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Gamification and scenario-based learning for energy auditors (Part 1)

In this two-part blog series, we’ll explore how we helped our client to train their energy auditors by building a learning gamification platform and using a scenario-based learning approach with Adobe Captivate. In Part 1, we’ll explore what an energy audit is, who performs it and what the common challenges are. In Part 2, we’ll explore the learning gamification platform and scenario-based learning approach we developed to overcome those challenges.

What is energy audit?

An energy audit is an inspection, survey, and analysis of energy flow within a dwelling and cataloging standard measures prescribed for that localized geography or location. The audits are performed based on standards established by governing bodies like RESNET (HERS Index) for residential units or LEED for commercial establishments. It also involves, benchmarking each site against a similarly sized dwelling to determine the comparative energy usage with respect to peer facilities with similar occupancy, climate, and size.

Who performs energy audit?

Typically, the energy auditor performs an energy audit. After an audit is complete, the energy auditor usually generates a report that outlines all measures, the score of each of the measures (which eventually determines the score/rating for a dwelling) along with recommendations and best practices the occupants or residents can follow to conserve energy.

What do Energy auditors do?

An energy auditor’s job entails the following responsibilites:

  • auditing multi-unit residential, commercial, and industrial establishments
  • to collect data on various measures like HVAC, Windows, Door, Attic,
  • to prescribe home improvements based on collected data
  • to inspect and provide inspection reports based on the improvements which are carried out
  • to prepare a plan for the activities
  • to present the plan in front of the management that is concerned with the attractive deals for making investments and reducing the energy costs. 
  • Establishment of the energy conservation cell in the firm
  • to initiate the activities for improving monitoring as well as process control for bringing the reduction in the energy costs.

Common challenges faced by energy auditors

February 2011 issue of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Journal featured an article entitled “The 10 Most Common Problems in Energy Audits,”.  Ian Shapiro, the article’s author, was interested in why some energy projects achieve substantial savings while others do not. He looked to energy audits for possible explanations and found 10 common issues that greatly affect a project’s ability to deliver on promised savings.  In this article, the author laid down 10 common mistakes outlined below:

  • Inadequate Review
  • Energy Savings Estimation
  • Billing Analysis
  • Building Description
  • Installation Costs
  • Energy Savings Measure Selection
  • Life-cycle Costing
  • Equipment and Project Life
  • Scope of Opportunities
  • Missed Opportunities

How should be overcome the challanges?

We collaborated with our client to come with the steps needed to overcome the challanges the auditors faced and educate them in a practical way to resolve the issues. The outcome of the dicussions were these four salient points: 

  1. Training can help auditors avoid common mistakes. 
  2. A scenario-based approach can help them get acquainted with real-world issues.
  3. Capturing a bank of real world scenarios can help us teach them to avoid common pitfalls
  4. Gamification can get them involved.

Why Learning Gamification?

Chinese proverb states:  
Tell me, I’ll forget  — Show me, I’ll remember — Involve me, I’ll understand 

Learning gamification is all about getting everyone involved. In Part 2 of this series, we’ll explore more.

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