In a recent white paper entitled, Intelligent Efficiency: Innovations Reshaping the Energy Efficiency Market, author Stephen Lacey described the findings of Johnson Controls, with respect to barriers to energy efficiency:
Johnson Controls, one of the leading companies in the building controls and energy optimization space, releases a yearly survey of the global building efficiency market. Every year, the market barriers remain the same. They include:
• Lack of awareness of opportunities for energy savings.
• Lack of technical expertise to design and complete projects.
• Lack of certainty that promised savings will be achieved.
• Inability of projects to meet the organization’s financial payback criteria.
• Lack of available capital for investment in projects.
These problems are all exacerbated by the old efficiency paradigm defined by information scarcity.
Lacey then goes on to say:
This basic lack of awareness about energy use within many organizations feeds into every barrier identified above. Without accurate information, it’s difficult to understand the initial opportunity, even tougher to design a project, and nearly impossible to verify whether you’re actually saving energy. Those uncertainties make it hard for companies to justify spending money on efficiency upgrades. They also make projects less attractive for investors.
But, wait a minute! None of the barriers described by Johnson Controls actually are barriers resulting solely from lack of energy consumption data! Opportunities for energy saving are identified when decision makers have holistic building knowledge, (ie. energy, building assets, financial performance, and people’s needs in the building) and are able to build consensus around project decisions! Lacey acknowledges this in the next paragraph:
The facilities manager who cares solely about reliability and keeping occupants comfortable may be resistant to new, relatively unknown technologies. The chief financial officer primarily concerned about managing her company’s quarterly finances may be nervous about the upfront cost of upgrades. And the sustainability officer focused on environmental performance may propose ambitious solutions that are outside the comfort zone of both the CFO and the facilities manager. These contradictory positions within a company can add up to uncertainty, delays or poor decision-making.
So, the real issue is not measuring energy data. Efficiency is really about helping people collaborate, build consensus, make better decisions, and take action. Clay Nessler sums it up well in the same paper:
“The coolest dashboard in the world won’t save one BTU of energy if somebody doesn’t grab a wrench and fix the equipment, adjust an operating schedule or take action to improve the infrastructure,”.
I agree Clay. It is all about people taking action that saves the energy. That’s why BuiltSpace helps stakeholders understand energy consumption, but focuses on capturing building knowledge, stakeholder collaboration, and helping people take action to improve energy and operational efficiency.