Data Error?

This is an exclusive blog by planning expert Mitch Cooke on the importance of energy data.

Listening to the Today programme on Radio 4 this morning (10/10/12) I was struck by a comment made by former Tomorrow’s World presenter, Maggie Philbin, when asked what she thought the future would hold. Without hesitation she said, ‘we will make much better use of data’.

Her thoughts echoed in my mind when I later picked up the recently released 2012 Benchmarking Report from the International Sustainability Alliance*. On page 12 the report describes the Key Performance Indicators for a portfolio of properties. Based on these indicators (six against energy, two against water and one for waste) the report presents benchmark values derived from 2011 data produced by the ISA members.

The problems I have with the data presented are two-fold:

– Firstly the energy section continually refers to energy ‘consumption’, anyone who has an appreciation of the First Law of Thermodynamics understands energy can neither be created or destroyed so ‘consumption’, as a term, is plain wrong. It being repeated through a report that has some sort of technical rigor really grates with me. Am I the only one? Maybe its pedantic but ‘energy use’ is the terminology the industry should be using;

– Secondly the figures presented look suspicious (indeed their European emissions benchmark for Offices is about 70 per cent lower than published UK benchmarks ). One reason for the discrepancy may be that the data presented is from 2011 so, given the ongoing global financial crisis, it would be reasonable to assume that some tenancies were unoccupied during the data gathering. Did the benchmarks include these figures?

Pulling together the energy data for a portfolio is proving to be an interesting and rewarding challenge for our clients. It uncovers where efficiencies can be made and examples of Best Practice to champion around the business and wider industry. Using energy use data to direct investment around a portfolio really is the future of our industry.