Local Government Spotlight: Cleveland, Ohio
Leveraging Resources Across City Departments to Establish a Streamlined Data-Access Solution
Cleveland, Ohio, is a model for how cities with public power utilities develop interdepartmental relationships to enhance utility-data access. Through the collaboration with Cleveland Public Power (CPP) and the Department of Finance, the Cleveland Office of Sustainability (OoS) leveraged expertise to establish and maintain a comprehensive energy data management system that continuously tracks energy cost and consumption data for all of the city's energy using assets.
Goal: Reduce cumulative building energy intensity by 20% by 2022 from a 2010 baseline year.
Barrier: Lack of process, team, or unified organizational plan to manage data and inefficient method and format of data delivered by utility.
Solution: Collaborated with other city offices and leveraged their expertise to establish and maintain a comprehensive energy data management system that continuously tracks energy cost and consumption data for all of the city's energy-using assets.
Outcome: Improved access to the city's energy- and water-consumption data, which guide the city's energy-reduction strategies, including the development of an extensive cost-benefit analysis for near- and long-term sustainability measures delineated in the Sustainable Cleveland Municipal Action Plan.
Cleveland is the nation's 52nd-largest city with just over 380,000 people and a portfolio of more than 125 buildings and 4.5 million square feet. The Cleveland OoS is collaborating with CPP and various city offices to help reach the mayor's target of a 20% cumulative reduction in building energy intensity by 2022 from a 2010 baseline year. OoS could not comprehensively track data for the city's energy-using assets without CPP's assistance due to the limited resources within OoS and the method and format of the data provided by the city's utility vendors.
OoS leveraged CPP's expertise and staff time to establish and maintain a comprehensive energy-data management system that continuously tracks energy cost and consumption for all of the city's energy using assets. One CPP staff person (on a part-time basis) continuously enters utility data for the city's nearly 1,600 natural gas, electric, water, sewer, district steam, chilled water, and transportation fuel accounts into the city's utility-tracking system from various vendors, including electricity data from CPP. In addition to data entry assistance, CPP performs a series of quality control audits on the utility accounts.
The city's building energy reduction goal, set by the mayor, was the impetus for the collaboration between OoS and CPP. CPP and OoS fall under the budgetary purview of the Cleveland Department of Public Utilities, so it made sense for them to collaborate around the reporting requirements associated with the city's energy goal. As a revenue-generating entity under the Enterprise Fund, CPP has additional staff-time and budgetary resources to devote toward data entry and system maintenance.
In addition to the assistance from CPP, OoS led an effort to streamline access to energy data. It received assistance from the Cleveland Department of Finance, CPP, as well as utility vendors who were willing and able to provide electronic billing data.
As a result, OoS improved access to the city's energy- and water-consumption data, which guide the city's energy reduction strategies, including the development of an extensive cost-benefit analysis for near- and long-term sustainability measures delineated in the Sustainable Cleveland Municipal Action Plan.
Note: The information in this case study is based on primary research conducted in 2013-2014. Learn more about the guide's research and development.
To learn more about streamlining access to utility data, see Step 4.