Events2HVAC Blog

20% Analysis, 80% Action!

Apr 1

Written by:
4/1/2015 9:37 AM  RssIcon

There is a new 80-20 rule for energy efficiency: 20% analysis, 80% action!

Most people are somewhat familiar with the Pareto Principle or 80-20 Rule, which can be summarized as 20% of your effort provides 80% of your results. This principle has been applied in many areas of management, technology, and even sports. But how does it apply to energy efficiency?

The most obvious example is that 20% of your energy efficiency projects will generate 80% of your energy savings.

Unless you have had exemplary success, the statement above is probably true or very close. Not every energy efficiency project lives up to expectations. So how are you supposed to find those 20% of projects that will result in big savings?

In trying to answer that question, many managers are madly gathering data or contracting with consultants for energy efficiency audits. The “buzz” right now is analytics, analytics, analytics. Everyone is hot to get an energy dashboard or put together a complete energy use profile of their organization. They are hungry for data. But how much money and labor resources are they using to gather that data?

In some cases, up to 80% of their energy efficiency budget! Then there are scant resources remaining to actually implement energy efficiency projects. So the analysis is put on the shelf until funds can be gathered. In the meantime, energy is wasted.

20% Analysis, 80% ActionTo overcome this problem, 8020 Green has proposed a new 80-20 rule for energy efficiency:

Use 80% of your energy efficiency budget for action, implementing projects that will save energy. Limit your analysis to the other 20% of your budget, preferably 10% for up-front analysis and 10% for tracking and reporting results.

Yes, you need to track your results so that you can identify the projects with the biggest energy savings. Those are the projects you want to replicate in other buildings. But you don’t want to get bogged down in expensive data gathering and analysis projects that usurp your energy efficiency budget.

After all, analysis does not save energy or money – it’s just a lot of pretty charts and numbers. Unless you use it to choose and implement energy efficiency projects, it becomes the 80% of your effort that gets no results.

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