Two Must-See Events on M&V 2.0 at ACEEE Summer Study

ACEEE

By: Tim Guiterman, Director of Quantify Solutions

All summer long, I’ve been jealous of my kids as they go to various summer camps, full of fun activities, sunshine, enrichment and the potential make new friendships and connections. Well, now it’s time for the adults to join in the fun! Next week marks the start of a week-long summer camp for energy efficiency geeks, better known as the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) Summer Study, a bi-annual conference held on the beautiful Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, CA.

This year’s conference is especially important as it follows on the heels of two groundbreaking white papers on the role of new technologies in the field of evaluation, measurement and verification (EM&V), better known as EM&V 2.0 (or M&V 2.0). One of the reports was by ACEEE and the other by the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership (NEEP) EM&V Forum.

At next week’s conference, there are two sessions that are directly relevant to the industry trend around EM&V 2.0. The first is a presentation by DTE Energy on Monday at 10:30AM, as part of Panel 2 (Residential Buildings). DTE Energy will be discussing their M&V 2.0 pilot with EnergySavvy, focusing on how continuous monitoring of energy and demand savings can enhance their evaluation efforts and add value to their portfolio.

The second is being led by Ellen Franconi from Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) on Tuesday afternoon from 2-4PM, and I’ll be one of several co-hosts for this “informal session.” We are all part of an active working group aiming to help the EE industry understand the benefits of M&V 2.0 and why it is important to utilities, evaluators, regulators, implementers and related stakeholders.

So if you’re also packing your trunk and heading off to camp next week, please mark these two events on your calendar and let’s be sure to connect. If you’re not attending Summer Study, stay tuned for a summary of the discussions by subscribing to our blog!

5 Surprisingly Wonderful Regulatory Developments, Explained in 60 Seconds

So far 2016 has been a banner year for important actions at public utility commissions. Several significant policy decisions and activities are paving the way for the innovation at electric and gas utilities and moving demand-side operations into the 21st century. Hats off to everyone working on these exciting efforts – these are great steps forward!

Illinois and New York

MAPThe  New York Commission ordered that utilities can capitalize software as a service subscription fees, making clear that regulators support a level playing field for software, whether on premise or in the Cloud. This order follows the lead of the Illinois Commission which is also writing new rules to account for utility purchases of cloud software.

New York

A new utility commission order for New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision instructs utilities that credit they receive for energy savings above targets must be measured by Evaluation, Measurement and Verification (EM&V) 2.0 tools. This class of real-time measurement software will provide the proof utilities need to claim greater savings than their goals.

California

The California Public Utility Commission approved a groundbreaking new pay-for-performance program for residential energy efficiency. The approval allows for EM&V 2.0 software to measure the savings. The software must use rigorous methods that incorporate relevant comparison groups to accurately measure savings.

Virginia

A report by Synapse Energy Economics filed with the Virginia commission recommends Virginia utilities to jointly develop EM&V 2.0 pilot projects for the residential and commercial sector to assess a number of benefits to EM&V, market assessment, program delivery, process evaluation, and program planning.

Dev Notes: Our Tech Stack

When conducting an interview for the EnergySavvy engineering team, the question we hear most frequently is “Where’s your bathroom?” But the second-most-frequent question has got to be “What’s your stack?” We experiment with new tools, but we also keep a shared set of favorites—standbys that we’re familiar with. Below we’ve assembled a snapshot of the tools devs reach for most often to power EnergySavvy’s solutions.

Back-end

  • Python: All of our back-end software and services are written in Python. We’re currently making the transition from Python 2 to 3.

  • Flask: For building microservices, our preferred microframework is Flask. You could almost say it follows a “batteries not included” philosophy, which makes it particularly well-suited for simple services.

  • Django: For everything else, there’s Django. It follows more of a “batteries, and most everything else, included” philosophy.

  • Voluptuous: When not using Django’s built-in form validation, we use Voluptuous to validate data coming into Python as JSON, YAML, etc.

  • Tox: Whether running tests in dev or continuous integration, we want to create test environments in a reproducible manner. That’s where Tox comes in.

  • Mock: We write a lot of automated tests at EnergySavvy. That sometimes requires mocking things out. Fortunately the Python standard library provides Mock for just such a purpose.

  • SQLAlchemy Core: For cases where we need to talk to a relational database but aren’t using Django’s ORM, there’s SQLAlchemy.

  • PostgreSQL: We use Postgres for traditional relational persistence needs.

  • ElasticSearch: As a secondary data store for searching and filtering, ElasticSearch works great.

Front-end

  • Babel: We transpile our ES2015 JavaScript, the language formerly known as ES6.

  • React: All the cool kids are using React. We use it because it lets us very expressively create modern web UI in declarative, reusable ways.

  • Redux: We often need a little state management when doing React.

  • Jasmine: Some companies use Mocha. We find that Jasmine’s assertions are less magical.

  • webpack: At build time, we bundle up our JavaScript with webpack.

  • Sass: Billed as “CSS with superpowers”.

  • lodash: When needed. ES2015 provides a lot of nice functionality, which means that often, You Might Not Need lodash™.

Infrastructure and Tooling

  • Mercurial: Some say Mercurial is the Betamax of the distributed version control world. To that, we say: abort: push creates new remote heads! We actually like Mercurial’s command-line UI and branching model versus other options like git.

  • Review Board: You get very good at code reviews at EnergySavvy. Because there are a lot of them.

  • JIRA: Tickets, epics, sprints. General agile stuff.

  • Bamboo: This is where we do continuous integration and build deployable artifacts of our software for continuous delivery.

  • Ansible: We employ Ansible for both provisioning and deployment.

  • Ubuntu: Our servers run Ubuntu. Many of our devs run it locally as well, although many prefer Macs.

Hopefully that gives you a better picture of the stack we use at EnergySavvy. Note that our set of technologies does change and evolve over time. We try to keep our minds open to new components, evaluating each contender in light of our current needs. And we try to avoid adopting something just because it’s new or shiny. In fact, we have an informal process for evaluating and adopting new parts of our stack – a post for another time!

What Gets Measured Gets Managed

More rapid and accurate quantification of DSM

It’s been written about by ACEEE and NEEP, prioritized in California, and considered in states from New York to Minnesota, and Connecticut. Savings measurement software has emerged as a hot topic across the industry.

Quantify-infographic-300px-with-buttonThe Challenge

Utilities face a perennial challenge: the need for, and lack of, consistent feedback on customer program performance throughout the program year. What would change if program administrators and implementers could continuously see real world, at-the-meter savings resulting from programs? What insights would be found hiding within customer usage data?

At the heart of this discussion is a new class of savings measurement software tools, which provide data directly from the meter and give utility planners, implementers, and evaluators the control and transparency needed to maximize performance.

What it is

Savings measurement software combines modern, cloud-based software with energy use modeling to deliver data-driven insights on customers and programs. In short, it brings savings analysis into the modern era.

How it works

By aggregating results across a set of projects or premises, savings measurement software can identify energy savings amidst noisy usage data. Additionally, it compares groups of treated and untreated premises to detect biases and influences beyond the customer program. As new data becomes available – both from projects and meters (interval or monthly) – it is added into the system. The result is a rolling assessment of program savings, one that is continually refined as more information becomes available.

Use-cases for savings measurement software

1.  Targeted Marketing
Savings measurement software pinpoints measures and combinations of measures where results are higher or lower than the expected deemed savings. Using granular data about the program, utilities can target customers similar to the best performing customers or projects with the right offer.

2. Program OptimizationQuantify-laptop-with-person
Savings measurement software provides early insights into program performance allowing management to make mid-flight changes and optimize programs. As a result, program managers can focus on customer satisfaction, increased quality, and more cost-effective programs.

3. Contractor Performance and Feedback
It sheds light on which trade allies are achieving expected results, and which are over or under-performing. With this information, program staff can take corrective action, adjust training and onsite inspections, and improve results for customers.

For more, check out our savings measurement software infographic.

Meet Open Quantify Access: Measuring Energy Savings Should Be Easy

New, free tool allows contractors, homeowners and energy professionals to quickly and easily measure energy savings from a project.

The key to a good energy efficiency retrofit is a great contractor. Contractors are the lifeblood of energy efficiency programs. They are the face of the operation, the person that explains energy efficiency to homeowners. And most importantly, contractors are responsible for installing and repairing the equipment that take homes from being energy hogs to comfortable, affordable and efficient residences.

OQA-house-landing-page-400pxEfficiency contractors are experts in their field. They model savings, work closely with homeowners to design retrofits and deliver the benefits. But ask a contractor how much energy is saved from their projects and they will likely be baffled. That’s because measuring energy savings from residential retrofits is challenging. It requires compiling data from the meter, weather normalizing that data, and factoring in the equipment that was installed in the home. Contractors are running businesses, retrofitting homes, working with utilities to acquire leads, and explaining efficiency to customers – they don’t have time to crunch numbers to measure the savings from their projects. But home performance contractors want to know what impact they are having on their customers. They go through training, learn their trade and know that they do quality work. But they are rarely able to verify their performance with actual savings measurement.

Enter Open Quantify Access (OQA)

OQA is a free and open tool that allows contractors, homeowners and energy professionals to quickly and easily measure energy savings from a project. Users provide meter and project data; OQA does the rest. With OQA, contractors can finally measure and track project performance. With OQA, homeowners can finally measure savings from their residential retrofits. With OQA, energy savings measurement is demystified and easily accessible for program participants and stakeholders. OQA is based on technology from Optix Quantify, which aggregates savings from multiple projects and measures savings continuously. OQA provides measurement of gross savings from individual projects with weather normalization and follows existing industry protocols. EnergySavvy is preparing to launch OQA later this year. Sign up here to learn more and be the first to test drive this exciting free tool.

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