There’s no sense in developing complex spreadsheets containing great volumes of data if you aren’t going to use it.
Effective reporting to the right people, in the right way, will be crucial for success.
The first step therefore, is to identify who will require regular energy reports. Generally, only people with significant control or accountability for energy usage will need them.
Tip: make energy reporting part of your organisation’s ‘business as usual’ processes by finding ways to integrate the results with other regular reports (e.g. production reports, management reports, Board reports, etc).
Once you’ve identified who needs to receive your reports, the next step is to establish the format these people require the information to be presented in, and how frequently they need to have it.
- accountants may require a monthly spreadsheet (and are likely to want precise numbers)
- production Managers may prefer to see a weekly report presented in graphical form (and may be more interested in general trends).
At the most basic level, reports are likely to include:
- consumption for the current period
- performances against target
- variances for the period (and possible reasons for these).
People process information in different ways, so make sure to present the results in a variety of ways (such as with tables, charts or graphs) that will satisfy these different needs.
Also, look at ways to convert the data into units that are relevant to the people you are reporting to (e.g. cost, percentage, energy density, etc). Most people usually think of energy as only a small cost element in a business. However, as an easily controllable cost, you can give it relevance by expressing it in new and different ways.
For example, while energy costs at a university might only represent 1% of total overheads, presenting it as a percentage of the fees charged to students (e.g. 15% of total fees) might be a more effective way of gaining attention. Similarly, rather than just giving energy savings a dollar value, there might be more impact achieved by reporting the savings in terms of the new equipment or additional staff the savings has allowed the university to invest in.
The Three Types of Energy Report
Typically, reporting will fall into one of three categories:
- Regular: standard reports in a pre-determined format, generally delivered on a weekly or monthly basis;
- Exception: reports produced when something unexpected happens; and,
- On Demand: initiated by request or as the result of an investigation.
Tip: The best results are achieved when stakeholders can understand what is happening and how the changes they have made may have impacted on energy performance. So give them ownership of the results by reminding them that the report is a measure of ‘their’ performance rather than yours.