New Urjanet Survey: Efforts to Mitigate the Impact of Soaring Summer Energy Costs Are Tempered by Lack of Operational Data

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While many companies attempt to lessen the impact of soaring summer energy costs, a lack of visibility into and control over consumption data prevents them from saving more

“With the access to the right tools and data, summer can become a time to find savings, and reduce annual energy budgets.” - Sanjoy Malik, CEO, Urjanet

A recent Urjanet survey of over 150 U.S. energy executives confirmed that energy costs soar during the summer. While companies take many steps to lessen the impact of these cost increases, a lack of visibility into usage data prevents them from saving even more.

Urjanet conducted an online survey during July and August focused on understanding the strategies companies use to reduce energy consumption and energy cost during the summer months. Sixty percent (60%) of the respondents indicated that their average electricity rates for peak usage (and correspondingly their energy costs) go up during summer. Most, but not all, companies have strategies in place to reduce energy spend, with the focus being on managing cooling costs, which thirty-eight percent (38%) of respondents said comprise between forty-one and sixty percent (41 – 60%) of their company’s total energy use during the summer.

It was clear from the survey that the strategies and decisions around managing energy use are being made based on “intuition” rather than real data, limiting their effectiveness in reducing cost. Ten percent (10%) of respondents said they don’t know how much cooling really contributes to energy use during the summer. Forty-three percent (43%) said they don’t have smart meters to monitor daily usage, or if they have smart meters, they do not use the data. Selection of the correct tariffs is one of the most effective ways of reducing utility spend. Urjanet's survey results suggest that companies are not paying attention to this very important lever, with thirty-two percent (32%) of the companies using “default” tariffs provided by the utility, and a further seventeen percent (17%) using tariffs based on their utility’s recommendation.

Overall, the lack of easy and efficient access to multi-utility (electricity, water, gas) data ranked as the top challenge to monitoring and reducing energy spend during the summer months. While some companies have no access at all, twenty percent (20%) of respondents listed manually entered utility bills (an inefficient process producing error-prone results) as their primary source of this data.

“Summer is the perfect time to reevaluate the strategies companies use to gain insight into their energy consumption and spend, particularly because energy costs increase, and the right tariff selection becomes more crucial,” says Sanjoy Malik, CEO at Urjanet. “With the access to the right tools and data, summer can become a time to find savings, and reduce annual energy budgets.”

Urjanet’s survey revealed several other interesting data points:

1)    The top three strategies for reducing cooling costs were-
a)    Improving the building envelope (insulation, doors, windows) – Thirty-six percent (36%) of companies surveyed
b)    Altering temperature based on location within a facility – Thirty-five percent (35%) of companies surveyed
c)    Altering temperature based on time of day – Thirty-two percent (32%) of companies surveyed
2)    Twenty-one percent (21%) of respondents said they aren’t doing anything to avoid Peak Use Demand Charges
3)    Eighteen percent (18%) said they did not know how their company’s tariffs are determined
4)    Thirty-one percent (31%) of respondents said that the high cost/low ROI of energy efficiency projects is their greatest challenge, as it prevents new investments from being made in monitoring and reducing energy spend in the summer
5)    Forty-seven percent (47%) of respondents think they can be doing more during the summer to reduce spend and meet their sustainability goals
6)    Fourteen percent (14%) of companies use alternative energy (solar, wind) to supply their buildings during peak hours to avoid Peak Demand charges.

ABOUT URJANET
Urjanet’s mission is to provide the world with easy access to automated utility data. Our cloud-based platform connects directly to utilities to seamlessly acquire and normalize disparate utility bill and interval data. The processed data is delivered directly to industry-leading business applications.

Public and private organizations across the world use Urjanet data to achieve sustainability goals and reduce energy consumption and cost. Urjanet is rapidly becoming the global standard for utility data and powers applications from the leading energy and sustainability solutions providers. Urjanet is a privately-held company headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. For more information, visit urjanet.com.

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Adam Bowers
Urjanet
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