‘First you measure it, then you improve it’. Allow us to freely adapt this famous quote by Lord Kelvin. Energy management standards, such as EN ISO 50001, offer a comprehensive approach to the behavioural, technological and regulatory requirements related to energy efficiency.
This involves more change management than technical management. The new breed of energy managers understands the baseline and energy savings potential, forecasts energy needs, strategically sources energy, calculates return on investment and understands the regulatory environment. As these are rare birds still today, there is a need for an initiative that centralises energy management training across borders and in a coherent manner.
True! Here’s a counterfactual that is particularly difficult to grasp in its entirety:
Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is projected to cause about 250,000 additional deaths per year from heat stress, malnutrition and the spread of infectious diseases.
World Health Organisation
Since this tweet, gamification – the use of game design elements in non-game contexts – is being increasingly seen as a way to enhance energy efficiency by driving customer engagement and energy-related behaviour change.
Benchmarking relies on metering, but equally important is the provision feedback to energy users in understandable terms. And it’s important to have a feedback screen that is highly visible compared to the meter in the cellar.
When applying gamification to residential consumers, such feedback could be combined with customised energy saving advice.
The leader in energy management strategies has traditionally been the industrial sector. The good news is that the commercial sector is now also increasingly choosing to optimise the energy use of their facilities to realise the benefits of energy management.
A key reason is the increasing affordability of technology such as smart thermostats, lighting controls, and IoT-connected devices. Another is that these IoT devices and other energy management equipment for commercial businesses are now commonly included in utility automated demand response programs which offer incentives to reduce demand.
The context of this tweet is the EU’s goal to replace at least 80% of electricity meters with smart metering systems by 2020.
However, consumers must be actively encouraged to use them. This involves effective and ongoing consumer education to encourage them to make the most of the opportunities arising out of smart meter data. This requires much better communication by governments, retailers, networks, consumers and community organisations as part of the smart meter rollout.