How to Monitor Energy Use in Schools Through Energy Visualization
In recent years, budget-constrained organizations have found improving energy use in schools is an effective way to stretch the value of limited finances and reduce reliance on nonrenewable energy resources. At the same time, behavioral improvements from energy management programs often result in longer equipment life, as smarter methods of use tend to decrease the demand placed on machinery.
Despite the clear benefits, energy management is a process heavily reliant on intensively curated data that reflects the status of district assets, requiring in-depth knowledge of how to read and interpret this information. Energy visualization is one way many district administrators are able to easily understand critical energy consumption information and convey it to colleagues and stakeholders.
Poor Consumption Habits Exacerbate Budget Issues
With most states spending less per student since the 2007 Recession, the trend of states underfunding pubic education has no end in sight. Districts need to recognize that continual overspending on utilities leads to higher energy costs, leaving fewer dollars available for improving student learning.
Districts without the resources to curtail unnecessary expenses may be forced to cut arts and music classes, cancel vital programs or lay off teachers and staff — all valuable resources for ensuring every student’s long-term success.
How Does Energy Visualization Impact Energy Use in Schools?
According to the National Library of Medicine, a recent study found that turning raw data into easy-to-understand forms through visualization tools helps people remember key points — such as areas of needed improvement and potential savings growth. More importantly, images connect data to emotions, and emotional attachment helps encourage people to make meaningful changes to their behaviors.
For schools, being able to communicate program success to students, especially the younger ones, can encourage participation and instill lifelong habits of sustainability. At an administrative level, data visualization can aid stakeholders and key decision makers in gauging the success of a program and determining its future.
How to Apply Energy Visualization in Your District
Following a few best practices can help your district take advantage of visualizing energy use in schools. These include:
- Make data accessible on multiple displays.Data in a central system is excellent, but limited access to data contributes to less-than-optimal performance and miscommunication, both of which can be detrimental to multi-site organizations with a portfolio of facilities to maintain.
- Captured images to understand heat loss or gain. Infrared images can be used to help schools understand where heat loss or gain occurs. As a result, appropriate actions may be taken to minimize disruption to the indoor environment and maximize HVAC system performance.
- Use a colorful, vivid format that makes it easier to differentiate data. Separating data through bright, easily-distinguishable colors reduces confusion and helps people see where energy opportunities exist. Also, the colors used can evoke an emotional response and make key takeaways from graphs and charts easier to remember.
- Make data interactive. Accessing primary data is essential. However, a facility manager must go deeper to analyze the data to go from raw data to actionable insights. The ability to drill down into the data to determine the factors influencing energy consumption equips facility managers with actionable insights to reduce energy-related costs and maximize every dollar spent on utilities.
- Take advantage of an established platform that leverages energy visualizations. The Cenergistic Executive®, GreenX®, and Simulate® platforms are visualization-rich — using highly graphical displays to ensure key points are easy to recognize — and they conveniently complement Cenergistic’s comprehensive energy management programs. Designed for busy administrators, the Executive app provides decision makers with up-to-date visuals of program success.
See How Visualizations Bring Cost Avoidance and Sustainability to Life With Cenergistic’s Sustainability Platforms
Visualizations are the fastest and easiest way to judge success and savings in your school facilities. In addition, visualizations for savings and sustainability strategy aid the district in planning short-term and long-term budgetary factors. Learn more about the ways Cenergistic can help your district visualize and act on energy savings opportunities by contacting us at 1-855-798-7779 or visiting our website Cenergistic.com.