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January Newsletter for Schools

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This Month: Top 3 Tips to Use DECK Software Tools for Energy Audits

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DECK Tools for Energy Auditing on Your Campus

More and more schools are looking to DECK to provide Energy Dashboard displays in their facilities. Dashboards are a great way to encourage energy conservation in campus communities, and also to generate powerful “green PR” campaigns.

But did you know that the DECK Monitoring solution also includes a powerful suite of analytic and diagnostic tools to help you identify cost saving opportunities in your energy network? 

DECK software tools can be used to perform insightful energy audits on your campus. Your facility managers can use our software to identify wasteful energy practices and to prioritize energy-related projects. These tools are available in the DECK Admin Panel, a password-protected web interface that comes standard with every DECK dashboard system. 

This article outlines our top 3 tips to achieve actionable energy audit results with DECK software tools:

   1.  Extend Your Visibility by Uploading Historical Data

This summer DECK introduced the “Virtual Device” feature, which allows users to manually upload their own data sets through the Admin Panel interface. Your data sets will populate to our interface and will appear as graphs in your analytics section (see a full article on this feature here).

One great benefit of the Virtual Device feature is the ability to enter historical data into the DECK software program. This feature allows you to begin work immediately to identify seasonal usage trends and big picture items, rather than waiting to accrue a year’s worth of reported data. Even if you’ve just installed your DECK Monitoring system, you have the ability to analyze decades’ worth of data using our powerful Admin Panel tools.

Uploading your own data sets can be done easily with a minimal time investment. Collect the data from historical utility bill records, then format that data into a spreadsheet. Each energy value must be paired with a date/time signature. You can choose whatever granularity matches your energy bill format: monthly, daily, or even hourly if that data is available to you. Once the data is compiled, export as a CSV file.

   2. Upload Weather Data to Identify Heating and Cooling Hogs

Ever wonder which campus buildings show the biggest energy spikes during cold snaps and hot spells? With weather data you can easily identify the facilities that show the greatest change in energy usage during periods of extreme hot or cold weather. This information will help you prioritize insulation and weatherization projects on campus.

There are two ways to upload weather data into your DECK software application:

Weather Station:
You can choose to include one of our affordable weather station models as part of your DECK Monitoring package. A weather station automatically sends data to your software interface, including temperature. You can see those data points in your Admin Panel and graph them alongside reporting energy data values for all your monitored campus buildings.

Manual Upload:
Weather data can be manually uploaded to our software application using the Virtual Device feature. Each temperature data point will need to be paired with a date/time signature and formatted as a CSV document… full instructions for the Virtual Device feature can be found here.

   3. Set Energy Usage Targets with Benchmarks and Baselines

Baselines and benchmarks values are powerful tools to help understand performance across your campus energy network. Baseline and benchmark values can help you identify buildings and facilities with outsized usage profiles or unusual seasonal variations. Baselines and benchmarks are also a powerful tool when displayed in your dashboard graphs… this information helps to shape energy usage behavior in the campus community.

What are baselines and benchmarks?
Baselines are performance projections that are specific to your facilities and your energy network devices. Baseline energy usage projections may have been provided by the engineers and architects who designed your campus facilities. Baseline performance projections may also accompany some hardware devices.

Benchmarks are not specific to your campus facilities. Rather, these are general performance projections that are adjusted for major factors such as regional weather patterns, age of your facility, square footage, and general usage patterns (such as church vs. hospital). The US government has compiled extensive building benchmark information compiled from survey data… this benchmark data is available free of charge from several sources including the helpful website buildingbenchmarks.com.

 

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