Winter can be a challenging time for your heating systems. A great way to check if it is running efficiently is by conducting a degree day analysis. Although this requires some effort, it’s worth investing the time as it can identify whether energy savings can be made. And, for most organisations, the biggest driver of energy usage is the weather.
What is degree day analysis?
In order to accurately understand the monthly variation in heating fuel consumption, you need to know how cold each month was, relative to other months. The most regularly used method for determining this is degree day analysis. Degree days provide an index figure for how cold each month was. The higher the degree day figure, the colder that month was.
Degree day analysis doesn’t need to be complicated and there are lots of resources available to help. There are also various websites offering free downloads of degree day data for different UK weather stations, such as the Environmental Change Institute, which you’ll need to do the analysis.
Here are some pointers to get you started:
– Then, plot your degree day chart to see how your business is operating compared to ‘expected’ figures.
– If you plot gas consumption against degree days, your chart should mirror my example (right), with energy consumption on the vertical axis and degree days on the horizontal.
Understanding the results
When degree days and gas consumption are plotted on a chart you can expect a straight line as shown. Each point represents one month’s worth of gas consumption and the corresponding heating degree days. The straight line shows the expected energy use. Charts compare benchmarked and actual energy usage – the closer they are, the better your building is controlled.
What action should you take?
If your analysis shows points positioned further away from the line, this could indicate that the heating is being used when it is not required e.g. if the weather has warmed up compared to the previous month, but the heating hasn’t been adjusted accordingly.
Adding to your chart monthly allows you to quickly assess if consumption is higher (or lower) than expected.
After the winter, when degree days are low due to warm weather, your heating should be turned down or off to avoid wastage.
Private Rental Sector Regulations – Policy Update
Landlords and tenants may already be aware that the Government is planning on introducing new policies to improve the energy efficiency of homes and businesses. As of 1 April 2016, tenants can request energy efficiency improvements and landlords will not be able to unreasonably withhold consent.
From 1 April 2018, it will be illegal to rent a property (residential or commercial) that does not achieve an Energy Performance Certificate rating of at least E or above. This is currently estimated to be around 18% of rented non-residential buildings*.
Landlords will be expected to make the necessary property changes to meet this requirement, such as increasing insulation or installing energy efficient boilers. However, time is on your side. So if you know your property is below this EPC rating, you can start thinking now about the changes you need to make.
Chart: British Gas Business