Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, operations professionals and buildings alike have been forced to work differently. You have had to think, work and solve problems like never before. And buildings have been running on adjusted operating schedules, with different ventilation requirements, and at fractions of occupancy.
These realities led us to ask the question, “How has this past year impacted the ways we use energy – now and for the future?”
That’s why we at Dude Solutions have spent time analyzing more than $15 billion in utilities spending across more than 20,000 buildings to unpack how usage and cost were impacted by COVID, data management and software practices, as well as other factors last year.
Here are the four utility trends that we uncovered.
In 2020, clients saved approximately:
Takeaway: Utility costs across all categories dropped last year. While we expected that electricity would have the highest year-over-year (YoY) savings, these findings reveal a large opportunity to better track and manage utilities like water, natural gas and others.
The COVID-19 pandemic positively influenced savings and represents:
Takeaway: When we isolated and measured COVID’s effect on utilities, it was found to be a big contributing factor to overall savings. An unexpected COVID-19 outcome has been the window of opportunity for building managers to increase efficiency for when buildings and operations do fully re-open.
Buildings managed by clients that engaged at high levels with the software saved 60.2% more on electricity without factoring in COVID effects and 93.8% more after factoring in COVID effects, compared to buildings managed by clients with low software engagement.
Takeaway: This shows that high engagement with the software is associated with better savings outcomes. In addition, the findings around COVID effects indicate that high usage of the software likely helped these users manage their utilities more effectively during the pandemic.
Buildings with data entry automated by Dude Solutions’ bill-population service experienced 5% higher savings on electric than those who did not use this service.
Takeaway: Having up-to-date and accurate data is essential for successful utility management, and using software to make better decisions is even more critical during periods of abnormal activity.