Predicting the likelihood to invest in energy efficiency
REOS is a software application built on Brighter Planet Technology's (BPTS) platform. It not only provides the requested energy use and GHG inventory from the London call, but also identifies other relevant information needed to drive high-impact energy efficiency adoption amongst businesses and residents in the city.
It does this by assigning a score and creating profiles for each building in the city that predicts the receptivity of the building owner to energy efficiency investments. In addition to the score the profiles also include additional address level information including building attribute data, demographic information, financial insights, actual and modeled energy use data, and energy benchmarking information. Users can search and filter the profiles on REOS to enable energy efficiency customer prospecting, environmental accounting, and academic research.
BPTS will work with London's city government to identify means for capturing energy use data, including establishing utility relationships and designing campaigns to encourage energy use data sharing among city residents and businesses. Where actual energy-use data is not available, the REOS application will provide modeled energy use and GHG emissions for the building.
Receptivity to energy efficiency and renewable energy investment is notoriously difficult to identify and predict among building owners. The issue is not one of economics alone; even well financed programs have limited uptake within their target populations. Overall, according to the U.S. DOE, less than one percent of U.S. homes have had energy retrofits specifically to save energy.
This is a major issue because the world’s built environment consumes about 40% of global energy and produces about a third of global GHG emissions. Finding ways to engage more building owners in efficiency and renewable investments is essential to mitigating this impact, creating a stronger economy, and addressing global climate change.
REOS is a software application powered by BPTS technology that combines address level information including building attribute data, demographic information, financial insights, actual and modeled energy use data, and energy benchmarking to enable such action. This technology has been used to drive GHG accounting, energy efficiency customer prospecting, and academic research.
REOS enables users to search a given geography to identify buildings of interest. For example, a user could search for all owner-occupied residential buildings built before 1950 with high energy usage or, in another example, aggregate the GHG emissions of a given neighborhood’s buildings.
Each building is given an energy efficiency score that predicts the receptivity of the building owner to energy efficiency investments. This score is constructed using “Big Data” techniques: the analysis of past performance data such as building permitting data to predict future activities. This score can be used to better target customers for efficiency programs.
REOS uses BPTS’s CM1 platform, which supported Bank of America’s Brighter Planet Visa program (the largest green card program in U.S. history) and MasterCard’s Carbon Emission Reporting program. CM1 estimates carbon emission and energy use for all building stock based on building type, size, age, commercial activity, etc. and provides detailed methodology documentation to assure transparency.
REOS will be made available on a subscription basis.
Impact on economy
REOS empowers its users to identify opportunities for greenhouse gas and energy reduction opportunities with the use of data analytics. In so doing, it can serve as a robust customer prospecting and targeting tool that will drive greater investment into energy efficiency, creating and sustaining jobs in the building services industry. Furthermore, energy efficiency upgrades will lower the total cost of energy in the retrofit buildings. These savings will be re-spent by building owners, creating additional demand (and therefore additional employment) in other industries.
For example, the Rockefeller Foundation estimates that in the United States, more than $279 billion could be invested across the residential, commercial, and institutional building market segments. This investment could yield more than $1 trillion of energy savings over 10 years, equivalent to savings of approximately 30% of the annual electricity spend in the United States. If all of these retrofits were undertaken, more than 3.3 million cumulative job years of employment could be created. Additionally, if all of these retrofits were successfully undertaken, it would reduce U.S. emissions by nearly 10%.
Impact on culture BPTS takes currently available public data, organizes, analysis, and presents it in a fashion that can be used to empower a wide range of activities and audiences. It can help to infuse sustainability into more conversations and content through on-demand analysis, easily downloadable data, and highly targeted marketing campaigns. Take London as an example; with over eight million residents and strong greenhouse gas emission reduction goals, the city clearly needs to establish innovative ways to engage citizens and businesses in sustainability activities. The city can not communicate with over 3 million homes and the owners of over 110 million square meters of office space effectively or cheaply. It must therefore find a way to identify owners of those homes and commercial buildings that will be most receptive to energy efficiency investments. Such an analysis to date has not been possible, but through the use of REOS this could change.
Impact on ecology
The building sector consumes 60% of the world’s electricity and is the largest contributor of GHG emissions.  REOS processes energy, environmental, and demographic data to reveal hidden sustainability opportunities in this sector. Thus BPTS technology drives energy efficiency work, reduces GHG emissions, creates a more sustainable built environment and allows more robust accounting of environmental impact.
Impact on politics
In order to successfully combat climate change and resource degradation, politicians will have to embrace innovative policies and set aggressive goals. The politics of energy and the environment are never easy, as opponents of environmental legislation can criticize possible solutions as “job killing.” If the cost of the climate or energy policy is too high, the willingness of politicians to spend capital on these issues will decrease.
London, for example, has made a commitment to reduce CO2 emissions by 60% to 18 million tonnes by 2025. If the costs of hitting these goals are too high, loopholes will be created that cripple this and future legislation. The REOS solution, with its emphasis on job creation, helps to combat this by using data to drive better program design and more work in the energy efficiency sector.