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The 2016 Energy Efficiency Trends: Retrofits & Big Data

A few months ago we launched a survey to all energy professionals. We wanted your opinion about what would be trending in our market this year, but also about your challenges and what do you think that makes a better energy professional.

Today, we will take a look at the results and we have an infographic for you to use in your reports, blogs or presentations 🙂

Energy Efficiency 2016: Trends



After a few months sharing our Energy Efficiency Trends Survey 2016 we have some interesting insights to share with you, and the main one is about trends in our business.

If you could recommend someone to follow just one innovation topic this year, which one would it be? We asked this to hundreds of energy professionals and the result is clear: energy retrofits.

What is this? Retrofits are those key actions that you can implement in a building and that can be real game changers in your energy efficiency. Here are some examples:

  • Renew isolation in rooftop and windows
  • Install new HVAC devices to substitute old ones with low performance or systems too old and highly consuming
  • Renew lighting


Maybe you don’t agree with this must-follow trend. And that’s ok. Why? It was followed closely by others that you may want to look into:

  1. Almost 22% of participants said that Big Data is going to change our business this year.
  2. What is happening with solar power? It’s always a trending topic, and 17% of professionals surveyed claimed that it is going to be a key topic for 2016. And we agree. DEXMA has just launched an app to integrate solar PV into the energy management cycle of any building, SolarView.
  3. 15% of participants bet for demand response. Demand response will force to create new technological developments, so if you’re a techie, maybe this is the trend to follow. It’s becoming more and more popular in some markets, such as the UK, but not as big in others, like Spain.


The Energy Professional’s Challenge in 2016


But the question about energy trends was not the only one in our survey. You have only a few chances in life to ask experts about the state of art and you need to take the advantage of this opportunity.

One of our main worries at DEXMA is how to help energy managers to make their work better. That’s why we offer the industry free online trainings and downloadables like case studies or whitepapers.

We’re always in a rush and with heavy workloads, so we guessed that being updated and keeping a continuous learning process could be a problem for energy professionals, but we wanted to confirm it with our survey.

The result was not surprising for us in that 31.21% of participants claimed that updated training and becoming a better professional was their key challenge this year.

However, the surprise is that 31.91% said that their main challenge, topping the previous, was the visibility of their work.

This means that even though you’re doing a remarkable work (saving energy, saving money, reducing emissions…) you feel that your work remains unseen, management don’t value it or that you won’t get budged (getting budget is the prominent concern this year for over 20% of the participants in our survey) for your energy plan this year.

Don’t justify yourself by saying that you have no time or that you will check that interesting webinar tomorrow… Take the first step today!

Here are 5 FREE learning resources that you can use today to learn something new, based on how much time you have:

  • 5 minutes → download a case study to get some inspiration. Here’s my favourite one, about how a Burger King restaurant that saved a lot of money by monitoring, understanding, and optimizing their energy consumption.
  • 15 minutes → read a few posts about key industry trends. You can use this one about Green Building Trends 2016.
  • 30 minutes → perform an Energy Grader for one of your buildings. You just need one bill and in the next 72 hours you will receive free insights to take action and boost your savings this year, some of which you may have missed.
  • 1 hour → watch a webinar! My favorite way to get updated is “How to use SMART goals in energy efficiency


Make this little effort today, no one is that busy where he or she can’t spend a bit of time, maybe even once per week to check interesting and useful resources. Evolving as a professional will help you to give better ideas and be a better energy manager, and this in turn will put your work in the map.

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The Corporate Environment of the Energy Professional


We also want to add a few words related to the environment where these energy managers are working. Which is normally, a company.

We had a few questions about the participant’s companies in our survey, but maybe the most interesting for you as energy manager or energy professional is to discover which pain do your peers feel is the most terrible for their companies.

Here are the top 5 nightmares for energy managers:

5 –> The data gathering platform is a problem, at least for 7% of the participants in our survey.

4 –> 8% of participants admitted that they were using an outdated platform, which is impossible to meet their needs any longer or to give their clients the tools they need for overcoming the energy challenge. So, even if we’re not talking about really high percentages, at least 16% of respondents feel that they have a sort of technological gap. How to avoid this situation? Our best tip is that, when you start working with any energy analysis tool, think big. Maybe you just need some tools to monitor, track, and get alerts from excess of energy uses.  But, is the tool that you’re using scalable? Do they offer a pro version to help you gradually increase your savings? If the answer is no, try to find a better fit for your energy efficiency project.

3 –> Existing project ongoing. This was a problem for 17% of respondents in our survey. Sometimes projects go wild and you feel that you can’t control them anymore. That’s bad. You don’t want that.

2 –> Project ROI Justification. As in… “If we invest 30.000€, how much would we save this year?”. This is a key question when starting a energy efficiency initiative, or for those of you working in energy services companies. Any client will ask you how much are they going to save. BUT this shouldn’t be a pain anymore. Why? Because technology can help you to skip this corporate pain. We launched the Energy Grader a few weeks ago and it’s really helping busy energy managers to answer their client’s questions easily and quickly. How? With the Energy Grader you perform a customized analysis in one building, by simply answering a few questions. In less than 72 hours we send you a personal report with energy savings potential and a benchmark of the electricity prices for that building.

1 –> And the winner is… Verifying Savings. What does this mean? After monitoring a building, you will start your analysis and you will discover inefficiencies. Great, right? That’s where you can save money. But you will probably need to double check those savings, or even more, certificate that they have occurred. How do you do that? With Measure & Verification Tools like the ones included in our software for energy analysis, DEXCell Energy Manager. Or you can just stay with the 29% of energy professionals that admitted this was their key challenge to solve this year.New Call-to-action

But is not all bad news. Technology is helping energy managers more and more, and 60% of the companies surveyed admitted to have a energy management system.

Another interesting corporate data came from the question: “who makes decisions about energy efficiency in your company?”. The answers are really surprising, especially coming from the professionals that were previously mentioned about how challenging it is to have little visibility within their companies.

40% of the companies use CEO or Board of Managers to take decisions about energy efficiency. This is C-Level management involved in the energy plan, and this means that, at the end of the day, energy efficiency is a serious matter to any company.

So, after doing all the analysis to our survey numbers, my conclusion is that energy efficiency is here to stay, and companies are taking it more and more seriously.

The challenge for any energy manager is to make the rest of the company open their eyes and realize that they are already supporting it, and that they truly believe it is important, even though they haven’t realized or admitted it.