energyOrbit and Missouri River Energy Services Further Big Data Potential of Energy Efficiency Analytics through Standardized Language for Building Performance Data

18 Sep 2017

In an effort to overcome barriers that prevent utilities and third-party implementers from developing forward-looking big data analytics, as well as  exchanging, integrating, and analyzing information about building performance and energy efficiency programs, energyOrbit is utilizing the new industry standard of terms and language called Building Energy Data Exchange Specification (BEDES). Missouri River Energy Services (MRES), is the first energyOrbit utility customer to implement this new standard.

BEDES is a dictionary of terms and definitions that were developed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. It can be used in tools and activities that help stakeholders make energy investment decisions, track building performance, and implement energy efficient policies and programs. Ultimately the adoption of BEDES within the energy sector opens up the potential for big data analysis, enabling more scientific decision making throughout the building energy performance space.

“Lack of consistency in the nomenclature often translates into lack of consistency in measurement and reporting,” said Alex Zeltser, CTO of energyOrbit. “As a vendor of EE/DSM software, energyOrbit is keenly interested in seeing the terminology used for energy efficiency measure implementation standardized. This allows us to leverage measure libraries developed for one project or jurisdiction for others in the future. By encouraging and making it easy for our customers to implement these data standards we are bringing even greater productivity improvements to teams using our solutions, all the while paving new avenues for broader collaboration within the energy sector.”

By and large, today’s energy companies still use varying terminologies to organize, report and even explain data. This nonuniformity in lexicon causes frequent industry-wide inconsistencies in how EE initiatives are implemented, tracked and measured. It also makes it more difficult for companies to collaborate on projects due to a lack of uniformity in key terms.

BEDES is not a data format itself, but rather a reference point for other data formats, providing a standardized set of common terms and definitions that different repositories of building energy performance data can align to. The standardization ranges from developing brand new terms, to simplifying redundant titles. For instance, the terms ‘business type,’ ‘building type,’ and ‘business classification,’ have been simplified to the BEDES standard term ‘occupancy classification.’ By utilizing BEDES guidelines such as this, various market actors can  more readily share and exchange data through an industry standard of terms and vocabulary. The BEDES program ensures tools are interoperable and reduces data cleanup and reporting burdens, to make it possible to exchange datasets among tools and databases.

“Consistent data collection and tracking is the first step in measuring and analyzing trends that affect decisions related to energy efficiency investment, building performance and energy efficiency program implementation and evaluation” said Paul Mathew, Staff Scientist and Department Head of Whole Building Systems at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. “With industry stakeholders ranging from utilities and building owners to policymakers and technology providers we are encouraged to see more companies implementing BEDES with their customers and broadening the datasets available for future analysis by the industry.”

energyOrbit has been working with MRES since May of 2017 in an effort to automate, streamline, and scale regional energy-efficiency programs among MRES member municipal utilities particularly through the MRES Bright Energy Solutions® portfolio, which offers rebates to customers of  MRES member utilities who install energy-efficient equipment. The joint-action agency provides wholesale electricity and a wide range of energy-related services to 60 member municipal electric systems in the states of Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

“We are pleased to have the support of energyOrbit to help ensure Missouri River Energy Services is BEDES compliant,” said MRES Technical Coordinator Kurt Hauser. “By sharing this universal language set, we can see greater collaboration and productivity with our member utilities as well as outside agencies and vendors.”

By leveraging the energyOrbit platform, MRES utilizes data and analytics to make informed decisions and more effectively manage its projects. Similarly, MRES can better organize data from its members to use and report their energy-efficiency data. BEDES streamlines this process further and opens up the doors to collaboration among member utilities, other governmental agencies, and additional third party entities working on projects such as deemed savings analysis and potential studies.

For the complete online BEDES terminology click here.

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