To really understand how you are doing you need to be able to count something and graph your progress. Do you track dollars spent on your electric bill each month and graph it? Most people and companies don’t.
The physical act of putting together a table of data and drawing up a graph forces you to think about what those numbers mean. Making a graph using either a computer or a pencil and graph paper makes you focus on the numbers.
The computer that you are using to read this is likely to have MS Excel already in it. Excel makes graphing easy as long as you let it have its way on some details.
If you don’t keep score, you don’t know if you are winning or losing
In business, folks are always counting stuff and tracking the results with graphs. I’ll bet one of the first things you learned to count was money.
Business folks count things like:
- Units sold per month
- Dollars earned per month
- Kilowatts used per month
Productivity numbers are also a favorite for calculating and graphing:
- Material cost per unit
- Labor cost per unit
- Kilowatts per unit
At home, most folks just glance at the little bar chart that is on the bill that they get in the mail. They are so focused on the dollars they owe; they don’t try to figure out why the bar on the graph is higher this time.
You need to ask some questions like:
- Was this month warmer or colder than the same month last year?
- Did we have house guests during the month?
- Were we away from home for a few days?
- What was different during the month?
You can feel good about your conservation work when you see the results on the bill after you changed to lighting that is more efficient.
Or, after adding insulation or completed other projects.
Home heating fuels can be tracked and graphed, but allowance needs to be made for weather changes. You can track your heating efficiency by figuring out how many cubic feet of gas you used per Heating Degree Day. Or, how many gallons of heating oil were used per HDD.
Similar tracking and graphing can be done with your water bill. Cubic feet of water per month, or gallons of water per person per month are possibilities. Or, just dollars per month. Everyone understands dollars.
After you decide which energy or water score’s you are going to keep track of, it is good to go back in history to reconstruct a year or more of data to establish a baseline. Then do things to improve your scores and track the results.
If you can show your boss energy money savings on a graph at work, you might even get to move your pay graph up a little.