has been a concerted effort to improve the efficiency of buildings and energy technology. However, access to enough historic, granular data has prevented the introduction of data analysis and energy management on a more widespread scale.
Cities such as New York have introduced benchmarking laws to create public databases of energy consumption on a city-wide scale. New York’s benchmarking law requires all private buildings over 50,000 ft2 and public sector buildings over 10,000 ft2 to report their energy and water consumption each year. This data is public record and has allowed companies such as GridMarket to create an online catalogue of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects on a building-by-building level.
GridMarket uses the publicly available data and their own “load archetypes,” projected energy loads by building characteristic and use, to predict potentially applicable energy efficiency retrofits, advanced grid technologies, and distributed energy resources by building. They can show a potential investor the applicability of technologies, costs, and savings before ever having set foot on site.
This level of analysis at scale is only possible because of the available datasets – datasets that California is missing, although AB 802 and potentially SB 356 would increase the availability of this data.
Despite widespread installation of smart meters, increased adoption of “smart” thermostats, and improved energy management systems, there is no system for building-level granular public data that can target buildings that haven’t had a physical audit.
Companies such as GridMarket are planning expansions into California, taking advantage of data from the Investor Owned Utilities to expand platform offerings. On the residential side, there are companies like Sense, Bidgely, and Chai Energy, a startup in LA that offers a free energy monitoring app that connects through the utility via The Green Button. Chai Energy offers consumers insights into data usage, energy saving behavioral tips, as well as recommendations for energy efficiency improvements through the use of their own “load archetypes.”
The takeaway: data is in. The bigger the better. Access to granular data can help California achieve its energy reduction goals and save consumers and business time, energy, and money.