Looking Back at the First Year of Holmes & Watson Energy Blogs


Z Alternate for 02.15.14

Holmes: If we could single out the most important thing that we have learned during the past year while researching and writing our Blogs, it has to be the total failure of the Energy “Profession” to keep pace with the times. By placing self-serving interests above those of Facility Owners and Managers, our “Profession” is continuing to enrich themselves by teaching and performing Energy Audits while claiming that they are the most essential step in every energy project.

Watson: I was taught in engineering school that all valid science must be based on accurate data. But somehow the so-called “Energy Profession” has survived for 40 years based on almost no actual data at all. Doesn’t sound like a true science-based “Profession” to me!

Holmes: The assumption that the best tool our “Profession” can offer is the Energy Audit, is ridiculous. The Energy Audit was developed on the heels of the Energy Crisis of the mid-70s just as personal computers and the Information Age were in their infancy. As far as we have been able to determine, there has never been a single scientific study that verifies the accuracy of Energy Audits. In fact, the ones we have seen have shown the opposite, the variability and inaccuracy of their findings. Read our Blog “Energy Audits are a Flawed Concept”.

Yet years into the Information Age, instead of embracing and requiring the use of all of the new tools being developed on a daily basis, this “Profession” is continuing to use the same methods that I was taught in the mid-1970’s; methods that should have been abandoned years ago for their total failure to meet even the most basic requirements of valid science and engineering.

Watson: How many other scientific or engineering “Professions” can you think of that are still providing the same training that they were 40 years ago and have failed to embrace the use of Information Technology?

Holmes: While continuing to insist that Energy Audits and Benchmarking are the most effective tools available, our “Profession” has convinced Utility Companies, DOE, EPA, and a growing number of States and Cities to mandate these obsolete and ineffective methods, wasting billions of dollars. Required Certification programs are expensive and continue to teach outdated methods instead of requiring valid, monitored data from permanent information systems.

And don’t forget that the final objective of Energy Audits and Benchmarking is to identify “Capital Projects” which result in the purchase of new equipment much of which, in our experience isn’t needed and couldn’t be justified using actual monitored data and valid analytical methods.

Watson: I thought that starting into our second year would be a good time to reflect on how well we accomplished our original objectives in 2014 and set new ones for 2015.

Holmes: I agree. When we started we said that the main objectives of the Blog were to:

  • Emphasize the use of fundamental scientific methods based on the use of actual monitored data.
  • Educate and teach others in the profession the basic principles and methods of good energy management, resource conservation and efficiency.
  • Pass along some of my 40+ years of experience in practical ways.

Watson: I think we have done a good job and apparently so do others as our readership has been steadily increasing. I think the best way to look at the past year is by re-visiting some of the most popular blogs that focused on several key topics including:


Energy Audits


Energy audits are a Flawed Concept. This is 2014; the Information Age … not the Estimation Age

Energy Auditing Hasn’t Changed in 40 Years

Are Energy Audits Necessary or a Waste of Valuable Resources?

Replace the Energy Audit with the Energy Inventory

Feedback from Energy Professionals on Energy Audits




Benchmarking – It May Feel Good but How Much Energy Does it Save?

Every Facility is Unique; Benchmarking One Against Another Has Little Value


The Energy “Profession”


There’s an Elephant in the Room

The Energy Profession has it Backwards!

You Can’t Afford Not to Have a Permanent Energy Monitoring System

How Many Certificates Does it Take to Save Energy?

Big Data Will Revolutionize the Energy Efficiency Profession

Why Hasn’t the Energy Efficiency Profession Updated Their Methods in 40 Years?

Sub-Metering Misses the Second Largest Opportunity to Save Energy

You Can’t Afford to Use Data Loggers; Permanent Energy Instrumentation is the Only Cost- Effective Solution


Utility Programs


Why are Utility Companies in the Business of Saving Energy?

Utility company’s energy efficiency program using antiquated methods we abandoned in the ‘70s

Why Don’t Utility Companies Provide Their Customers With Useful Data?


Government Programs

Office of Energy Savings

Negative Incentives that Waste Money, Resources and Energy

Is Energy Auditing a Billion Dollar Industry?

EPA Compares Skyscrapers with Schools


Real World


Keep it simple! Technology is only a Tool; People are the Key

What Role Should Theory Play in the Real World?




Lighting Projects Confirm Lack of Qualified Energy Professionals

What is Low-Hanging Fruit Anyway?


Industrial Plants


What we learned about saving energy in our first industrial project

Traditional Energy Saving Methods Don’t Work in Industrial Plants

Industrial Plants Need to Empower their Employees to Save Power

Where Do the Energy $$ Go in an Industrial Plant?

Monitoring System Catches Employees Loafing on Sunday

President Assigns Energy Costs to Foremen; They Drop 35%


Comparing Other Professions with the Energy “Profession”

06.05.14-36-AP Estimadometer

What Industrial Plants Could Learn About Energy Efficiency from Sailors

What the IRS, Airlines and Medicine could learn from the Energy Profession

What Industrial Plants could Learn about Tracking Energy from Nuclear Plants

If Airplanes Can Fly Without Pilots, Why Can’t Buildings?

Watson: Why Can’t Buildings Fly Like Airplanes?

Does ROI mean the Reward of Ignorance when used to Deny Energy Information Systems?


Watson: Thus far there has been little recognition of the tremendous opportunity for using the information from Permanent Instrumentation to create huge savings with better management alone; one that allows owners to begin saving energy and money from the first day.

Holmes: Our objectives below for 2015 have changed very little from those of a year ago. We plan to continue to do everything we can to help the Energy “Profession” move from the Estimation Age into the 21st Century, the Information Age by promoting the need for:

  • Applying fundamental scientific methods based on the use of actual monitored data and sophisticated Analytical Techniques required to make “Big Data” relevant.
  • Modernization; to stop teaching and using Energy Auditing, Benchmarking and other obsolete, ineffective and self-serving techniques that haven’t changed in 40 years.
  • Increased, practical and effective Energy Education that combines both Theory with Actual Real World Experience.


Contact Bill: bill@holmesautopilot.com



  1. Hello Bill. My name is Guillermo (William in Spanish) and I live in Mexico. I’ve been working in the Energy field for some years and since November 2014 I’m working in a Company where the core business is Permanent Energy Monitoring.

    I found your website during a google search about ROI for Energy Management Projects. I find really interesting what you say about ROI not being objective with estimations. Also all the nice cartoons with Watson. I really liked it all. Very Creative and Eye-opening! Congratulations!

    I would like to keep in touch if it’s all right with you. I value very much all the knowledge you share with everyone through your website.

    I have to go now, but I hope we can keep in touch.

    I wish you a great start of 2016.


    • Guillermo,

      That was my name for 3 years in high school Spanish. Unfortunately, about all I can remember is cerveza, si, no, siesta and a few other useful phrases.

      Great to hear from you. I am just finalizing a book on Energy Monitoring that I have been working on essentially full time for about 4 months. I am pretty happy with it and think I have done a pretty good job of putting 40 years of practical experience into 100 pages.

      With a strong interest in education, it will be available as a free download. I will be working with all of my professional contacts in the U.S. to try to get it distributed as widely as possible to both college students as well as those already in this field. Rather than try to find and afford a publisher, it is designed as a pdf file that can be printed through any printing service at a nominal cost. You may have an interest in using it to promote your business as well as to help with energy education in Mexico. I’m not sure what would be involved with translating it into Spanish.

      Please keep an eye on my blog and when it is ready, the blog will promote it. Also, the editor of Plant Services is planning to promote it and write some articles about the book.

      Please keep in touch. Thanks for contacting me!



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