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Energy Diary v2 – Call for input

Written by CarbonCulture Team on 5th September 2014

One of the more technical tools in the initial CarbonCulture collection has been Energy Diary. This is a tool to record energy and energy-impacting events to provide ways to assess what works and what doesn't on your energy-saving journey.

In essence, what we're all doing when we make changes in buildings is running a series of experiments. Looking at it in that way, the business case is just a hypothesis – and when we run the experiment, a number of complex, interconnected changes will take place: not just with energy performance, but also with staff comfort, employee satisfaction, leadership perceptions and more. 

Collecting the evidence required to complete the experiment – to find out the causes of the savings we make, and to inform decisions about trade-offs for the best outcomes – has traditionally been too costly for anything but special-purpose scientific studies.

We built the first version of Energy Diary (v.1) as a test, to see whether this process could be made easier and cheaper, and bring the benefits of evidence-based decision-making to many more organisations, and so save more carbon! We're taking the opportunity presented by changes in the underlying platform to take things to the next level, with a new version of Energy Diary!

We're designing Energy Diary v.2 to make it really easy to collect the information you'll need to help you keep an accurate record of your projects and initiatives. It will also help you collect the data you'll need to run post-hoc analysis of your projects, processes and external events. This will help you to learn more about the patterns of energy use and energy efficiency as they impact you and your users. As always, the overall aim is to help you get more efficient, with happier staff and lower bills, more quickly and at less cost.

We'd love whatever input and ideas you'd like to give us – especially about any planned energy saving projects you'd like to measure the impact of. Can you think of internal and external stimuli that you'd love to know the effects of – not just your own energy projects but external drivers as well, from an open-house day to a solar eclipse, from a broken CHP to a new change process to the impact of new building regs. 

We’d also like to know about the people who you would need to input information. What are their job roles, and what challenges would there be for them around inputting information? Send us feedback or leave a comment below, and we'll keep you up to date with progress on the way to Energy Diary version 2!

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Chris Large on 13th October 2014 at 11:08 a.m.

The overt internal publicity of energy infrastructure improvements is an often untapped source of internal pride and positivity that the Energy Diary could boost. Energy teams have often made changes to estates silently for fear of complaints. But the changes that are being made are almost always better for the occupants - be they staff, visitors, patients, students or contractors. They may be making the building a better temperature, improving light quality, or helping staff run their workplaces energy efficiently (e.g. with PIR lighting meaning staff don't have to remember to turn lights out). These three suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg.

The energy diary could prompt energy teams to think of all the benefits to users of the changes they are going to make. It can then also prompt energy teams to communicate that the estate is being improved and, beginning with the energy teams being proud of those improvements, spread a sense of progress and pride in the workplace amongst the building users.

Consultation with building users could also be prompted by the energy diary. When energy teams are clear on the benefits to staff, they can consult with the people that will be affected by the process of installing the infrastructure changes with a solid argument for making the improvements. Giving staff a place in the improvement process will help to garner their support to help the new infrastructure perform optimally. If you can find genuine choices for staff, energy teams will get better engagement. For example, in lighting upgrades staff may not get a choice over the type of lightbulb being installed, so don't offer involvement in that decision. But perhaps staff can get a choice over which weekend or evening the changes are made to minimise disruption to their work, and whether staff would like their desks to be cleared for them and papers replaced after the work has been completed, or whether staff would rather clear their own desks.

In summary, I'd like to see the energy diary facilitate the involvement of all staff in energy system upgrades, and foster of a sense of pride in the improving building.

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