The adoption of clean and renewable energy is integral to a sustainable future where waste detrimental to the environment is significantly reduced and resources retain value through a circular economy. A comprehensive data and analytics solution can empower businesses as they transition to and implement low-carbon and renewable energy sources.
Sustainability goals and initiatives have received sustained support across industries as governments require more action from companies and as consumers express preference for environment-conscious businesses. It’s no surprise that in the latest Honeywell Environmental Sustainability Index report, over 80% of companies still plan to increase sustainability budgets despite potential economic uncertainties. Of the four categories of sustainability efforts — energy evolution and efficiency, emissions reduction, pollution prevention, and circularity/recycling — energy is a priority for 87% of surveyed global leaders.
Energy generation contributes largely to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with electricity and heat comprising a third of global emissions. Given that businesses consume more than half of the total electricity generated across the globe, it’s imperative for this sector to commit to sourcing power from clean and renewable sources. Sustainable energy is integral to overall net-zero targets and is emphasized by the United Nations’ SDG Goal #7: Affordable and clean energy.
Private sector and government energy targets
Major enterprises and multinational companies have responded to the call for transitioning to low-carbon and renewable energy. For example, in the US, 18 of the top 25 companies are pursuing 100% renewable energy or carbon-neutral goals according to Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). Technology giants like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon as well as retail and consumer goods companies like Unilever, Walmart, and Target are aiming for 100% renewable power in the next two to five years. Meta and Apple and even beauty companies Estee Lauder and Sephora report already reaching 100% renewables. Meanwhile, industrial and chemical companies from Europe, namely INEOS Group, Borealis AG, and Norsk Hydro, were among the top 10 buyers of clean power in 2022.
Whatever your business size is and however simple or complex your operations are, a commitment to shift to clean energy and implement energy efficiency is critical to business resilience. Aside from the UN’s global goal of substantially increasing renewable energy usage by 2030, the International Renewable Energy Agency noted that 125 countries already have renewable targets as part of their national energy mix.
European Union: This year, the EU launched Fit for 55, a set of proposals intended to update climate-related legislation. Among energy-specific areas in the package are renewable energy targets, energy efficiency and building energy efficiency, and energy/electricity taxation. Consequently, the EU recently agreed on provisionally increasing the binding minimum target for renewable energy to 42.5% by 2030. Another proposal focuses on emissions from fuel and energy in the maritime
United States: The US specified a new target of 80% renewable energy generation by 2030 and 100% carbon-free electricity by 2035. At the state level, California’s goal is 60% of its electricity to be coming from renewable sources by 2030.
Australia: The country’s Renewable Energy Target policy aims to source over 80% of energy from renewable sources.
Other regions and countries: In North America, Latin America, Asia and Africa, other countries have also committed targets that range between 23% and 100%.
While most energy minimum targets are oriented toward the national power mix, a number of countries are also looking to implement these to end uses like transport, cooking, and heating and cooling. Furthermore, almost a thousand cities worldwide have identified city-level targets.
Data and analytics for sustainability and clean energy
The movement toward sustainability and corporate social responsibility is driving not only the overhaul of operations but also the transformation of corporate reporting and certification. According to the KPMG global Survey of Sustainability Reporting 2022 report, most top companies already provide some form of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting.
Now more than ever is the role of data and analytics in monitoring, implementation and reporting highlighted. So it comes as no surprise that an that 93% of surveyed companies will continue to invest in data and analytics. The utility and energy analytics industry alone has been projected to grow to almost US$10 billion by 2032. ESG metrics, including energy-related ones, may be tricky to navigate especially for smaller businesses. Considering the growing momentum in clean and renewable energy and the many facets of energy use, businesses need tools to stay on track with reduction and renewable targets. Sustainable energy goals generally seek to:
Reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electricity, heating/cooling, and other energy-consuming operations.
Cut down energy consumption and increase energy efficiency.
Increase the use of renewable energy.
Through data and analytics, you can:
Analyze energy consumption patterns. From various sources, data analytics can be used to examine energy usage data, observe usage trends, and identify inefficiencies along with improvement areas.
Set energy efficiency goals. Analytics can provide insights into appropriate goals and targets by analyzing historical energy data and comparing metrics against industry standards. This allows you to set a realistic and attainable path for clean energy.
Evaluate the impact of energy efficiency measures. Aside from goal setting, analytics also helps monitor your progress as you modify energy sources and energy consumption. For example, after lighting retrofits, insulation upgrades, or equipment replacements, you can evaluate energy usage and compare efficiency and cost against previous months.
Manage demand. Uptime is important for all businesses, and this requires reliable energy supply. At the same time, energy reduction means optimizing the flow of energy in your facilities. A centralized and visualized analytics tool can show energy usage and peak demand periods so you can strategize in shifting energy consumption to off-peak times or respond to fluctuations in demand.
Facilitate renewable energy use and/or generation. If you have yet to integrate renewable sources, analytics helps assess the feasibility of integrating or transitioning to renewables. By analyzing consumption patterns, current resources, available options, and budgetary considerations, you can decide on how much clean energy you’ll need and can source.
Energy data, targets, and KPIs for clean and renewable energy goals
A comprehensive sustainability analytics solution can integrate multiple data sources to enable performance tracking, provide insights, and identify improvements. Below are sample targets you can explore for your business:
Track and report energy produced, purchased, and consumed.
Reduce energy consumption in operations and increase energy efficiency.
Reduce GHG emissions from energy.
Build energy-efficient buildings.
Increase the use of renewable energy.
Increase generated and/or stored renewable energy.
Enforce energy efficiency in supply chain.
Engage in Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs)/Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs).
Obtain sustainability certifications (i.e., LEED building).
You should also measure your business performance and success throughout your transition strategy with KPIs on energy consumption, efficiency, and renewable energy use and generation. If you’ve made the switch, ensure sustainability and net-zero goals are met while maximizing renewable energy benefits.
|KPI||Data Point or Benchmark for Measurement/Analysis|
|Total energy consumption||Megawatt hours or gigajoules|
|Energy consumption by source||Renewable, nonrenewable|
|Renewable energy consumption||Percentage of total energy consumption|
|Energy efficiency improvement||Percentage of reduction in energy consumption per unit of production|
|Energy consumption intensity||Energy consumption per unit of production or revenue|
Industrial process efficiency
|Energy consumption per unit of output for specific processes|
|Energy consumption by equipment type||HVAC systems, lighting, production machinery, computers, office equipment, etc.|
|Supplier energy performance||Assessment and management of the suppliers' energy consumption|
|Energy consumption reporting and disclosure||Transparency and quality of energy data|
|Energy performance index (EPI)||Benchmarking energy efficiency against industry standards|
Table 1. Sample energy-related KPIs
|Sample Data Sources||Sample Data Points|
|Smart meters||Energy consumption, time-stamped usage data, power demand|
|Building management systems (BMS)||HVAC data, lighting data, energy consumption data, system performance|
|Sensors||Temperature, humidity, light, power usage, equipment status|
|Utility bills||Energy consumption, costs, billing periods, usage patterns|
|Energy audits||Energy consumption patterns, inefficiencies, recommended improvements|
|Equipment specifications||Efficiency, age, performance of energy-consuming equipment|
|Occupancy data||Number of occupants, occupancy schedules, building usage patterns|
|Renewable energy generation data||Solar panel output, wind turbine output, system performance|
|Weather data||Temperature, humidity, solar radiation, wind speed|
|Benchmarking data||Industry standards, best practices, energy consumption data of similar buildings|
Table 2. Sample data sources and data points for analyzing energy-related KPIs
Sample analytics-enabled dashboard for tracking energy consumption
Choosing an analytics solution for shifting to clean energy strategy
Lingaro’s Green Enterprise Analytics provides you the innovations for successfully shifting to clean energy. Green Enterprise Analytics enables you to:
Centralize multiple data sources throughout your facilities and operations.
Visualize energy consumption patterns.
Use customized dashboards and reports for relevant energy KPIs.
Sort, filter, and search from one dashboard to gain insights quickly.
Tailor-fit analyses and comparisons of historical and real-time energy data and industry benchmarks.
Enterprises as well as governments are now reducing fossil-fuel-based energy consumption and pursuing cleaner alternatives. Additionally, policies and legislation are propelling the energy transition. An end-to-end data analytics solution can jumpstart and power up your business so you can achieve clean energy and other sustainability goals.