Cleantech is Alive and Well

Last month, CBS ran a piece on 60 Minutes called “The Cleantech Crash” about the wasteful decline of companies coined as Cleantech industries (a generic term for industries in alternative energy). In 2011, President Barack Obama funded approximately $100 billion into developing Cleantech industries hoping such an investment would spark innovation, development, and ultimately, jobs. According to 60 Minutes, this expensive project turned out to be a large mistake funded by taxpayer dollars. Several companies like Abound Power, Beacon Power, Range Fuels, ECOtality and a host of others went under, which begs the question whether clean, renewable technologies will ever become a viable alternative given what was seemingly a massive failure.

After CBS aired that segment, they received quite a lot of harsh criticism from many experts within the green industry, even the US Department of Energy called it “flat wrong”. Although there were a number of Cleantech companies that went under, the segment failed to mention the resounding success stories that emerged from Cleantech funding. The American solar industry (which had benefited from the $100 billion US government funding) has grown dramatically since 2008. According to Slate Magazine, there were more solar power installations in 2013 alone than in the previous 20 years combined. Employment in the solar industry grew 10 times faster than the US average; it now employs more people than the natural gas and coal industries combined.

Solar generation plant

Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in California, the word’s largest solar thermal facility is now operational.

Clearly, such growth is not an indication of decline and decay, but rather, a sign of strength and stability, and it isn’t stopping there. According to Mercom Capital Group, an Austin based clean energy firm, US solar energy generation is projected to increase by another 6,000 MW in 2014 alone!

It isn’t just the solar industry that has benefited from Cleantech funding; wind power has also grown substantially in recent years. According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the cost of generating wind power has decreased by more than 40% in only 4 years, and at the end of 2013, there was an additional 12,000 MW of planned generation under construction. Furthermore, the vast majority of the additional wind power capacity will be coming from onshore wind turbines; the US has barely tapped the potential from offshore wind generation, where wind speeds are greater and more consistent.

Flat wind farm

Shepherds Flat Wind Farm in Oregon, the second largest of its kind in the US began operations in 2012.

During the 60 Minutes segment, reporter Leslie Stahl lists a whole group of companies that failed even though they received funding from the federal government. It is understandable that some would oppose the US government’s handling of Cleantech given that so many government subsidies were wasted on projects that never left the ground, but if that’s all it takes for collective outrage, the fossil fuel industries should never hear the end of it.

According to Businessweek, when it comes to government subsidies worldwide, coal, oil and gas have received more than $400 billion in 2010 alone. That same year, renewable energy industries received a comparatively small $60 billion. Additionally, every year, the US government subsidises coal, oil and gas by as much as $50 billion if the cost of securing oil reserves in the politically volatile Middle East are included and for what? A 2009 study conducted by the National Academy of Sciences reported that burning fossil fuels costs the US around $120 billion a year in health related costs and thousands of premature deaths. In essence, the American taxpayer is giving $50 billion to some of the wealthiest corporations only to have them contaminate the environment making them sick and slowly killing them. Additionally, the costs resulting from the effects of global warming have yet to be fully quantified with no realistic estimate available. Even so, I can’t imagine that it would be a small figure.

Coal Generation Plant

Fossil fuel industries receive far more in government subsidies than Cleantech.

It seems rather blind and contradictory to condemn the US government for subsidising Cleantech while remaining silent over the subsidies given to oil, coal and natural gas. In the worst case scenario, subsidising a renewable energy project could result in wasted money; subsidising oil, coal or natural gas could result in an environmental disaster and wasted money. Since there is a fixed amount of things we can burn, it seems rather obvious that some kind of an investment into Cleantech industries will be necessary now and in the future.

It is very clear then that calling Cleantech a failure is far too premature, and from the projections and potential for growth, it seems as though Cleantech has a great future ahead. Although there were some bumps along the way, the journey is far from over, and the experiment continues. Just because the first attempt wasn’t a resounding success, it doesn’t mean that any future attempt is doomed to fail. Like many industries, those behind Cleantech are still learning and adapting with the best yet to come. The present has already proven Leslie Stahl a little premature in her judgments, I’m certain time will prove her completely wrong.

The Rising Cost of Energy

A few weeks ago, Ontario released its 2013 Long Term Energy Plan promising a new set of reforms and policies, among the more important points were:

  • Shut down of all coal-fired generators
  • Implementing conservation programs to offset growing electricity demand in the next 20 years
  • Refurbishing Darlington and Bruce Nuclear Generating Stations beginning in 2016; shutting down Pickering by 2020
  • Expanding renewable energy generation to 50% of total capacity by 2021

Critics of the government, however, were quick to point out that under this new plan, energy rates were almost guaranteed to increase by as much as 43% in the next 3 years, which has businesses and home owners worried. However, is an increase in electricity rates such a horrible thing? It is true that governments can and have mishandled energy issues (e.g. Oakville natural gas cancellation), but in this case, increasing electricity rates is hardly a reason to get angry especially when we have it so well compared to other countries around the world.

The average weekday price of electricity in Ontario is about 9.55 cents/kWh and under the government’s plan, that rate is expected to increase. But according to data gathered by Shrink That Footprint, electricity rates in Western Europe and Asia are typically more than double the Canadian average of 10 US cents/kWh (refer to Figure 1), giving Ontarians very little reason to complain.

How Much Does Energy Cost

Figure 1

The United Kingdom pays twice as much per kWh than we do, in Spain their rate is three times ours, and in Denmark, they pay, on average, a whopping four times what we pay per kWh! Furthermore, this study doesn’t even consider the different economic disparities between countries. For example, $ 1 US can buy considerably more in India than it can in a relatively more expensive country like the United States; therefore adjusting the price per kWh using the purchasing power parity makes electricity rates in Canada the cheapest out of the surveyed countries at a paltry 8 cents/kWh.

Electricity Prices relevant to purchasing power

Figure 2

Our electricity prices here in Ontario are the envy of the rest of the developed world; however, other provinces do have it better than us. Manitoba, British Columbia and Quebec, in particular, have electricity rates that are considerably less than Ontario’s. However, this is because Ontario has the distinction of being the only province that uses nuclear to generate more than half of its demand. Evidently, nuclear energy has proven to be very expensive not just to build, but to maintain and keep.

The actual market price for electricity in Ontario is only about 2.5 cents/kWh; however, this is before the Global Adjustment (GA) fee is added to the price, with it, electricity rates are more than tripled. The GA charge was added to provide electricity producers with added revenue. Unfortunately, the vast majority of it was used to subsidize nuclear, natural gas and coal generation. According to the Ontario Clean Air Alliance, from 2006-2011, 45% of all GA revenue was used to subsidize nuclear power, 6.7% was used to subsidize coal and an additional 34% was given to natural gas generation.

Global Adjustment Payments

Only 6% of all GA revenue was used to subsidize new renewable energy projects and 8% was used for energy efficiency programs. Simply put, nuclear and natural gas subsidies are the reason why Ontario’s electricity rates are higher than other provinces’ and increasing. If Ontario weren’t so dependent on nuclear for its electricity, there wouldn’t be such a great need to subsidize it.

Spending tens of billions of dollars on new nuclear reactors and then several more to refurbish them years later, and have the taxpayers make up the difference is simply not fair nor does it make economic sense. Ontario is bracing for a future where renewable energy will provide the bulk of its demand, and one day it will negate the need for all of those subsidies for nuclear and natural gas generation. In the mean time, electricity rates are going to increase, and so long as renewable energy is continually opposed, there will be no end in sight for the Global Adjustment fee.

If empty promises and well wishes could power our homes, we would have solved our energy issues a long time ago. Unfortunately, reality can be cruel, and pragmatic solutions are necessary in order to ensure that our energy supply is clean, reliable and affordable in the long run even if that means increasing its price in the short term.

Smart Meters: A Smart Idea

Despite pockets of resistance in various parts throughout North America, utilities are continuing to deploy smart meters as part of a greater vision to build a smart grid. Ontario began installing smart meters en masse in 2007. BC Hydro has been installing smart meters with the goal of having all of its customers with one by the end of 2012. SaskPower has also started installing smart meters to customers in October of this year.

Smart meters have also been deployed in many jurisdictions in the United States as well. According to Greentech Media, one third of all US households have had smart meters installed. Larger states like California, Texas, and Florida will have installed smart meters in more than half of all households by 2015.

 Expected smart meter deployments by state

The rationale for this is quite simple; a smart grid is a sound investment for the future with significant added benefits such as more efficient energy use, renewable energy accommodation, and decreased chance of a massive power outage.

Since smart meters are able to timestamp a customer’s electricity consumption, it is possible to implement time-of-use pricing, which will compel people to think twice about their energy usage. Now customers will be able to shift more energy intensive activities to less expensive times like early in the morning or late at night where demand is considerably less than in the middle of the day. Or they can save money by decreasing energy usage during higher demand periods. This will ease the strain on the grid, allowing for a more consistent daily demand without major spikes in the middle of the day. It will also help customers choose wisely when it comes to energy use resulting in an overall decrease in demand.

Ontario Hydro Time of Use Rates

Ontario Hydro Time of Use Rates

The future of our grid is looking greener. A previous Energent blog post indicated that wind power is going to make up a significant portion of Ontario’s grid in the coming years. Other regions around the world continue to increase renewable energy production as well. As more renewable and intermittent energy is added to the grid, utilities will need to balance demand with generation even more carefully. But with a vast network of smart meters consistently sending utilities energy consumption data, this balancing act becomes much simpler. Armed with this data, generators can scale down energy production from more polluting sources allowing renewables to supply the grid instead, which will reduce pollution and carbon emissions.

Solar Wind Farm

Solar Wind Farm

As a result of less strain on the grid brought about by consistent communication between utilities and smart meters, power outages are less likely to occur. As the complex balancing act between generation, distribution and consumption is more simplified by a smart grid, the chances of power lines coming into contact with branches causing surges is less likely to occur. In the event of a power outage, utilities will know much quicker as the smart meters will stop sending data altogether, allowing them to respond quicker.

Toronto skyline during the 2003 blackout

Toronto skyline during the 2003 blackout

For utilities, the rationale is simple for smart meters; more information concerning the grid will improve service by preventing and responding quicker to power outages, and in the long run, help save energy through load shifting and decreased demand brought about by time-of-use pricing. The integration of renewable energy sources to the grid is an added bonus that can drastically reduce our carbon emissions. The fact that there is resistance to smart meters shouldn’t and won’t deter utilities from deploying them when the benefits are so obvious. The world is getting smarter; the grid needs to get smarter with it.

Winds of Change

Ontario’s power generation is changing rapidly. By 2014, there will be no more coal generation while renewable energy sources (particularly wind) will make up the difference. This goal has been lauded by a number of environmental groups as it will help lower Ontario’s carbon emissions, reduce air pollution, decrease our reliance on non-renewable sources of energy and at the same time, create jobs in a rapidly growing industry. However, no matter how positive these changes may be, there are certain concerns that need to be addressed about going green.

Wind Farm

Amaranth Wind Farm, the largest of its kind in Ontario

Wind power has made significant strides here in Ontario; the industry has seen an increase in the number of large scale turbines from 10 in 2003 to more than 700 today. You can also expect that number to increase in the coming years as well. According to the Ontario Ministry of Energy’s Long Term Plan, by 2030, wind power will generate 10% of the province’s energy needs (in 2010, it supplied only 2%).

Increasing our reliance on wind turbines, however, has its own set of challenges. Unlike other sources of energy such as nuclear, coal or natural gas, wind turbines can only generate energy if there is a sufficient breeze. As a result of this inherent flaw, wind power is not ideal for baseload capacity as it is not entirely reliable. Of course, when building wind turbines, energy planners look to build turbines in areas that are consistently windy, however, it’s possible that even the most notoriously windy areas can go without a breeze for prolonged periods of time.

With this in mind, the all-too-important balancing act between generation and consumption becomes slightly more complicated. Adding an increasing amount of intermittent wind power might cause generating capacity to fluctuate over shorter periods of time. Currently, whatever wind capacity is generated is used as there is no viable way to store energy in Ontario, and on days where demand is considerably higher and wind cannot make up the difference, more nuclear and natural gas generation fills the void. Although our current grid can adjust load to compensate for wind power, a greater understanding of what is happening to our grid at all times will be needed in the likely event that renewables will play an increasingly larger role. In the worst case scenario, excess wind generation will need to be sent to neighbouring grids that may need extra capacity (e.g. Quebec, New York, Michigan) so as to avoid potentially catastrophic overloads (refer to the August blog post).

Energy Grid Management Facility

Managing our grid will be paramount in future years

Another issue that should likely arise due to increased wind capacity is energy cost. Although several cost analysis have suggested that wind power is competitive with other sources of energy in terms of cost, as a result of massive subsidies given to nuclear power, wind is considerably more expensive per kWh. As such, more wind power will likely increase peoples’ utility bills in the near future.

With the rising cost of energy, a greater emphasis is placed on energy management and conservation. As mentioned in a previous blog post, energy management systems for large industrial and commercial operations can help reduce energy consumption and utility costs. Furthermore, an energy management system can pay for itself through energy savings within months of deployment.

Increasing wind generation capacity in Ontario will benefit the environment greatly. The challenges that come with it on the other hand, are not reasons to prevent more wind generation, but rather they should be seen as a warning that there is no perfect and certainly no free solution to our energy issues. Wind energy can play a very crucial role in our electricity system and although it may cost more and require additional technology and infrastructure to support it, if business and industry move forward intelligently, there should be no reason why we can’t have lower utility bills and an adequate supply of energy.

Energy Managers make all the difference

Recently, Natural Resources Canada released a report highlighting the success that embedded Energy Managers had on the Resource Sector (Mining and Gas).  These Energy Managers were able to make a significant impact on the businesses they were part of in a short period of time.

Below is a summary of the article and the successes that have been realized through the hiring of energy managers across British Columbia.

A study conducted a few years ago by BC Hydro – the Conservation Potential Review – found that the mining sector could achieve energy savings of up to 400 gigawatt hours annually. Steve Quon, Mining, Oil & Gas Sector Manager at BC Hydro’s Power Smart, says that as a result of the study, Power Smart partnered with the Mining Association of British Columbia (MABC) to look for key areas to target for energy savings. The subsequent hiring of energy managers at seven mine sites across the province was a major step in realizing those energy savings.

“Energy managers are a good story for everyone,” says Quon, noting that by having an energy manager on staff, continuous improvement is possible, and sustainability and energy efficiency become part of normal business practices. This increases operational efficiency, which is essential to the mining sector because it is British Columbia’s second largest electrical customer.

Quon explains that BC Hydro, in conjunction with the MABC, also conducted an all-fuels baseline audit, which was piloted at Walter Energy™-Western Coal’s Wolverine mine and Thompson Creek Metals Company Inc.’s Endako mines. The all-fuels baseline audit provides a detailed snapshot of energy use and waste at a mine site. It can be used yearly to compare trends in energy consumption and efficiency over time; and it can be used to compare mine sites. The audit is also a natural complement to the Mining Association of Canada’s Towards Sustainable Mining strategy.

“All of these initiatives align very well, but in order to fully implement them, a dedicated person – an energy manager – is needed,” notes Quon. Several mining companies had the information needed to move ahead but lacked the champion to make projects happen. Consequently, Power Smart offered to provide significant funding for hiring industrial energy managers to remove any financial and human resource barriers.

This allowed the following mines to hire energy managers: Highland Valley Copper mine, Thompson Creek Endako mine, Copper Mountain Mining Corporation mines, Agfa’s New Gold mine, Teck’s coal mine and Walter Energy-Western Coal’s Wolverine mine.

Most of the energy managers were hired in 2011, and although it is difficult to attribute energy savings directly to their presence, Quon says that the link is surely there. “What is equally important is that energy managers can make the business case for energy efficiency projects and ensure that energy efficiency is built into every project,” concludes Quon.

Visit BC Hydro Power Smart’s Web site for energy efficiency programs for the mining sector, including its offer for energy managers.

Thanks for reading.

Energent at Globe2012 – Shifting Focus from “If” to “Now”

Energent just returned from a very successful and enlightening week at the Globe2012 conference in Vancouver, BC.  Aside from attending very compelling presentations by global leaders in sustainability, meeting visionaries from within organizations dedicated to changing the way their business operates, we noticed a decided shift from talk to action.  No longer are the conversations blue sky and what-ifs; they are about concrete actions and achieved results.

In our environment, those that are interested in energy management of commercial, institutional, and industrial building are pushing their current systems to keep up to the demand of an engaged and enthusiastic energy manager.  The are asking questions like:

What if my energy monitoring system could build in best-case scenarios and I could build business cases directly from the reporting tool?

They are pushing their monitoring systems by saying:

I need my energy monitoring system to help me manage energy in every part of my business, and experts to help me use this tool.

Ultimately, we have found that an Energy Management system is very similar to a gym membership.  If you buy an Energy Management system and just look at it, you aren’t going to be very successful at managing energy.  If you buy a gym membership to lose weight and you just keep the card in your wallet, you aren’t going to be very successful at losing weight or getting healthier.

Energy Management is a participation sport.  We are going to focus on that in our next few posts because Energy Managers have been lied to for the past 5+ years.  We want to set the record straight…and based on the presentations at Globe2012, software providers are going to be pushed to provide more than data.  We need to start taking that data and turning into information, and from that information, use people combined with the software tools, to create knowledge.  Knowledge will enable a true revolution in energy management.

Stay tuned as we teach all energy managers about turning mountains of data into usable knowledge that will enable great decisions.

Thanks to the presenters and attendees at Globe2012 for focusing the conversation from “If” to “Now”.  Amazing.

Don’t forget that Energent is hosting its newest webinar or Greenhouse Gas reporting requirments for public builings Thursday, March 22 at 2pm EST  Click here to register.

Energent particpating at Globe 2012

Energent is excited to be part of the premiere global conference on sustainability and the environmental economy.  Globe 2012 brings together a worldwide audience to discuss and debate the pressing issues of the economics of environmental sustainability.  Energent is excited to be part of this world-class conference and tradeshow, and to participate as part of the Ontario Pavillion.

At the tradeshow, Energent will be showcasing two products.  The first product is Energent’s class-leading Energy Management Information System.  Energent’s EMIS platform provides visibility into the real-time energy consumption of operations in industrial, institutional, and commercial buildings.  The comprehensive reporting and alerting that is enabled because of the Energent platform drives companies to lower energy consumption and save money.

Energent will also be presenting it’s leading-edge Home Energy Smart Grid platform.  The Energy Hub Management System (EHMS) is being deployed across Ontario through partnerships with Hydro One, Ontario Power Authority, and the University of Waterloo.  Energent’s EHMS is a web-based, two-way communication and software optimization  engine, providing every home with the opportunity to optimize thier home energy consumption based on goals for the end user and the Utility.  Home owners see value through lower energy costs and improved visibility into their consumption, and Utilities will be able to optimize the distribution of electricity to thousands of homes, lowering peaks, and improving efficiency.

At the conference, Energenet will be presenting an update on the roll out across Ontario and will welcome other Utilities and jurisdictions that are interested in grid optimization to speak to them at Globe.

To arrange a meeting with Energent at the Globe 2012 conference on either the EMIS or the Smart Grid EHMS, please contact Craig Haney at, or by phone at 519-725-0906 x2007.  Energent is looking for productive meetings with utilities and municipalities interested in reducing peak demand on their grid through Home Energy Management plans.  Energent is also interested in meeting with commercial building operators, municipalities, and manufacturing organizations looking to lower their energy consumption through real-time reporting and ehanced energy analytics.

Look for Energent at Globe 2012 in booth 1117-13 at the Ontario Pavillion on the Globe Tradeshow Floor.

Thanks for reading

It’s tough to be in manufacturing these days

It’s pretty difficult for manufacturers in North America to compete.  This is nothing new to this industry, but it doesn’t make it any easier to manage.  Recently in Ontario we have seen some very high profile manufacturing plants close and move operations to some other jurisdiction.  In both these cases, these jobs stayed within North America, but the plants were closed for the same reason…to reduce costs.

Energent was created when our manufacturing clients wanted to understand their energy use, with the ultimate goal of reducing their energy costs.  Since 2007, we have been working with manufacturing clients to help them achieve these two primary goals:

  1. Better understand where their energy is being spent
  2. How to reduce the cost of energy and maintain production

We receive the most interest from manufacturers when times are tough and they are looking for every possible savings opportunity.  Energy is rarely thought of as a manageable expense, but that is changing every day.

Electricity and Natural Gas are already an important part of most manufacturer’s budget considerations.  Most VP’s of production in manufacturing facilities pay their energy bills without consideration of how to change them.  We often hear

We can’t change production schedules to accommodate energy costs.  How else can we manage this expense?

Energy management comes in all forms, including altering productions schedules when that is feasible.  When it’s not, information on energy’s contribution to each production line highlights where savings can be found.

In a case study on our website showcases how a simple analysis of furnaces in different production lines produced savings in the first year of $240,000!  No change in production, no costly retrofits.  It was found that one furnace was significantly less efficient than the other furnaces, and once the furnace manufacturer repaired the furnace,  their natural gas consumption significantly dropped, with no change in production.

As manufacturers continue to look for innovative and impactful cost reductions, energy can become a manageable expense and a strategic opportunity to increase profits.  We are committed to supporting the manufacturing sector and will do what we can to offer cost-effective solutions that support this important economic engine.

Thanks for reading

Energy Management comes home

This week, the US Government announced the Green Button Initiative with the hopes that millions of home owners will be able to monitor and control their home utility bills through the web and smartphone apps.  The New York Times wrote a strong blog post on it today (you can see it here)This is definitely not another “big brother” initiative by the White House; this is a plan that will encourage and enable the private sector to build tools to support this government program.  Three of California’s largest utilties joined the Initiative to encourage adoption of a standard by which Utilities will home utility bill information can be viewed and downloaded directly from the Utility website.

It’s a very interesting strategy put forth from the White House.  Encourage the big utilties to share information in a consistent manner, then step out of the way and watch the private sector fill in the gaps.  More importantly, will home owners care enough to find this information on their Utility’s website, or will they just think it’s noise that needs to be drowned out?  Our hope is that people will care, but our belief is that they will only care if it makes financial sense to care.

Energent is deploying Home Energy Management Systems across the province with the goal to reduce electricity consumption and increase awareness.  The data isn’t in yet as to the impact on electricity reduction, but our research tells us that will coincide with the level of engagement.  So, what does this mean?  Energent believes that we have to engage the end consumer and make energy relevant to them.  To do this it must be easy to collect the data, interesting to read, and will save them enough money that it matters.

Creating a standardized platform to allow users to easily access and review this information is a great first step.  It is now up to the Utilities and the private sector to create compelling reasons and great products to drive this Home Energy Management business model.  Any business models that are based solely on government subsidies are at best mediocre, and at worst doomed.  Here’s hoping we can all do our part in Canada and the United States to build this market into a meaningful growth opportunity, not one of just speculation and government handouts.

Thanks for reading.


The value (& challenges) of energy benchmarking

We have recently begun to work with a number of commercial and hospital clients looking for a benchmarking tool that accurately reflects the similarities and differences between related buildings, AND will provide valuable insight into WHY buildings are performing the way they are.  Relating energy consumption to square footage is great, but we need to know why buildings are different and if they have changed over time.  This post will talk about the advantages and disadvantages of benchmarking and why it is absolutely necessary for multi-site retail and commercial buildings.

The Advantages of Benchmarking are very well known and obvious to those who spend time talking about energy management.  If weather and occupancy patterns are being normalized through accurate modeling techniques, then square footage of a commercial or retail location is a great way to compare locations.  If locations are a similar size, then their energy consumption should be approximately the same.  If not, then there is an opportunity to review operational procedures and identify changes that could be improved.  We can also create competitions between stores to challenge the staff and management to “beat” similar stores.  Providing relevant metrics that can be easily measured and compared makes competitions a very appealing aspect of benchmarking.

The disadvantages of benchmarking come from the subtle differences between similar stores and the challenge of defining metrics that everyone can agree on.  In a hospital, there are so many differences between the way hospitals are built, their age, the number of MRI machines, how many floors, how many beds, etc. and it makes relevant comparisons very difficult.  The age of the building, the efficiency of the heating, cooling, and lighting all provide significant challenges for creating relevant and meaningful metrics for benchmarking.

With all these challenges, why is it necessary for multi-site facilities to benchmark?  Companies need to have context on how they their energy consumption stacks up against their internal stores and the competition.  Energy Management Information Systems are able to normalize for many of the variables (weather, occupancy, number of escalators, computers, MRI machines, etc.) and provide feedback in the form of charts and graphs and reports.  If energy consumption is lower in 2011 than it was in 2010, why is that?  Was the weather more moderate?  Was their less traffic in the stores?  Benchmarking can provide information on all of this information, and ultimately provide context and relevance to utility bills that every building operator and business executive would like to better manage and understand.

Many times we hear from building operators that benchmarking can’t be done well because the facilities are just too different.  Our recommendation is to start small and focus on the metrics that highlight the similarities, and account for the differences the best possible way.  Benchmarking may never be perfect, but with a little work and creativity, benchmarking can be an important part of a corporate energy strategy.

Thanks for reading.