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Interval Data Analytics – What to Look For

  • August 2, 2018

Often times when constructing an energy management plan and setting goals, energy managers will primarily gather insights from utility bill data.  However, basing your energy management goals off of utility bill data alone could leave you blind to many savings opportunities.  To make up for this blind spot, interval data offers granular insight into your energy consumption, allowing you to drastically improve your energy management plan.  Read on to learn more about interval data, the value and benefits, and what to look for in interval data analytics.

What is interval data?

Interval data can come from a variety of sources; the energy provider could provide the data from a smart meter, or interval meters can be installed separately by the building owners.  It is typically measured every 15 minutes (or in 30 or 60-minute intervals), providing users over 35,000 data points in a single year (compared to the 12 data points provided by utility bill data) and generally available 24 hours after measured.  The US Department of Energy declares that the “value of interval data is the consistent recording of incremental use offering increased resolution and diagnostic capability.”  Regardless of your energy consumption level, interval data provides the resources necessary to identify anomalies in your energy usage.

Why should I use interval data?

Using utility bill data alone to analyze your energy consumption trends will not provide the necessary insight that could help you solve any efficiency issues in your energy management plan.  According to the General Services Administration, interval data can lead to savings up to 45% of overall utility expenses.  Interval data monitored over just one day can provide immediate recommendations for operational shifts that could reduce costs on the current billing cycle, rather than waiting until the end of the month to trace back your business operations.  Some benefits of analyzing interval data are:

  • Operational improvements – Isolate specific times and meters of inefficiency to make improvements to operational schedules/equipment startup and run times
  • Peak load management – Interval data allows you to effectively identify peak times to manage your demand and reduce monthly demand charges. To learn more about managing your peak load, read our list of strategies here.
  • Set alerts – Immediately become aware when you are reaching a peak or there are any irregularities in your usage. EnergyWatch’s watchwire platform allows you to set alerts tailored to your portfolio’s usage profile in the Real Time Monitoring module

For a full list of benefits, read also: Interval Data for Energy Management

What to look for in interval data analytics:

The first step in taking advantage of the benefits interval data provides is obtaining easy access to that data.  Analysis can become challenging when dealing with a large portfolio of buildings serviced by multiple utility providers.  However, an energy management software should provide you with the ease of interpreting your interval energy data.  EnergyWatch’s watchwire platform provides a single source for all interval data, offering multiple visuals for analysis and actionable insight through the Interval Data Analytics Module (or Real-Time Monitoring module if the interval data is provided by a pulse output in real-time).  See below for an example meter’s interval data and the types of visualization tools provided:

  • Interval Data Dashboard

    Provides an overview of your meter’s interval data in the respective intervals, which can be viewed by current day, week, month, year, or a selected time period such as “Billing Period”. Also, easily add or remove any of the data analysis options (current billing period peak kW, prior billing period peak kW, etc.) listed below the graph for a more thorough comparison/analysis.

interval data analytics

  • Heat Map Analytics

    This visual analysis provides the actual demand, temperature, and heating or cooling degree days for a specific date and time in the respective intervals. This type of visualization makes it easy to spot any irregularities in equipment startup times or other operational anomalies.

interval data analytics heat map

  • Monthly Profiles

    Using the same data, the monthly profiles analysis allows the user to visualize how energy is used throughout each day, making it easy to spot any inconsistencies in how weekday operations compare against each other.

interval data

  • Daily Profiles

    Lastly, daily profiles graphs the average usage per day for the past 12 months, summer, winter, or shoulder periods. This visualization is a useful tool to ensure daily profiles meet expectations (e.g. lower use on weekends and holidays vs. business days)

interval data

While each visualization uses the same interval data, they each act as a different tool in your energy management plan.  From the broad picture to the most granular data, each visualization helps to identify any type of energy inefficiency and take advantage of opportunities to save.  However, to fully leverage your interval data, it should be analyzed alongside your actual utility bills and costs, not just estimated averages.  Knowing exactly when and how your power is being used in your building is essential to limiting demand, decreasing consumption, and ultimately saving you money.  Learn more about how our watchwire platform gives you the knowledge to thoroughly analyze your energy data in a cloud-based, centralized platform.