Authors Note: Since the point in time when I published this post, some of the links have expired. So, I have gone through it and renewed them and also made a few edits.
Linking to the Weather Data Depot in my previous post reminded me of another recently released free resource. Several months ago, the California Energy Commission released the retrocommissioning toolkit on via the California Commissioning Collaborative’s website. The toolkit includes a number of useful tools, but the one that came to mind in the context of the previous post is the Utility Consumption Analysis Tool (UCAT). Here is a screen shot of the raw output generated by the tool as used for a recent project.
The tool also plots the data in a basic chart, but I usually copy it into a different spreadsheet so I can have more control over the colors and arrangement, which are locked down in the tool to facilitate its automated operation. Here is what that data looks like in a standard energy analysis spreadsheet that I have, which I use early on in a project to help me understand how energy is used and the potential savings I might anticipate, and thus, the budget.
But bottom line, the arrangement of the spreadsheet allows you to develop the data you need and plot a normalized graph of average daily energy consumption almost faster than I can type this.
You simply enter billing dates and the consumption for the billing period and the spreadsheet takes care of the normalization process, including filling in for missing months. Several years of data can be plotted for comparison along with other data that you want to contrast with consumption patterns.
In the example above, I have plotted cooling and heating degree days. The degree data came from the Weather Data Depot site I mentioned and was added to the chart in my spreadsheet tool. But the UCAT tool includes a table that would allow you to add the data directly into the tool, which causes it to plot on the chart the tool generates, along with the energy data.
I could have also plotted percent occupancy, rooms sold, central plant energy, or any other monthly information that I had available for comparison using the empty table.
The bottom line is that the tool makes monitoring and analyzing your facilities energy consumption patterns a matter of a few simple key strokes. For a discussion of ways to use this type of analysis to target commissioning and efficiency, opportunities and help them persist, see Using Utility Bills and Average Daily Energy Consumption to Target Commissioning Efforts and Track Building Performance, which is a paper I wrote on the topic for the International Conference on Enhanced Building Operations.
David Sellers, P.E., Senior Engineer
Facility Dynamics Engineering
Visit FDE’s commissioning resources website at http://www.av8rdas.com/
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