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Budgeting is Easy – Explaining Variances Isn’t!

Summer signals the onset of 2018 budget preparation. Each year, those of us responsible for utilities and energy budgeting ponder how to project the costs for one of the top three portfolio expenses. Gone are the days of taking last year’s costs and increasing them by a set percentage. The annual energy goals for most property owners and managers are to:

  • Decrease energy costs
  • Decrease energy consumption
  • Decrease emissions

This is the time of year when intelligent thought leads to intelligent budgets. Obtaining historical information is only a start. If we could be assured that occupancy, operational patterns, weather and utility rates would remain consistent, energy budgeting would be easy.

Everyone that touches the energy budget interfaces with the goals of the team. The engineering team may focus on consumption, demand, gallons, BTUs or Mlbs. The sustainability team will focus on the environmental impact based on the engineering team’s input. Asset managers wants to know how proposed energy initiatives will increase the value of the property. Marketing wants to revel in the success of the increased portfolio manager score, and we all know what accounting wants. And if it doesn’t go exactly as planned, there you are trying to explain why. We’ve all been there.

That is why many firms enlist the help of energy professionals with sophisticated analytics, professional experience, and reporting tools that can more accurately predict building energy performance. By analyzing past invoice and interval data, it is possible to know how the building consumption, demand, and cost will be impacted by energy related capital improvements, operational changes, occupancy and weather extremes. Equally important is projecting delivery and supply cost changes. In short, the more data that goes into the preparation of the budget, the easier it is to account for variances.

energy budgeting monthly surplus graph

Budgets don’t end with an executive approval. It is imperative that budget performance is monitored monthly, and all utility invoices are continuously audited (not just a one-time historical review). By normalizing weather data, it is possible to quantify consumption variables due to weather extremes. By accurately projecting and using M&V for energy projects, performance validation is made easier. Additionally, your budgeting and monitoring partner can identify utility or ESCO errors and prevent costly overbilling.

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Regardless of your job function, if accurate energy budgeting is important to you and your firm, EnergyWatch has all the tools for your performance success.

Reach out to us today at 212-616-5100, or schedule a demo now.