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Big Data, as it applies to energy, is something of a myth.CowboySheriff.jpg

Photo Courtesy of the Bain Collection

When my husband was four years old, he came home from school distraught.   The prompt for his misery was the revelation that his best friend’s father had a thriving career as a cowboy sheriff.  My husband’s father, by contrast, was merely an engineer, clearly placing him at the lowest level of the kindergarten hierarchy.   

As that four year old grew up, he learned two important lessons: Other kids’ dads are not as cool as they appear.  And your own dad is probably cooler than you think.

The cowboy sheriff, of course, was a myth – particularly in a country which had neither cowboys nor sheriffs, nor really many cows to speak of.

Today, ‘big data’, as it applies to energy, is also something of a myth.  How so?  I’ll mention a few of the points and ask for comments from the community to weigh in on additional myths and realities.

Myth:  Companies need to invest in extensive submetering and have access to granular meter data before they can effectively use software tools to manage their energy.

Reality:  Many software packages can make use of calculated values to approximate energy use for different processes – minimal metering required.

Myth:  Companies are in possession of detailed information about their energy use, with consumption data for each machine, line, or even product.

Reality:  Many companies have one piece of data about their energy use – their energy bill.  And it is often wrong.

Myth:  Users want as much data as they can get their hands on – the more the merrier.

Reality:  In some industries, particularly regulated industries, users can be very cautious about capturing data, under the motto of “if you record it, they [the regulators] will inspect it”.

I could go on- but this is a blog, not a book. Just remember – other people’s data may not be as cool as it appears.  Companies who say they know their energy use per unit produced are often guessing – dividing their total production for the year by their total energy use.  They likely don’t know whether the energy went into the profit-producing activity of creating a product – or into the revenue-killing cost center of the refrigerator in the break room.  SAP’s energy solutions provide transparency into where energy is being used, so resources can be applied more cost-effectively.

Your existing data is also cooler than you think.  SAP can be configured to start with the data you do have, and expand to additional levels of detail in the future – as your energy program grows up.

To learn more, visit us at Sapphire Madrid:

-Ask for a demo of our energy and environmental software solutions – speak to Kirill Rykov.

Attend a microforum and learn first-hand about Ferrero’s energy management successes – Wednesday from 2 to 3 p.m. (Session IL1633)

-Session “IL1598” includes a panel discussion around “Minimize Operational Risk and Energy Use” – Thursday November 15th from 2 to 3 p.m.

-Take a ‘test flight’ of our energy management software throughout Sapphire at the Test Drive area.

You can also attend one of our recorded webinars:

·ISO50001 Webinar and how IT can help (with Lyondell Basell)

·Best practices in measurement of energy intensity

·How Does Diamond Producer DeBeers Reduce Energy Cost and Consumption?

There’s more to learn about energy management from a cappella, owls, pumpkins, and vuvuzelas.  Follow @MWEnergyhttps://twitter.com/MWEnergy on Twitter for updates. 

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