Energy Management Plan
Strategic planning for a comprehensive energy management plan includes 10 essential components to either creating or enhancing your energy management program:
- Measure/benchmark current energy consumption. Establishing a baseline against which future reductions will be measured is an important first step in tracking progress. EPA’s Energy Star program has developed a tool called Portfolio Manager that can be used to benchmark consumption against other buildings of a similar size, type, and function. Once a baseline has been established, an organization can continue to track consumption on an ongoing basis and quantify the savings from reduction efforts. Sub-metering can also be provided for discrete building systems to further understand the performance of those systems and to help in identifying reduction opportunities.
- Develop an energy use profile. An energy use profile will demonstrate how energy use is distributed among building systems (e.g., heating, water, lighting, office equipment, refrigeration, and so on, as demonstrated in the figure below) as well as identify the energy source for each system (natural gas, fuel oil, district heat/power, electricity). Submetering can be provided for discrete building systems to further distinguish the performance of those systems and to help identify further reduction opportunities. Breaking down energy consumption data by discrete systems allows a more strategic approach to targeting improvement efforts. Further, including cost in your baseline and energy use profile will make it easier to recognize your best opportunities for improvement. More information is available from the federal government publication Healthcare Buildings: How do they use energy and how much does it cost?
- Complete a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory. It may be optional, but some communities/states require them. GHG emissions link directly with the work you will have done to measure your energy consumption. The Climate Registry provides a good description of GHG emissions and tools to help perform an inventory of your facility's emissions.
- Build teams, get leadership support, assign dedicated resources. Create a multi-stakeholder sustainability or green team with representatives from departments that share responsibility for energy planning, usage, and management. An energy council subcommittee may be necessary to provide focused energy management efforts.
- Set targets/goals. It is important to set both short- and long-term reduction goals for energy and emissions reductions and integrate them into a meaningful and achievable energy management plan. Use the data gathered during baseline-setting, energy use-profiling, and GHG inventory to help establish reasonable, SMART goals that are consistent with a basic, intermediate or advance approach. Finally, the target goals will inform which performance improvement measures to implement to achieve the goals.
- Develop strategic action plans for improvement. The Roadmap performance improvement measures are a comprehensive list of measures, or projects, designed to help you pick and choose those that can help you meet your goals. Note the Green Light measures, which represent the "low-hanging fruit."
- Consider adopting a strategic energy management plan (SEMP), which is a written plan that includes an integrated approach to ALL aspects of energy management, including short- and long-term reduction strategies. For more resources, see the following:
- Implement projects. Execute performance improvement measures that will result in energy and emissions reductions for your facility.
- Track, measure, and report. It's important to begin to track your energy and GHG reductions for several reasons: (1) to verify they are meeting the intended goal, (2) to track cost and operational savings, (3) to monitor staff satisfaction, and (4) to report on all successes or failures in order to inform your next steps and give you traction as you prepare for the next project. Use newsletters, regular reports to leadership (a quarterly sustainability dashboard report card works well), e-blasts, and other communication channels to keep staff and the community informed of your commitments and progress.
- Train, educate, and celebrate. Effectively communicating the need for energy management and providing training and guidance on how to implement specific strategies can help an organization achieve greater reductions and gain more support for initiatives. Success is easier to achieve when users are educated on the reasons for any changes (what are the goals), trained on work practice changes (how to engage), and regularly informed on how action plan progress is matching up to goals (progress reports). Training and education is both formal, with specific learning objectives (compliance or policy-related training should be documented), and informal, with educational materials provided via posters, newsletters, e-blasts, and other media. Informed staff are engaged staff. Recognizing individual and collective efforts through awards or other recognition programs also provides opportunities to celebrate and communicate the valuable work being accomplished. Don't let a success go unrecognized.