GreenBiz.com (07/17/15) Guevara-Stone, Laurie
Just as wearable fitness-tracking devices provide data to help the wearer improve their fitness level, tracking a building's energy performance can help improve its performance. Data that is more specific is more useful, according to a Johnson Controls study, which found user-specific data helps engage people in energy management. The study also found disaggregating building data down to the personal level helps individual occupants see the impact their decisions have on the building's performance. Wearable fitness trackers are tied into social networks to capitalize on people's natural competitiveness as a fitness tool. Likewise, when people learn their neighbors use less energy than they do, they cut their consumption. Utilities companies are beginning to exploit this tendency by providing comparative data on consumers' monthly energy bills. Opower enables residents to compare energy use with neighbors, and to set goals and track their progress resulting in a 3.5 percent savings over 90 utilities. Providing energy feedback and savings goals resulted in a 20 percent energy savings in an Eindhoven University of Technology study. Lucid Design Group created a building dashboard for commercial buildings that enabled departments in a multinational media company to see which department could reduce their energy use the most. The competition saved 47,000 kWh in two weeks, or $5,000 in energy savings.