How to analyze your utility bills in record hot weather

2014 was hot. Hot like it had never been in the last 135 years. If you missed your energy target for 2014, do you know to what degree the weather is to blame? And if you made your mark, congratulations, but do you know how stiff the weather headwind was for your building?

December 2014 has the dubious honor of being the warmest month ever measured.

Just how hot was 2014? Scientists from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration analyzed data gathered from around the world, and calculated a 1.4 degree Fahrenheit rise is average temperature from an 1880 base year. The data was sourced from 6,300 weather stations, including ships, satellite-linked buoys, and research stations like one in Antarctica. California, Arizona, Washington, and New Mexico set new record highs.*’s animation, seen below, put that data in context and shows the changing yearly temperature differential compared to the 20th century average:

But what does this trend have to do with your building’s utility bills? Gridium buildings can use Billcast to disassemble monthly bill volatility year-over-year into its component parts (billing period calendar days, utility rate changes, weather, and operations):

utility bill volatility

This information is helpful when ownership or asset management asks building operators the inevitable question, Why was October’s utility bill 10% higher than October 2013? In the example above, we see calendar effects drove 4% of the increase, rate drove 3% of the increase, and weather drove 3% of the increase.

Hidden within the bill, but exposed by Billcast, is the fact that building operators kept the building running just as it had last year. If you’re operating a building and need to put 2014’s operations in sharper context, consider quantifying the effects raising temperatures will have had on your bills.

* Source: LA Times, January 16, 2015

About Millen Paschich

Millen began his career at Cambridge Associates, trained in finance at SMU, and has an MBA from UCLA. Talk to him about bicycling, business, and green chile burritos.

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