Now you have your baseline and pathway, it is time to tackle operational energy and carbon. Using both consumption data (e.g. half hour electricity consumption kW) and contextual information on performance (e.g. Plant start up times, out of hours activity) review daily energy profiles to investigate actual performance, interrogate BMS and HVAC control strategies and understand occupant behaviour patterns to fine tune and implement measures to make marginal gains on operational energy consumption. These add up over a period of time and will contribute to reducing operational net zero carbon.
Utilising actual data is important, estimated data can distorted month on month comparison and impact ongoing monitoring. This is the same with physical meter readings. Where there is no other option for meter readings, it is important to set up a structured approach to ensure readings are taken at a consistent date each month. This ensures data quality and the ability to monitor month on month consumption, avoiding consumption slips and misrepresentation of seasonal performance, especially with gas.
Data normalisation will help compare property portfolios and identify the highest consuming buildings (based on intensity) for targeting. The most common is floor area (m2), this can distinguish the poorer performing buildings for their size, enabling a prioritised approach and targeting resources to make the largest impact on existing building energy use. Using industry benchmarks such as the Better Building Partnerships REEB can help to compare to similar building types and give a broader indication of performance.
Although there are new technologies constantly coming to the marketplace and we have the schemes and process in place to implement good practice. We need to proactively engage building users and occupants. The impact people have in our buildings through behaviour and improved awareness on sustainability will help them make informed decisions, supporting us operate energy efficient and sustainable buildings. Harnessing tools such as Post Occupancy Evaluation can help understand people interaction with buildings and how the building systems are performing in relation to utilisation. Using this to capture lessons learned and improve performance is going to be invaluable.