This course is about learning the basics of understanding actual energy use in buildings. It is about first learning to ask the right questions—thinking deeply about what you want to know and who you want to have understand the answer—and then assembling and using the tools to answer those questions. You may be looking at newer or older existing whole-building energy use, or at subsystems in the building. The buildings may be older buildings that haven’t been upgraded, they may be buildings that have been retrofit where you want to know how energy use has changed, or they may be new buildings whose performance you want to understand and compare to design-phase energy use estimates. The term "energy analytics" describes an emerging process of taking data from a building on a regular basis, usually automatically, and applying some intelligence to it to provide feedback to the owner to improve energy use or to alert the owner to issues with systems in the building. In some systems this is done automatically, with computer algorithms checking automatically data uploaded from a building monitoring system and providing feedback to the building operator. In this course, you will be doing the data gathering and the analysis. You may employ simple or sophisticated equipment, or you may rely on energy usage data that you can gather from suppliers, or you may do some of both. You will choose how deep to dive into data collection and analysis in a capstone project that you will design, with guidance and personal help along the way.
During this 6-week course, you’ll learn how to answer two important questions:
- “What information do we need to know to find out how well a building (or a system in it) is doing?”
- “How do we gather and analyze information to answer our question?”
Engineers, energy consultants, architects, building portfolio managers, and property managers will learn what data to to gather, how to analyze it and when it makes sense to use energy monitoring hardware. Each student in the course will choose a system or building to measure and work through the entire process, including, when needed, purchasing and installing monitoring gear. Andy Shapiro, the expert instructor and President & Owner of Energy Balance, Inc. will provide feedback every step of the way. Andy’s been providing energy consulting and design services to a wide variety of clients since 1988.
By the end of the course you will know how to:
- Set goals for understanding building (or subsystem) energy use and define metrics associated with each goal
- Use these goals and metrics to develop a monitoring plan
- Know if a home has met its performance goals, and learn how to troubleshoot if it hasn't
- Determine if and when sub-system data needs to be collected from the building (such as energy used for heating, cooling, lighting, pumps, fans, plug loads, etc.) and how to collect and understand the data
- Develop a set of outline specs for the monitoring (software and hardware) to get installed in the building
- Use online tools and create analysis spreadsheets in Excel to summarize the data to see how buildings and/or systems are performing
Andy has designed this new BuildingEnergy Master Series course with Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) to provide the tools and knowledge building professionals need to ask the right questions, develop a plan to collect and catalog the right energy data, understand how the system is working, and figure out how to use the data to save energy and money.