Project Discovery: segmenting and benchmarking commercial consumption (2579)

Project Description

Project Discovery, a Market Improvement Fund Project, has developed the Commercial Consumption Analysis (COCOA) Schema: a first of its kind, classifying commercial properties based on expected water consumption practices, and benchmarking consumption. 

The project aimed at segmenting and benchmarking non-household (NHH) consumption with the aim of improving demand forecasting, achieving performance targets, assisting in responses to water stress, and to help identify water efficiency opportunities.

A global literature review and revealed that previous attempts to benchmark NHH customers had often resulted in time consuming and data heavy processes; while we recommend considering regular onboarding and on-going surveys, this would n0t have been possible within the timescale of this project, as we aimed at building a desktop solution with national reach, accessible and easy to use.
Armed with water consumption data provided by water companies we built a schema which combines Standard Industry Classifications (SIC) with expert knowledge on water consumption and consumption data from smart metering systems.

The COCOA Schema is encapsulated in an Excel tool; by inputting a SIC code and floor area (in m2) of any non-household premise, the COCOA Excel tool will classify the property, estimate consumption with uncertainty bands, and suggest whether a premise is using an excessive amount of water. This gives the industry the opportunity to identify excessive consumption anywhere in the UK, using a desktop model.
We have validated the COCOA Schema using a set of water efficiency visits conducted on NHH properties, for which data was provided by one of the wholesalers.

However, the Schema comes with many limitations due to underlying data accuracy and gaps and should be considered as a first resource to pinpoint high users, followed by more accurate verifications (e.g. online lookup, phone calls, additional data…).

Throughout the project, Artesia and the project steering group have identified a significant number of recommendations, concerning the quality of data available, further exploration of external data sources that could not be used for accessibility, price, or other practicalities, coverage and quality of SIC Classification across the water industry, further research on the use of continuous flow (CF) in commercial properties, and further validation through water efficiency site visits and other direct communication with NHH customers.

The project has involved a range of stakeholders including lead sponsor Anglian Water, MOSL, several wholesalers and retailers, and was delivered by Artesia Consulting.

The COCOA tool is freely accessible, together with its documentation; you can access it and download it here.

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