The old adage goes: “you can’t manage what you don’t measure”, and managing your energy costs and energy efficiency is no different. When trying to identify opportunities to better conserve energy and reduce costs, it’s helpful to understand your energy requirements and consumption patterns. Having access to this information can help you see the impact of your energy efficiency efforts on reducing consumption and cost.
An easy and important way to start managing your energy efficiency is to track and record your energy bill information. Though this may seem simple, it is a first step that can be often overlooked. You can do this with a simple Excel spreadsheet to keep track of the important metrics on your monthly electricity bill, including:
- Billing period: The period (number of days) covering the duration of your electricity or natural gas bill.
- Demand (kW): Energy demand refers to the maximum amount of energy that is being consumed at a given time. Demand is typically expressed in either kilowatts (kW) or kilovolt-amperes (kVA). Note: If you are a smaller consumer, demand does not appear on your bill.
- Consumption (kWh): The amount of energy that you used over a period of time. Your bill will include the amount of energy that you used during your billing period. This is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh) which can be calculated as follows:
- Demand (kilowatts) x time (hours) = Consumption (kilowatt-hours)
- Cost ($): The cost of energy versus the other regulatory and delivery costs associated with your bill.
Larger consumers can further break down costs into the different components on the bill if you would like to better track the changes in your Hourly Ontario Energy Price (HOEP) and Global Adjustment (GA) costs. If you’re just getting started with bill tracking or if you only have the capacity to analyze a few metrics, recording the metrics listed above will help you understand your energy consumption.
It is helpful to keep track of your monthly natural gas bills as well. The more energy data you monitor on an on-going basis, the more informed your energy management decisions will be. With natural gas bills, important data to track includes:
- Billing period
- Consumption (m3)
- Cost ($)
There are more advanced energy monitoring tools, some of which can allow you to monitor your energy use in real time. If you are interested in this level of detail in your energy use, contact your local utility provider for more information on the type of energy tracking and monitoring tools available.
The information you can collect through simple energy tracking can help you understand your annual consumption patterns as well as visualize opportunities for further efficiency. Tracking your electricity and natural gas billing will give you the most complete overview of your energy consumption. This information can help you understand your energy profile as well as your organization’s carbon footprint.
Once you are comfortable with the terminology around your organization’s average demand and consumption, you will be well prepared to implement energy efficient behaviours, install more efficient technology, and participate in a variety of incentive programs. To get started, use the excel template provided here and start tracking your energy bill information today.