Helping companies achieve their sustainable energy objectives

Data collection and management

Establishing a robust data management program is key to continually identify opportunities for improving a company’s integrated energy strategy, managing delivery risks and maintaining momentum. Data helps to evaluate the success of your integrated energy strategy in the context of your business operations. Companies should seek to develop a single data management system to collate energy and GHG emissions data that’s accurate, auditable and hence trusted.

What you should be aiming for:

  • An effective data management program that collates energy and associated GHG emissions data;
  • Data that allows energy consumption to be analyzed in the context of business operations so that trends can be understood, and corrective actions identified;
  • External assurance of energy data.

See the importance of data collection and management for Yokogawa in action

An effective data management program

Your data management program should capture all energy use and associated GHG emissions data. It should seek to establish one version of the truth by providing all stakeholders with the data that they need in the format that they require to fulfil their responsibilities within the integrated energy strategy.

Stakeholders that are confident in the quality of the data will trust the outputs and will be more likely to act based on what it tells them.

An important first step when looking to improve your data management program is to illustrate the process you take to acquire, clean, validate, store and analyze data. This workflow should represent a series of repeatable, reliable and robust steps.

Use these five criteria to evaluate the effectiveness of your company’s current data management processes:

  1. A simple, standardized workflow with similar data management processes – replicated across different data streams to avoid single point failures;
  2. Automation of routine data management tasks to improve speed and data integrity;
  3. Documentation that provides detailed and up-to-date instruction on the operation of the data management program;
  4. The correct data formats used for their intended purpose: databases provide structured storage, spreadsheets are flexible and transferrable;
  5. Regular use of the dataset and integration of the data management program in the company.

Defining data collection requirements so that energy consumption can be analyzed in the context of business operations

The aim of an effective data management program is to generate accurate insights that are trusted and drive action.

The program needs to capture the right data that allows you to assess energy consumption in the context of your company’s business operations.

Having a good understanding of the drivers that influence your energy consumption is the first step towards defining the data that needs to be collected.

This table summarizes the data streams that an effective data management program will capture.
Energy data

Consumption and cost data for all energy inputs.

Sub-meter and plant specific data

Consumption sub-metering data and plant operation data.

Static factors

 Static factors are the prevailing conditions that usually remain constant, such as building characteristics or work processes. If they do change (e.g. operational changes to a work process, new buildings/extensions, mergers and acquisitions of assets), they need to be recorded and their impact understood.

Consumption drivers

 Consumption drivers are independent variables that affect energy consumption. Examples include weather, building occupation, hours of operation, space utilization, production activity levels, special events and financial metrics (e.g. in retail, energy consumption can be linked to sales activity).

Project details

 Project details include expected cost savings, expected carbon savings, required investment, project progress, responsibility, risks and mitigation strategies. Treating project details as a data stream and input to the data management program helps with the measurement and verification of projects.

Data from upstream stakeholders

The development and implementation of an integrated energy strategy requires data to be provided by suppliers and other upstream stakeholders (such as Tier 2 and 3 suppliers). This data should be used to inform procurement and operational decision-making so that the inputs to business operations maximize energy efficiency, increase circularity and lead to decarbonization across the value chain.

Data from downstream stakeholders

Data is required from downstream stakeholders so that a company can assess how its products and services affect the energy efficiency and GHG emissions of customers and other downstream stakeholders. This data should be used to guide product design and service delivery so that energy efficiency can be maximized, and low-carbon solutions identified.

Obtaining external assurance of energy data

External assurance is an increasingly important element in corporate reporting. It provides external validation for disclosures and gives capital providers confidence in making and assessing decisions.

Companies should work towards obtaining a reasonable level of assurance for key metrics.

WBCSD’s work on Assurance & Internal Controls has several resources highlighting investor perspectives.

  • Engage the stakeholders who require information based on the data to define data collection requirements and create insightful reporting that drives action.
  • Collect multiple sources of data to enable easier validation of data quality and coverage (e.g. invoices, manual and automated meter readings).

  • Are the current data systems in place delivering value?
  • Are you confident in your data quality and coverage?
  • Are measurement needs defined and reviewed regularly?
  • Is the data verified or assured on an annual basis and would this provide value?

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