The predominant approach to commercial energy efficiency is to focus on single-technology, one-time solutions—such as replacing lighting or cooling equipment with more efficient technologies. This transaction-based approach limits whole-building performance improvement and keeps building operators focused on short-term savings rather than continuous improvement. An organization-wide strategic energy management approach that sets long-term energy savings goals and uses rigorous tracking and reporting systems can drive greater savings, reach across entire building portfolios, and institutionalize such practices to sustain long-term savings.
State and local governments can leverage these energy management frameworks to lead by example and to encourage private organizations to adopt best practices. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) State Energy Program and Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant recipients can use a strategic energy management approach to sustain and extend their grant-funded energy savings.
How Does It Work?
Public agencies can start by developing and implementing strategic energy management programs for their own operations, and extending those expectations to suppliers. National and international efforts for the first time provide robust standards for organizational energy management programs. The International Standards Organization (ISO) has developed ISO 50001 for energy management systems as a framework for organizational energy management in day-to-day operations and long-term planning.
Compliance with ISO 50001 is a prerequisite for participating in the DOE-supported Superior Energy Performance program, which certifies energy performance improvement in industrial facilities and commercial properties (on a pilot scale). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Building Performance with ENERGY STAR® program provides guidelines for energy efficiency program sponsors to encourage building- or portfolio-wide energy improvement, consistent with ISO 50001 practices or Superior Energy Performance certification. ISO 50001 provides a useful energy management framework, and ENERGY STAR and Superior Energy Performance offer additional guidelines using the general model depicted in the figure to the right; it outlines a 7-step model for ingraining energy-conscious decision making in an organization’s operations.