How to Create a Year-End Utility Performance Report

by ‐ Tags: property management, tracking and benchmarking

With the year winding down it's getting to be reporting time for businesses of all sorts. If you own, manage, or consult for buildings, you need to be able to talk about how your buildings have been using energy in the last year. Here are the four key areas to evaluate in your annual utility report to keep your bosses happy.

1. Year over year usage comparison

This is a big bottom line that you need to be ready to provide. Prepare an analysis of each property in your report that shows the most recent year's utility performance versus the year before. Your annual utility performance report should break out each utility individually, so that you can see if one fuel (e.g, gas or electricity) is costing you more than the others.

Essential questions to answer:

2. Actual performance versus expected performance

Things go wrong throughout the year, weather changes, and things break. It's almost a certainty that your utility expenditure projections from last year won't match up perfectly either actual consumption or actual spend. The important thing to know is where the problems are, and how to fix them. Prepare reports for each property that illustrate how much utility consumption varied compared to the building's previous usage. Quarterly or monthly increments allow you to factor in weather changes, energy efficiency upgrades, or faulty equipment to provide a better diagnosis of changes, for better or worse.

Essential questions to answer: 

3. The greatest opportunities for savings

Another crucial bottom line and decision point. Where in the next year should you look to save on utility costs? Some buildings might use one utility type more efficiently than others, meaning a building with superb insulation and heating efficiency might be leaking water through faulty toilet flappers. Put together building snapshots that show how each property is using each utility. Next compare the building's efficiency to other similar buildings to figure out how much it should be using. Taking the time to find where the largest energy savings opportunities are will allow you to create better budgets, leverage capital more effectively, and get more efficiency out of every dollar spent.

Essential questions to answer: 

4. Impact of retrofit measures

If you've invested in upgrades to your buildings, you need to know how the project is performing and how your actual savings are stacking up against the estimate. Rigorous measurement and verification can be tricky without the right tools, but at its most basic, this report should compare utility usage and cost pre-installation to your building's performance after the project's completion.  Put together a report that displays pre/post retrofit usage and cost, clearly displaying the actual savings.  If you have the information, include what the project's expected savings were, and when the project will pay for itself.

Even simple measurement and verification reports can be powerful tools to assess the performance of a building upgrade.  If the vendor who installed your retrofit promised energy savings of 20%, and you're only seeing 10%, that might be a sign that the system or equipment was not installed properly, or is not performing as well as it should.

Essential questions to answer: 


Include answers to these questions in your annual utility report, and your organization will be well on its way to a solid understanding of your utility budget.  By putting together a report that analyzes utility consumption, cost, and how those figures have changed over the past year, you'll be giving your company insight into a persistent expense that is often left unexamined.

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