Normalised Energy Data

The concept of a “degree day” can have a significant impact on your energy consumption levels. Being able to monitor your overall energy usage while taking each degree day into account can be almost impossible without the right data processing tools, but neglecting degree days entirely can lead to excessive energy costs.

Simaxx provides the perfect platform to monitor heating degree days alongside your building’s energy efficiency and consumption, allowing you to optimize your energy consumption and find other sources of improvement within your electrical system.

What are Degree Days?

A degree day is a measurement of the difference between the external temperature and base temperature, monitored through both the magnitude (the size) and the duration (total length of the difference) of the temperature difference.

In most cases, the greater the difference is between external and internal temperatures, the faster your building will lose heat. The longer these temperatures remain different, the more heat will be lost overall.

Keep in mind that base temperature is impacted by things like the building’s design, the amount of heat it gets from sunlight, and even the heat generated by larger pieces of equipment. These are all relevant to how your building interacts with the external temperature levels.

There are two types of degree day: heating and cooling. Both are relevant in almost every property and become especially important during extreme weather conditions or hotter/cooler climates.

Heating Degree Days

Heating degree days are a measurement of the energy consumption and loss required to heat up your home to the desired temperature. Since this energy comes from the grid, using more means paying more for that grid energy.

This is important for colder weather periods or parts of the world where temperatures are generally lower. The lower the base temperature, the more it takes to heat up a space, which can often mean that energy managers end up looking for more ways to increase their total heating efficiency.

Letting heat leak out of a building is going to impact its heating efficiency a lot. For example, buildings with poorly insulated windows are going to leak heat faster, requiring more energy to maintain a given level of heating.

Cooling Degree Days

Cooling degree days are the opposite of heating degree days, focusing on the energy usage and loss involved in cooling down your home. Like with heating, most cooling methods draw from the grid, so less efficient cooling means higher grid energy costs.

Cooling becomes most important in hotter climates and seasons. Since cooling methods can be quite limited, air-conditioning systems and fans are the most common options, but these both rely on buildings being able to retain the cooler air for longer.

Not only is this impacted by warm weather, but also the passive heating from large pieces of equipment or other man-made additions. Recording all of this information clearly is important for finding potential solutions or ways to lessen the problem.

Why do degree days matter?

In general, energy consumption is more complicated than just your standard energy usage. Effective energy management requires techniques like weather normalization to determine exactly how much is being used, which directly factors into total energy costs.

Different weather conditions impact heating and cooling in different ways, and this needs to be included in monthly data for the most accurate results. For example, having a colder winter than the previous year could make insulation improvements seem worthless if you look at the raw energy data alone.

Degree days are important for creating weather normalized data. This is energy data corrected to use the same weather conditions and base temperature, meaning that they can be compared more easily.

Simaxx simplifies the process of gathering and correcting energy data, allowing for more effective energy management within a single platform and account. The Simaxx platform also makes it easy to build your own specific method of creating weather normalized energy data, taking into account any specific temperature details or monitoring methods you prefer to use.

Energy Efficiency

Using weather normalization makes it much easier to investigate the reasons behind heating and cooling problems. For example, your building may have issues with insulation or a specific set of windows that allow too much cold wind in, but this becomes hard to identify without putting all data at the same “level”.

This allows for far more effective energy management, as well as faster responses to the causes of poor heating and cooling degree days. This might also allow you to identify a problem in one building that extends to several similar buildings or to explain to a property owner that their buildings are seeing excessive energy consumption for a typical year.

Simaxx allows you to gather, store and analyse important degree day and temperature data to a high standard of accuracy, whether you are handling energy management of just one building or an entire office building complex. Simaxx also provides constant access to any historical data you have collected, making long-term comparisons even easier.

How are they used to make Energy data comparisons more meaningful?

The purpose behind a degree day can take a while to understand fully, but they can be incredibly valuable when looking at heating and cooling effectiveness. Degree days are used to correct all temperature data to the same straight line, regardless of their original base temperature.

There is usually a linear relationship between degree days and energy consumption. The more your building has to heat or cool itself, the higher your energy consumption will be. This makes it easier to chart through linear regression analysis methods but can become a problem for comparing data.

By using a degree day system to gather weather normalized energy consumption data, a building manager or business owner can get a more consistent reading of their business’ energy consumption and energy savings.

Why does normalised energy consumption data help?

By normalizing and simplifying heating and cooling degree days data, you can untie each point of data from the base temperature it originally came from. This allows this data to be viewed in such a way that it can be directly compared rather than needing you to follow a specific equation.

Not having to calculate the relative energy consumption values can make it much easier to focus on the data itself. For example, seeing major differences between heating degree days may show that your energy efficiency measures are working or make it pretty clear that certain buildings are struggling to retain a comfortable temperature.

By normalizing this data through a platform like Simaxx, you can view the gas and electricity consumption data as if it all came from the same period with the same base temperature. This can show if higher operating costs were justified, how effective your total heating and cooling improvements have been, or even how vulnerable your heating and cooling system is to weather changes.

This added simplicity means that energy managers can easily find whatever data they need, as well as allows them to explain heating and cooling degree days with a visible example in the form of a chart or set of equation information.

How to use degree days in Simaxx

Simaxx allows you to easily calculate heating and cooling degree days using your own custom equation or import data directly from a weather API. Regardless of how you get the data into the platform, Simaxx provides full access to a huge range of different tools and techniques.

Simaxx can be tied into a huge range of different tools and devices, including those already in use for other projects. For example, giving Simaxx access to weather monitoring sensors can let you pool temperature data directly into the platform, ready to be used to calculate weather degree days relative to the internal temperature of a chosen building.

The ability to use almost any data-gathering method as an importing option ensures that you can access the right data at the right time. This could be temperature sensors, energy usage monitoring tools, or entirely separate energy-related projects. Simaxx provides a platform to pool that information in a single place and refine it into usable data.

Gathering Data

Being able to pull in data from so many different platforms allows Simaxx to be a core part of many businesses. Regardless of how many properties a company needs to manage or the number of elements a property manager needs to take into account, they can all be recorded and logged in Simaxx with ease.

Having a variety of ways to gather data means that information can be recorded more accurately and that you can approach energy consumption issues from a range of different angles. This can be especially important in industrial settings, where equipment may contribute to the overall temperature of a building more than you may first realise.

Using tools like sensors and temperature monitoring systems can allow for almost-entirely-automated data-gathering. It is also possible to connect Simaxx to a variety of other existing platforms, either to share data directly or to make sure that you can pull particular pieces of information to Simaxx as needed.

Handling Data

Degree day information can be used alongside unique equation options to calculate specific sets of information, form the core of an energy management method, or even just help you break down total consumption between buildings. The user has complete freedom with how they choose to use their data and what kind of results they try to glean from it.

A single Simaxx account can hold a near-infinite amount of historical data, allowing you to compare and calculate while drawing on data from months (or years) in the past. Even if you focus on information within a one-month billing period, identifying the total kWh usage of a building is a lot simpler when you can normalize the base temperature.

Degree days can involve a huge amount of information over a long period of time. Simaxx lets you pull all of that data together: internal building temperature, external temperature, base temperature, total kWh usage, the monitoring period, and any other information that is relevant.

Once gathered, you can begin to refine this information into something more practical. This could be the total number of heating and cooling degree days, the differences between degree day numbers in different weather conditions, how different buildings handled bad weather across the same period or even simple differences in energy usage across a given period of time.

Locating Problems

Simaxx’s ability to collect data in one place provides an excellent opportunity to locate long-standing problems. Comparing degree day levels or total energy usage between buildings, especially under specific weather conditions, becomes a lot simpler when you have all of the information readily available.

Building solutions to these long-term problems requires you to understand the causes behind them. Through the Simaxx platform, you can simplify the work and keep all relevant data in one place, allowing for easy access if you need to review or re-compare information.

Not only that, but Simaxx provides the perfect platform to calculate specific pieces of information or sets of data. 

For example, you can sum the heating and cooling degree days, use the same sum equation in any past data that is relevant, and then use the sum information as the basis of a new set of reports and energy usage reviews.

Measuring Success

Measuring the success of any energy-saving measures can be hard when each billing period occurs under completely different weather. Using Simaxx to normalize this information makes it much easier to compare raw data, whether you are looking at one property or comparing different buildings across the same span of time.

The huge total number of options that Simaxx provides can ensure that even the most basic information offers some value. Being able to manage information so reliably can give you a lot more control over how you use the data you gather, regardless of whether it is entered manually or recorded using specialised sensor systems.

Thanks to this, energy managers and other experts can craft reports that illustrate important changes or data comparisons, using the core advantage of Simaxx to bolster their own reporting options. This becomes incredibly important if the issues highlighted by degree days are not immediately obvious without some clear explanations.