Four Step Process to Saving Resources and Increasing Your Bottom Line―Step Two: Identifying Outliers

Alison Liaboe

I recently had the pleasure of co-presenting a webinar for Chain Store Age with Bob Valair, Director of Energy for Staples. We presented on how to save resources, while increasing your bottom line, using a four-step process, and I’ve been blogging about our findings. The first post in the blog series discussed the importance of analyzing your data. Today’s post will focus on the second step in the process―identifying outliers.

So, how do you get started? First, you need to understand and identify site outliers. What is an outlier? The formal definition of an outlier on Wikipedia is “an observation that appears to deviate markedly from other members of the sample in which it occurs.” In its simplest form, an outlier is one of those things that is not like the other.

The best way to identify site outliers is to have good, accurate data. Your data set can come from your utility bill data or interval data from a smart meter. You can slice and dice the data in many different ways; you may want to select locations within a similar peer group for comparison, some factors can include:

  1. Square footage
  2. Usage
  3. Layout (stand alone or inline buildings)
  4. Equipment inventory
  5. Region

Drawing from the data set, you should know your average and even see, at the site level, which properties or assets are underperforming. Once you have your set of outliers, the next step is drilling down into the “why.” There are a couple ways to investigate outliers:

  • Set up a system or a website for site managers to enter information about the site, such as year built, square footage, or weatherproofing status to see if there are any drafty areas or air leaks. You should also check on the condition of cooler gaskets and lighting systems―whether they are automatic based on motion sensors, what type of lighting is used in that building, etc.
  • Call the building’s site manager and conduct a survey over the phone about the building or make a site visit and investigate in person. Through any of these data collection means, the ultimate goal will be to determine what is causing the “bad behavior” at the site.

You can watch the webinar here (registration required) and for a deeper dive into each of the steps in the process, check back for my next post in the blog series, which will focus on taking action on site outliers.

Related content:

No comments yet.

Comment on this post