Tuesday, April 3, 2012

How True Are YOUR Models?

Ever wonder how accurate your energy savings projections are?

Like to know what level of confidence you (and your clients) should have in YOUR energy audit software savings projections?

Do you believe in the adage:  Garbage In, Garbage Out?

I have 10+ years worth of energy use, on a spreadsheet.  Doesn't everyone keep such a thing?

You mean everyone is not obsessive compulsive about their fuel use?  Really, you don't have a spreadsheet like this for all their vehicles?  You don't want to know your fuel cost per mile?

OK, I get it.   Clients aren't calling contractors with "Hey, you said I'd save $700 and I only saved $250!!"   People simply are not tracking results.  Nobody cares.

Rather, I think most everyone DOES care (popularity of sites like Fuelly proves people want to roll with this, they just don't want to invent the WHEEL to do it!).  The issue is just not enough to figure out how to do it on their own. 

Gathering energy data is so onerous, bills are so frustrating and confusing, very few care enough to suffer through the effort.  It's as unpleasant as doing taxes with no guaranteed reward, no clear incentive.  Guess it's like hiking.  Sure I like to hike, but I'm not interested in climbing Everest.  Way too much work for a hard to imagine reward at best, non-existent reward at worst.

Well, I wanted to know.  I worried about selling a bunch of hooey, so I kept track.

And for larger projects, the savings is supposed to carry a fair amount of the improvement cost, so failure could be a fair harm to people.  I felt a need for some due diligence.  I even put some time into BLOGGING about projects.


Some of what I learned - I learned that if you build an accurate model, true it to actual energy use, put some thought into good, interconnected energy design, and insured the work was done diligently, actual savings exceeded model projections.


Model Accuracy, Truing Energy Use, Improvement Design, Implementation Diligence, Energy Cost, any place there is a variable that an inaccurate metric is either required ($1.60 therm for natural gas, really!?), or can accidentally be overlooked (If truing is not required, and you are in a hurry to get the work out...), or you need to hit some arbitrary SAVINGS RATIO to have the job qualify for incentives, or it won't sell and you've done 15 hours of work for no compensation... (SIR Cliff).

...If you've made it this far and would like me to continue, please leave a comment or question.

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