The Covid-19 impact in your energy baseline
Adjusting your baselines is important in order to be able to correctly report the savings achieved, in case you have to share them or if they are guaranteed in your CRE contract.
During the Covid-19 Lockdown periodCovid-19, many of the static variables of the buildings were modified, such as the operating hours, the occupancy of the sites, the opening area (as in the case of shops), the level of ventilation of the sites, etc.
What is almost certain is that the Covid-19 period affected your building's consumption in one way or another, and the impact of this variation in consumption makes monitoring the savings from your energy efficiency projects more complicated.
To help you avoid the impact of Covid-19 on your current and future savings calculations, here are some tips you can follow.
What is a baseline
A baseline is the holy grail of energy efficiency projects. It is basically a statistical energy model of how a facility (i.e. a supermarket) should be consuming today if no energy efficiency retrofits were executed.
The idea is powerful. If I can estimate how much energy I should be consuming today, then I can compare this to the current energy that is consumed and the gap will represent the savings. In other words:
- Baseline period: 12 - 36 months taken as historical data
- Reporting period: Period of time when the savings are evaluated. Agreed in the EPC contract. Normally from 12 to 60 months.
- ECM: Energy Conservative Measure is executed and facility becomes more efficient
- Reporting period measured energy: Measures from bills or real-time energy monitoring
- Savings: Amount of energy not consumed.
Seems like calculating a baseline is simple, right? Well, a baseline is built using historical data, normally from 12 to 36 months. Facility conditions change a lot over 3 years (i.e. weather can be warmer from one year to another), or activity can change, or a pandemic can force you to close the building for a particular period of time or reduce the number of users, thus the energy consumption, for long periods.
This is why the baseline statistical model should include the parameters that correlate with the facility’s energy consumption, if we can measure them, such as external temperature and occupancy levels.
A baseline normally takes some days/weeks to get adjusted and calculated if you use simple tools such as Excel. If you want to properly adjust your baseline like a pro in a cost-effective way, you can use the Automatic Baseline Calculator (ABC) available on DEXMA Analyse, as I will show you later on.
There is even a protocol to calculate baselines, called International Performance Measurement and Verification Protocol (IPMVP)
In Covid-19 times, maybe you have found yourself in one of these situations when it comes to readjusting your baseline:
- [Case 1] Calculate the savings of an Energy Conservation Measure (ECM) by making an adjustment to the baseline during the Covid-19 lockdown period.
- [Case 2] Calculate the savings of an ECM avoiding the Covid-19 lockdown period
- [Case 3] Calculate Baselines with DEXMA avoiding Covid-19 lockdown period
- [Case 4] Calculate Baselines with ABC including the Covid-19 lockdown period
In any case, the most suitable method to apply to each project will be different and will depend very much on the activity of the centre and how it has been affected by this damned pandemic. If you would like to know how to calculate your baselines or verify savings in your measurement and verification projects, and learn how to calculate it for each case, I encourage you to read this article where it explains the steps to follow.
And if you want, try the DEXMA automatic baseline calculator (ABC) here, among many other functionalities.