Lessons learnt

This section collects all lessons learnt grouped by phases.

Partnership & buy-in

Lessons learnt

Involving just the energy department is not enough

  • Impact
    • The project has ICT aspects and in your case also?
  • Recommendation
    • Think of all the possible fields that are relevant to the project and effect / contribute to its effectiveness and success and approach the responsible people
    • Ask at meeting whether they want to remain active or whether being kept in loop is sufficient

Inform union etc. about service

  • Impact
    • These institutions are trusted by Staff and will fight against service if benefits are not understood
    • Institutions have effective communication channels which will simplify roll-out
  • Recommendation
    • Invite e.g. union to a meeting and communicate motivation and benefits
    • Establish a contact point and keep it in the loop

Inform Tenant Association etc. about service

  • Impact
    • These institutions are trusted by Tenants and will fight against service if benefits are not understood
    • Insitutions have effective communication channels which will simplify roll-out
  • Recommendation
    • Invite e.g. union to a meeting and communicate motivation and benefits
    • Establish a contact point and keep it in the loop

Procurement should consider not only the known providers

  • Impact
    • ICT is a world of SMEs and local companies might exist
    • Smaller companies (e.g. ESCO) are often willing to share risk by contracting
    • SMEs can provide software and research the hardware themselves
  • Recommendation
    • Do not procure hardware based on features available from big suppliers
    • Check availability and applicability of features for edss and ems
    • Check what skills are needed to install, maintain and use devices to stay independent
    • Discuss flexible financing schemes if savings is main target (e.g. contracting savings)

Lengthily procedures for involving staff / professionals into the project

  • Recommendation
    • The best way of reaching out to the staff members is through their superiors
    • It is helpful to have good relations with heads of departments and to keep them informed about all project activities

The dispersion of financial benefits through project as facilitator for the service adoption.

  • Impact
    • Experience showed that by sharing with users the reduction of energy costs, their interest towards the service grew stronger.
  • Recommendation
    • Share positive information, especially financial benefits, through mail, telephone, brochures, etc.
    • Energy managers can increase motivation with face to face interviews.

Use workshops to identify potential champions

  • Impact
    • Workshops are a good way of learning of the users’ attitudes and opinions
    • Champions facilitate the outreach, advertise solution
  • Recommendation
    • Organise workshops with open title
    • Observe attitudes and approach interested and extroverted people first

Weak engagement during holiday seasons

  • Impact
    • for survey conduction, this means fewer responses
  • Recommendation
    • Take holiday periods into consideration when planning any staff-related activities
    • Also relevant in administrative buildings

Weak responsiveness and unwillingness to collaborate

  • Impact
    • poor awareness
    • not reaching a critical mass
    • failure to recruit users
    • risk of failure for entire pilot
  • Recommendation
    • Executives are more collaborative and willing to help
    • First discuss with managers and let them organise their staff
    • Communicate with managers on a regular basis

Observe changin political situation

  • Impact
    • New administration needs to proof action, if system not understood first to be “saved”
  • Recommendation
    • Survey the political scene in order to take advantage when opportunities arise
    • Seek to establish new contacts and influence when a change occurs

Approaching visitors might require consulting public representative

  • Impact
    • Those responsible want to know what is happening in “their” (public) places
    • It might even be legally forbidden in certain buildings
  • Recommendation
    • Check with department in charge, ideally an internal partner
    • Take someone from staff to approach |sv|s

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Data security & regulation

Lessons learnt

Concerns about data privacy

  • Impact
    • Surveys where people are asked to fill in personal information (e.g. their e-mail address) raise concerns
  • Recommendation
    • Ask for personal information only if it absolutely necessary
    • If personal information is requested, give a good explanation why it is needed and what it is used for.
    • If no personal information is needed, announce that the survey is anonymous

Data consistency can fail not only in database

  • Impact
    • Gaps in data affect models or require complex correction understood by few
    • Data loss can go unnoticed for weeks for individual meter if no regular check is done
    • Gap in data also minimises your ability to trace back cause of error as data is lost
    • Users will lose trust in service if data visible is not reliable
  • Recommendation
    • Devices should have temporary storage (e.g. 4 days) in case network breaks down and submit packages later
    • Service provider should be made responsible to track data loss and trigger fixing in time with payments dependent on achieving KPI
    • Implement simple daily procedure checking meter recordings (e.g. meter reading today greater than yesterday) to limit data loss

Keep data processes transparent

  • Impact
    • Users are alarmed whenever their personal data is requested
    • Why keep process and use a secret when you are not going to sell data?
  • Recommendation
    • List if any personnel data is being recorded
    • Explain in writing what data is used and explictely state it is not going to be used beyond this purpose
    • Create link to / Establish a data protection contact point

Do not rely on data to stay consistent

  • Impact
    • Changing to hardware (e.g. boiler) might change meter or measurements
    • Particularly, dangerous if data supplied from outside and
    • when large number of buildings is being managed
  • Recommendation
    • Establish procedure to be informed about changes
    • Make sure data access is requirement at installation and is in fact restored
    • Daily consistency check of data ensuring changes can be seen (at least) ex post

Invite for data / privacy workshop if legislation changes

  • Recommendation
    • Invite all key stakeholders to ensure trust remains untouched
    • Prepare and provide information material on regulatory change
    • Check whether understanding is the same
    • Then check whether changes need to be made to service and collect requirements as in initial set-up

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Technical set-up

Lessons learnt

Define roles & responsibilities of (sub)contractor / provider to avoid conflict and cost

  • Impact
    • Hierarchies established avoid additional / unstructured communication
    • Not allocated tasks induce costs, create conflicts between contractors and can bring work to an halt (potentially with knock-on effects)
    • The effect is stronger where language barriers exist.
  • Recommendation
    • Outline responsibilities of key stakeholders and their exact roles in the project early on.
    • Definitions should follow the role/function of the actor within the project, not the structure of the consortium.
    • Each partner can play several roles, but potential role conflicts need to be identified and subsequently addressed at planning stage.

Initial site visits should be the most accurate possible

  • Impact
    • Conditionas in historical buildings and those with exhibitions can changewhich is not desirable, e.g. in museums
    • Placing sensors gets tricky because changing appearance might change measuring conditions (e.g. air flows for temperature)
    • Existing plans might not be accurate and local staff is aware while you are not > potential source for tension / conflict
  • Recommendation
    • Validate your understanding of plans with local building staff to avoid misunderstandings
    • Building staff are dealing with the building on day-to-day basis, so they know in many cases what is best because they have operational experienc

Survey infrastructure and contracts in place

  • Impact
    • Existing communication channel might be used to transfer metering data to central server
    • If improvements benefit others, support for project increases and reduces cost
  • Recommendation
    • Do not only survey metering devices
    • Survey communication contracts and needs in building

Fully label meters, sensors etc

  • Impact
    • Whilst billing meters have imprinted numbers additional metering for zones might not
    • If confusion arises between device and data, it endangers the service
    • If user notices data must be wrong, trust is loss
  • Recommendation
    • Clearly label each device and record number and location along in database
    • Testing procedure should include test validating hardware recording and data stored in database

Develop one simple visualisation which works everywhere

  • Impact
    • People feel immediately confident that they understand the output of the service: motivation
    • Changes to the graphic are immediately recognised which creates a feedback loop
    • Users immediately understand information in new context (e.g. different building, resource)
  • Recommendation
    • Create one graphic which reduces the number of variables needed to understand
    • Make this visualisation the default view at start page
    • In back-end and residential context consider bar-chart in monetary terms
    • Same graph and default time period should be used for varying resources

Visualise high consumers

  • Impact
    • If alarms are too frequent, Professional might set threshold higher - quick view sometimes easier and a backup
    • Awareness of normal users can focused by showing the impact of one single consumer
  • Recommendation
    • Provide small graphic of high consumers on one dashboard for Professional in backend
    • Push-alarms might be possible based on such graphics
    • Consider adding a meter for large consumers

Do not rely on availibilty of modern software

  • Impact
    • Institutions do not necessarily allow, for instance, modern browsers
    • Same applies for protocols supported by servers, backbones, routers etc.
  • Recommendation
    • Reduce dependency and try to use standard technology
    • Clearly define the requirements so ICT can check

Take user testing seriously

  • Impact
    • Testers are new users and they show you where they fail
    • Recording their requirements makes sure feateres which are wanted are to be developed
  • Recommendation
    • During different stages of the project find test users that have not seen the displays before and ask them to do a sense check
    • Keep in touch with old testers for them to check your new version
    • Review their feedback and consider changes
    • Use standardised routines including referencing requiremetns

Documentation of the technical equipment and machines is important

  • Impact
    • ICT in mechanical part is often new
    • Responsible do not know where to add or check information
    • Retracing will be more expensive
  • Recommendation
    • Integrate new hardware into existing documentation routines
    • Inform professionals on where to find documentation, gives control / increases motivation

Some managers prefer to control the access to energy information

  • Impact
    • Information about energy consumption remains limited to a few staff
    • This hinders other staff / recipients of this information to look at the raw data to come to their own conclusions
  • Recommendation
    • Communicate that control remains in the hands of managers
    • Openly negotiate and agree on what access is permitted for all users
    • Ask what the worries are and if there is reason compromise
    • Present other benefits such as empowering staff, getting people interested, etc.

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Take-up & use

Lessons learnt

Buy-in of senior management

  • Impact
    • Senior manager can also communicate on higher level to other departments affected
    • It is especially difficult to build relationships during organisational change
    • Without senior support, conflicts can arise and communication efforts needed might increase
  • Recommendation
    • Find a strong project sponsor in a senior position that can bring together different service areas from the outset i.e. project inception
    • Focuse initial communication campaign rather than trying to reach all levels of the hierarchy instantly

Ensure maintenance |ss| and |sp| are aware of the project

  • Impact
    • If not aware, they might consider service as a tool to replace them
    • They can be core users with workable knowledge of buildings
  • Recommendation
    • Explain how savings make sure that budget cuts will not be necessary
    • Offer training and reduce fear of not being able to handle ICT
    • Make, occasionaly, service an agenda item at meetings in department

Training and information sessions need to be tailored to the audience

  • Impact
    • Telling regular users too much, will make the unsure about what to do and to reduce risk, not use the service
    • Telling professionals what they already know demotivates them and the session is perceived as waste of time
  • Recommendation
    • Find out what the current level of knowledge is and focus on new learning
    • Keep it short (better 2 x 1hr sessions than 1 x 4 hrs) to digest the contents
    • Be clear about what it is that we want to achieve and why we need their help

Workshop size and organisation

  • Impact
    • Group training enables users to exchange also after session
    • Contact
  • Recommendation
    • For Professional: small groups of 6-7 (ideally a working team)
    • For regular users: mid-sized groups of 12-17 (ideally neigbhours)
    • Provide small gifts (e.g. mugs) with link as reminder about service

Authority sometimes required during implementation

  • Impact
    • Some Staff consider energy to be their domain alone and react defensive
    • Presence of department head in meetings eases tension and avoids unnecessary conflict escalation
  • Recommendation
    • Indentify early on which communication strategy is needed (top-down?)
    • Involve, if applicable, the department of occupational risk prevention

Establish a communication strategey

  • Impact
    • Terms should be recognised in context of service
    • To frequent messages will appear random and confused
  • Recommendation
    • Define terms and communicate to Professional, champions, help desk etc. to use when talking about service
    • Define a few messages and present them in certain context, e.g. spot on the internal website
    • Select a few channels to communicate to focus your effort and reduce cost

Have a trusted organisation as a partner in public meetings

  • Impact
    • Institutions such as universities enjoy the confidence of the employees in the public sector and can achieve the advantage in your favour
  • Recommendation
    • Invite and inform universities, associations, unions etc.
    • Consider a regional university over “consultants” from outside

Identify champions, ideally in each building

  • Impact
    • Champions will take responsibility and contact the professional when they cannot achieve result themselves
    • edss identifies waste and opportunities, but action is required by individuals
  • Recommendation
    • Identify energy champions in workshop and recruitment events
    • Establish link to dedicated energy and other building professionals to carry out specialised works

Setup information desk / kiosk

  • Impact
    • Especially a Visitor waiting will check out of interest
    • Content is mostly already available on portal, just needs to be linked or re-used
    • Makes service part of the “real” and not “only” digital world
  • Recommendation
    • Create simple design ideally using logo of service
    • Setup kiosk, visibly, in waiting areas at location where Visitor can stand for a few minutes without blocking the way
    • Kiosk should be rebootable to avoid maintenance effort
    • Use to communicate success achieved including monetary savings

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Lessons learnt

Reguarly evaluate progress

  • Impact
    • Service in place does not mean it is being used
    • All users initially approached with campaings might be replaced due to changes
    • Central evaluation recognises larger opportunities including investements
  • Recommendation
    • Use a standardised approach
    • Communicate results to Professional and other users
    • If efficency drops, identify reasons and if necessary make users aware of service
    • Use data to compare progress over time or between buildings

Make sure success in saving energy is perceived as teamwork

  • Impact
    • A service without users’s action has no effect, make sure motivation stays up
    • Vice-versa: Improvements may raise the question why these have not been reached earlier and can make the responsible for energy efficiency appear in a bad light
    • Finally, if one building is successful and everybody knows it, it is also a way to motivate those in a new building
  • Recommendation
    • Communicate the success and clearly state that the “users” have achieved it
    • Communicate that these savings have been achieved with the service and were not possible without
    • Make this statements also in a public in a press release etc

Keep a contact point open

  • Impact
    • There will always be new users and they should have an easy access point
  • Recommendation
    • Re-use materials
    • Use a video channel to explain functionality which can be moderated by a champion

Convince users to replicate good action at home

  • Impact
    • Some lessons are universal and the trick can be applied eslewhere
    • One user communicating the advice to another person is a duplication of awareness
  • Recommendation
    • Keep a public website or kiosk for general advice
    • Use quizes to test knowledge
    • Suggest energy saving games with children
    • Do not overload - one hint at a time so action can be structured by anyone

Check if other departments might benefit from your infrastructure, resources

  • Impact, for instance
    • Newly implemented communication protocols could be used in different context
    • Data might be used to create checks other than energy (e.g. security, usage of rooms)
  • Recommendation
    • Approach those often working in building and ask what they wish they would know about their place - be creative
    • Approach any departments visiting for maintenance / service

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