Monitoring and targeting is about more than passively tracking trends and allocating spends. In large part it should be about detecting abnormal patterns of use and thereby exposing ‘avoidable’ consumption—energy used in excess of what was strictly required given the prevailing circumstances. To do this properly you need an accurate way of calculating expected consumption, usually by means of a formula based on measurements of relevant driving factors such as how cold the weather was, or what your levels of output or activity were.

Avoidable waste tends to be associated with human error, minor control malfunctions, substandard maintenance and other faults that are quick, non-disruptive and cheap or even free to correct. It is always unexpected and often hidden, so many energy users end up living with excess costs and emissions. It need not be so: once you can gauge actual consumptions against accurate estimates of expected consumption you will be able to spot that it has happened and get something done about it.

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