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How 2020 Affected Energy: 4 Unexpected Utility Trends

Zach Kunkel
  • Apr 09, 2021
  • 2 minutes

utility trends

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

1. Organizations saved big last year, especially in electricity

dollar savings over 2019

In 2020, clients saved approximately:

  • $202 million on electric (in carbon units, that’s like taking 318,185 cars off the road for a year!)
  • $8.9 million on natural gas 
  • $5 million on water 

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.

Want to dive deeper? Check out the full e-book!

2. Unexpected COVID-19 impact – positive savings

COVID-19 energy savings

The COVID-19 pandemic positively influenced savings and represents:

  • 18% of electric savings
  • 34% of natural gas savings 
  • 54% of water savings 

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.

3. Higher software engagement = higher savings

more saved on electricity graph

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.

Check out the product that helped clients save $202 million last year.

4. It pays to have an up-to-date and accurate database

higher savings

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.

We produced a full e-book to diving into these four findings, getting peer perspectives and more. Download your copy here.

Interested in learning about how our software works for you?

Or want to ask a question?

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