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Unlock the Hidden Benefits of Your Energy Assessment

  • Written by Charlotte Venner
  • May 15, 2024
Two businesswomen sitting at desk in office using digital tablet.

It can be hard to tell when energy is being wasted. An appliance plugged in, an air-conditioning unit running inefficiently, a light left on. For an individual, the cost of these inefficiencies can add up in the form of higher utility bills and increased greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, research indicates that at least one-third of the energy used by buildings in the U.S. is wasted, costing up to $150 billion a year.[1]

For utilities, crucial data is being wasted along with that energy. As the energy transition underscores the importance of energy efficiency measures, how can data help utilities assess energy waste and streamline programming? The answer lies in energy assessments.

Energy assessments audit energy use in a building or home, identify where energy is being wasted, and provide recommendations to increase efficiency. At the end of the audit process, a report is automatically generated for the customer, providing eligible programs, improvements, and information on how to reduce energy waste.

The benefit of an energy assessment goes both ways: The resulting recommendations can help customers save five to 30% on their monthly utility bills and reduce their carbon footprint, and the data collected provides useful insights for utilities.[2]

To leverage this data, utilities need to collect, store, and correctly utilize the results of energy assessments.

Collecting and Securing Data

Energy efficiency assessments used to be conducted in-person, with an expert installing sensors and data-loggers and tracking output. Now, with an automated, mobile energy auditing process, it’s easy for utilities to make the most of their energy assessment and access detailed energy efficiency information.

With a digital approach, conducting an energy assessment is a low lift for utilities, with a potentially high pay off. Technology is installed and left in place on-site, where data is collected throughout the assessment process, minimizing effort and impact on operations. This data is continuously saved to a backend system, where it is available to the utilities and compatible with customer data. Because the technology remains on-site, it continues to operate over months or years, giving utilities insight into energy usage over a robust timeline.[3]

As audit information is sent to the utility, industry-standard encryption protocols keep the data safe. After the audit process is complete, customer data is stored in a single, secure, central repository. At no point is assessment information (such as customer data) stored on the on-site technology itself.

Using the Data

Streamline processes: The primary use for energy assessment data is clear: To reduce energy waste. Utilities can streamline energy use by identifying those areas of waste and providing upgrades like insulation, energy use programs, more efficient lighting and HVAC, or weather sealing.[4]

Test upgrades: Once these upgrades are deployed, keeping technology installed and active allows utilities to access data on an ongoing basis, testing the relative success of the recommended upgrades, adjustments, and programs.[5]

Cut emissions: Residential and commercial buildings account for 35% of total carbon dioxide emissions in the US.[6]  Increased energy efficiency benefits utilities and customers alike, curbing greenhouse gas emissions and reducing a building’s carbon footprint. By reducing emissions, customers can also better comply with existing and forthcoming environmental regulations.

New insights: Energy audit results contain valuable customer data that can inform future strategies for utilities. A utility can segment and mine this data for future program planning purposes and to develop targeted marketing efforts to drive further program participation and help meet energy savings goals.

Manage a new normal: As record high heat waves, unexpected storms, and unseasonable cold snaps strain electricity resources, it’s only more essential that utilities improve energy efficiency across their networks.[7] The best way to advance this effort is with a well-conducted digital energy assessment.

Getting Started

For utilities looking to optimize their use of energy assessments, there are services, programs, and software to help. Advisory services can be a first step towards deploying a productive energy assessment to customers. Streamlining software suites make the energy assessment process easy and efficient for utilities while ensuring secure data collection and storage. Depending on the kind of buildings a utility works with, tailored residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural services can customize an assessment for specific goals. With the available guidance, utilities can leverage energy assessment data to access benefits beyond just short-term energy savings.