aM&T & Behavioural Change

Increasing the awareness of energy consumption at all levels within an organisation is certainly nothing new. Labels applied to light switches and heating controls imploring us to consider the impact of our actions come in and out of fashion.

The last few years have seen much debate on the subject. To some, ‘behavioural change’ is the holy grail of energy management, hard to achieve but a fight worth winning. Does an increased level of awareness amongst stakeholders and employees cut consumption by a useful amount, or is it tinkering around the edges when what you really need is a new boiler and some LED lighting? If it is worth the carrot – how best to achieve it?

Well the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so the delivery mechanism is the starting point and the monitoring and targeting software has been the method of choice for the practioners so far. Gone are the days when the Energy Manager is the only individual who wanted to log in to the M&T system. Nowadays anyone can do, and we hope everyone wants to.

There have been changes of course! If you’re thinking bar charts, regression analysis and CUSUM, you’d be dead right, but of more relevance to the subject of this article are interactive dashboards, realtime building energy displays, multi-platform compatibility and unlimited user profiles. All of these features have appeared relatively recently as customers demand –and get – more from their M&T software. M&T – from the right provider – is now a ‘big data’ operation.

Today’s dashboards are both attractive and informative. The web pages can be tailored for the required ‘corporate’ appearance or combined with interactive building or site diagrams to simplify navigation. The first challenge is to get the invited audience to turn up at all. The second is to get them to come back, and good design is critical. But that’s not delivering behavioural change!

As always, the software is just the tool, and in this instance it’s an effective one but it is how it is used that is key to success. At Elcomponent we’ve seen a great deal of imagination applied to this by our customers but in most cases the software is used to foster competition, best practice and lowering consumption. This often takes the form of a league table, which sounds simple, but nevertheless requires a degree of sophistication to deliver. Apples must be compared with apples, so information such as floor area, occupancy and degree data must form part of the equation. If this is not the case, the data will lack credibility and interest will wane quickly. If all the key ingredients are present, the results tend to back the enthusiasts view of behavioural change.

What are those ingredients again?

  • An Attractive presentation (it’s an invited audience)
  • Cross-platform compatibility (that audience uses smartphones!)
  • Accurate data (you still need your AMR must work properly!)
  • Correct use of driver data (traditional M&T functionality)
  • The right provider!

So come and see us at EMEX to find out more.