Thursday 22 December 2016
It is that time of the year when journalists and bloggers – me included – struggle to come up with a Christmas or New Year themed piece. Having started an energy efficiency review of the year I decided instead to focus on one development that I believe will have big implications for energy efficiency and energy markets in 2017 and beyond – the Building Button.
2016 brought many changes in the energy scene with the oil price, fracking, the falling cost of renewables and new nuclear all making the headlines. In December the Investor Confidence Project unveiled its latest innovation, one that promises to change the way that energy efficiency is exploited and financed, the Building Button.
Essentially the Building Button allows project developers using the ICP’s Investor Ready Energy Efficiency™ project certification system to literally push a button at the end of the development process and have all the data transferred into a standard form based on the US Department of Energy’s BEDES “dictionary” of terms. This allows project data to be collected in a standardized way which will allow market participants including investors, lenders, insurers, building owners and developers to share, aggregate and analyze project level data. This is an important first for the energy efficiency industry which up to now has been characterized by a lack of real data – a lack that reduces project host and investor confidence, and inhibits the growth of demand for efficiency upgrades.
Building Button is built around three use cases: Technical Due Diligence, Financial Underwriting and Actuarial Data. It can be used across organizations or within an organization wanting to track project data including on-going project performance data. We see applications for aggregators, utilities and large portfolio owners wanting to standardize project development and data and ultimately measure the real performance of their energy efficiency investments.
The Building Button label sounds strange in Europe but it is derived from other “buttons” used in the US; the green button which allows consumers to download their energy consumption data, the orange button which standardizes data collection for the solar industry, and the blue button which signifies healthcare sites where patients can download their medical records.
Along with the standardization of project development and documentation brought about by the Investor Confidence Project – as well as the Energy Efficiency Financial Institutions Group’s guide to value and risk appraisal in energy efficiency investing, the launch of the Building Button puts in place the basic market infrastructure which is needed to build confidence and grow the energy efficiency project market. It also lays the foundations for pay for performance models which will really push the button on growing demand for energy efficiency, a subject I am sure I will return to in 2017.
To learn more about the Building Button join the ICP webinar on 9th January at 0900 PST.
To all my colleagues, collaborators and customers, readers of onlyelevenpercent.com and followers on Twitter and LinkedIn, have a very merry and peaceful Christmas and a healthy and prosperous 2017.
Dr Steven Fawkes
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