Figuring out why your energy use is higher than expected takes a few steps.
First, analyze utility bills from past years. Make a spreadsheet, add some relevant weather data, such as monthly degree days, to gain insight into when energy use increased. Was there a change in operations or occupancy at that time? If there wasn’t, then its time to dig deeper.
Tracking energy and water bills over time often gives insight into changes in use based on knowing the history of building operations. For example, if water use spikes, was the irrigation controller replaced? Is it properly setup and was it commissioned after the change?
A utility bill review is a relatively quick and inexpensive way to understand changes in utility use. It’s the first step that Smith Energy Engineers recommends for getting to the cause of higher bills. Contact Us Here!
Digging Deeper than Your Utility Bill
If you confirm that energy or water use is higher than what should be expected, how do you figure out what is causing the higher use?
Does the building have a Building Automation System (BAS) or simple controllers (for lighting and irrigation, for example)? Check that the lighting and other system schedules are running as expected. Have any settings been over-ridden?
if the building doesn’t have a BAS that collects needed data, the next step is do some spot checking using a handheld Volt-Ohm Meter (VOM) or installing some sensors and data loggers. After a week or so of collecting data, analyze it in a spreadsheet.
Smith Energy Engineers has many years of experience with instrumentation and data analytics.
Data Analytics: From Data to Information
Building Automation Systems (BAS) generate huge volumes of data! Does the BAS software give you real information? Often it takes custom programming to tease out useful information.
Let us turn your mountains of data into actionable information!
Energy Models Help Reduce Energy and Water Use
Energy models are tools to predict energy and water use in buildings. They allow design teams evaluate material and system alternatives in the design process as well as assist in selecting systems to upgrade existing buildings.
We have experience with a wide range of building types using eQuest (DOE 2.1e and 2.2) and DesignBuilder (Energy Plus), with particular expertise in food service loads.
We provide other modeling teams with accurate food service energy profiles.
Is it Being Built According to the Construction Documents? Is the Project On-time and On-budget?
There is nothing that really takes the place of on-site observation and system commissioning to assure that you are getting what the design documents call for.
Tracking material deliveries and subcontractor progress is crucial for watching the budget and schedule. The key is regular communication with key actors!
We have experience with projects costing from multi-million to tens-of-thousands. Tracking with Critical Path Method (CPM) schedules for complex projects is part of our tool box.