Our Work: Energy Efficient Database

Through its energy-related programs, the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC) was collecting detailed energy usage data. With a $300 million grant for a rebate program that gathered detailed energy usage before and after efficiency improvements, AHFC’s data was going to increase exponentially.

AHFC needed a robust system to manage the program and this goldmine of energy usage and efficiency data.

The Solution

Resource Data designed, built, and maintained a web application and database called the Alaska Retrofit Information System (ARIS). This application supports a range of users:

  • Property owners signing up for ratings
  • Call center operators managing the queue and dispatching raters
  • Energy raters conducting audits and loading data to ARIS
  • Program administrators monitoring for fraud and ensuring the program runs smoothly
  • Researchers studying the data

We built ARIS to meet ever-changing user and program needs. For example, we included

  • A robust, multi-factor security model—for example, John Doe can see only commercial building ratings in Fairbanks
  • 50+ filterable reports
  • A separate data mart for running resource-intensive ad hoc queries without negatively impacting other ARIS users
  • An extensible data model for adding datasets and sources, such as commercial buildings and live building sensor streams

Our Approach

With the diverse stakeholder group and ARIS as the central hub, we emphasized a partnership approach. We assigned two senior Project Managers, who proactively engaged with the ARIS stakeholders to ensure needs were met. For example, we worked with program administrators to create ARIS tools to help identify potential fraud before rebates were distributed. And we met with researchers early on so their needs were considered when making system decisions.

We also provided a developer to help the team updating AkWarm (custom energy rating software that feeds data to ARIS). This cross-training helped us understand AkWarm and enabled us to identify how ARIS and AkWarm could each be adapted to make the overall program more successful.