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Measuring Energy Efficiency Accurately

01/14/16

homeefficiency

Energy efficiency is a laudable goal, but many of us don’t always know the best or most cost-effective ways to move forward. It’s important to avoid falling prey to myths or overly-rosy projections about how much money we can save with efficiency investments in our electrical work. How, then, can we more accurately predict efficiency outcomes so we know the most effective places to spend our efforts and dollars?


Finding the Most Savings in Our Electrical Work


A recent article in Vox examined some of the assumptions around energy efficiency, and suggested novel and perhaps more accurate ways of thinking about the equation.


Fine-Tuning Predictions and Integrating Externalities


One opportunity for improvement is employing past and real-time data to fine-tune our predictions. “One recent study in New York State by Performance System Development shows that calibrating predictions to past bills dramatically improves results,” energy finance consultant Matt Golden said to Vox. “California is taking a different approach with the CalTRACK system, which uses electricity meter data to track actual savings and adjust predictions to match actual performance."


Another aspect to keep in mind is that efficiency interventions should be measured not just by the savings in household HVAC and electric bills, but also by the expenses that were avoided by not having to generate extra electricity, which can have high marginal costs that far exceed normal rates. When we simply calculate how much money we save on bills, we ignore other factors -- most notably, future expenses saved because we are emitting less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere -- but also things like improved respiratory health outcomes for people who benefit from upgraded HVAC systems.


Cleaner, Greener National Electric Work


The push toward energy efficiency is here to stay, with the Clean Power Plan, numerous other federal programs and incentives from local utility companies all nudging us toward a greener tomorrow. The challenge, then, is to continue to look for the best ways to measure our efficiency advances, and to avoid outdated and inaccurate modes of calculation.


If you’re looking for suggestions for keeping your electricity bills low, or you have electrical work that needs attention, contact an expert electrician right away.




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