...or is it simply preparing for a hot Monday morning? Let's discuss how heat maps flag funky off-hours use.

People keep saying ‘Winter is coming,’ but with summer temperatures in full swing, buildings in hot climates are battling with hot Monday mornings. In many cases, the textbook strategy suggests starting up the building a little earlier.

Gridium’s analysis of hundreds of commercial office buildings has found that fewer than 2% of our buildings vary start time by day of week, and fewer than 5% vary start time by season.

In particularly hot neighborhoods, or on sites where the building is oriented such that heavily windowed walls catch a lot of early morning sun, some building operators are forced to run pre-cooling scripts on Sunday evening so that the building meets serviceable indoor air temperatures by Monday morning. Or is your building starting up on Sunday night just to watch HBO’s Game of Thrones?

While we haven’t yet seen proof of a building choosing to watch TV, we have seen some funky changes in a building’s energy use load curve that are otherwise quite tough to explain:

Hot Monday startup

This heat map charts 15 minute energy use intensity, by day, for the past year. (Month on Y axis, Time-of-Day on X axis)

Glancing at the bottom of the heat map above shows us that this building ran for a solid twelve hours last Sunday, June 12th. Is that normal, or is this building drift or a discrete scheduling fault?

Gridium analytics can quickly compare one week’s energy use to any other prior period:

Monday startup comparison

Compared to the same week last year, this building is now using nearly an entire day’s worth of energy more on Sunday evenings.

Using Billcast–which pairs the Gridium rate engine for this building’s specific tariff to the building’s interval meter data–to calculate this building’s average dollar cost per kWh, we can see that the excess 5,523 kWh during the week in question cost this building $975 (or, over the six hottest months of the year, $23,402). A subscription to HBO Now costs $15 per month.

Thankfully, the building spotted this issue in the analytics right away and is already course correcting.

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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