Collecting Business Value from Energy Data

Catherine Bottrill, CEO and cofounder of analytics startup Pilio, considers environmental problem-solving to be a combination of technology, economics and politics. But, she adds, “Environmental change needs to come from people [who] have the wherewithal and motivation to change.” The goal for Pilio: to shift society toward greater environmental consciousness.
 
Catherine Bottrill talks with Renee Boucher Ferguson, MIT Sloan Management Review contributing editor, about the state of energy analytics.

Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, the Nordic Countries, Spain, the U.K., and the U.S. all use them, and in some instances mandate them. The smart meter movement has spread around the globe. The trouble is, the reams of energy data that they produce and store are often inaccessible or indecipherable to energy managers. Even when environmental goals are clear, the mountain of raw data from smart meters isn’t easy to translate into action. Managers carry an extra burden when it comes to realizing energy data’s latent value — they have to decipher a data stream of mind-numbing complexity, and until recently, they haven’t had many tools for the task. Building energy analytics startup Pilio is one of a growing number of businesses that help other companies manage their electricity, gas, oil and water usage with new data-intensive processes. CEO and cofounder Catherine Bottrill runs Pilio, which emerged from an energy demand-reduction research project in Oxford University. Along with Pilio cofounder Russell Layberry, is combining behavioral science with energy analytics to help organizations better understand — and manage — their energy use. The heady goal with Pilio: to develop ideas and practices that will shift society toward greater environmental consciousness. “Environmental change,” Bottrill says, “needs to come from people, and people must have the wherewithal and motivation to change.” Catherine Bottrill talks with Renee Boucher Ferguson, MIT Sloan Management Review contributing editor, about the state of energy analytics — and how to get better at deriving business value from energy data.

Can you give me an overview of what Pilio does?

Sure. Pilio is a building energy-monitoring and management software created with Dr. Russell Layberry from research out of the University of Oxford. We have now spun out of the University to take our innovations to marketing. We are developing a range of products for improving energy efficiency — iMeasure for online home energy monitoring, wMeasure for weather data to do energy analysis. And we’re doing some development work for data analytics on driving energy efficiency and savings.

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