Advanced data analytics are spurring a step-change shift in how we measure and verify energy savings. Amid this evolving landscape, a new report called The Changing EM&V Paradigm by Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP) examines the influence of automated M&V (Measurement and Verification) in shaping energy efficiency programs. The report reviews how using analytics and new data collection tools in the program evaluation process can drastically curtail the time and costs to produce evaluation results.
Retroficiency is notably featured, displaying how its patent-pending software analytics are driving deeper energy savings at scale for the commercial market. The NEEP report delves into two case studies of Retroficiency’s platform in action: Maryland Energy Administration’s “On Ramp Pilot” and Con Edison’s “Targeted Demand Side Management Program.”
Of worthy discussion is the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) case study, which is a key emerging example of how virtual energy assessments and automated M&V can be harnessed to support opportunity identification and low cost savings tracking. Conducted by the Maryland Energy Administration on behalf of PEPCO, the On Ramp Pilot applied Retroficiency software to target and segment customers based only on savings opportunities from no-cost operational measures. MEA’s goal was to understand whether operational-based savings could motivate traditionally underserved commercial segments to take action on energy efficiency, and be leveraged as an on-ramp to other types of measures (e.g. capital projects).
For this program MEA and Retroficiency partnered with Montgomery County Public Schools, which oversees more than 200 schools in Maryland. Working closely with the school system’s energy management team, Retroficiency remotely analyzed energy consumption data from eight schools to identify the three strongest candidates for the pilot as based on operational savings potential. Following the screening process, phone conversations and on-site building walkthroughs yielded robust operational recommendations and action plans for each school. The Maryland Energy Administration optimized its summer schedules during the pilot period in each school, with several more measures being implemented during the school year.
Once measures from these plans were implemented, Retroficiency estimated realized energy savings with its Efficiency Track automated M&V software. Efficiency Track employs an algorithm that automatically generates a weather- and occupant-normalized consumption baseline. This baseline is then compared to post-implementation consumption to continuously track whole building savings.
Results from Efficiency Track determined an average savings of 13 percent from no-cost operational improvements. The realized savings and subsequent measurement instilled confidence in energy managers, demonstrating the value of the efficiency measures. “Retroficiency’s ability to rapidly analyze hourly meter data and make actionable recommendations is a very unique solution that highlighted further operational improvements and savings, with no capital investment required,” said Shela Plank, energy program manager for Montgomery County Public Schools.
The study validated how auto M&V can accelerate the process of verifying implemented efficiency measures and significantly streamline customary program investigations. It also showed that energy savings can vary significantly from building to building, even when the same operational measure is implemented. As such, utilities, program administrators and regulators need to consider how to 1) deploy building-specific M&V more broadly, and 2) determine how to document and treat unexpected, real-world events when doing so.
Cross-posted from the Retroficiency blog.