Why We Must Make M&V Believable Again

Imagine sending in a payment to your bank for your mortgage, car loan, or credit card bill. A few months later, you get a letter from the bank asking you when you will be paying.

Huh? You tell them you already sent in a payment and enclose a copy of the paid check.

Weeks later, they ask you if the check was really paid out of your checking account.

More time passes, back and forth you go. Eventually you find that there’s one poor soul trying to reconcile your payments against paper copies of transactions between your checking account and loans — with an Excel spreadsheet!

That, unfortunately, is the world of Measurement & Verification (M&V) in energy efficiency finance. Big investments in energy efficiency retrofits and equipment upgrades require measuring and verifying that energy efficiency gains were made. These, in turn, require analyzing utility meter data, building equipment data, and sophisticated statistical models. But all too often, it’s done by hand, with paper bills and Excel spreadsheets.

As a result, M&V is expensive, time consuming, and lacking in transparency. This unfortunately shuts out many projects which are technologically feasible, and it also creates disagreement and mistrust between energy efficiency developers and building operators.

We need to fix this and make it a low cost, easy, and transparent process before we could ever dream of scaling energy efficiency finance. Fortunately, we believe we can do it with open source. Read this blog post on how we’re putting together open source components…to make M&V believable again.