Demand side management
Managing how your facility or property uses your energy resources is known as demand side management. Based on the successful practices of ENERGY STAR partners, EPA has developed a set of seven “demand side” guidelines for establishing and running an effective energy management program. According to EPA, organizations that adopt a comprehensive approach such as Energy Star to management energy achieve significantly greater results than those without formal energy management programs. The following steps are adapted from EPA’s program and can be found on the website referenced below:
Step One: Make a Commitment
EPA suggests you first identify a senior energy executive to lead a dedicated team to set goals, track progress and be the on-site "Energy Champion" for your business. This senior manager should have a written policy to drive the organization's culture and operational behaviors. Make a commitment to wise energy management by becoming an ENERGY STAR partner.
Step Two: Assess Performance
EPA’s second step is to collect energy-use data and document it over time. Determine the starting point from which to measure progress. Conduct an energy audit to compare your performance against other facilities, peers, and competitors to help you focus on areas for improvement. Although numerous energy audit tools are available, Nicor Inc., a northern Illinois and Chicago gas company, offers a convenient on-line energy audit that you might find helpful. The EPA ENERGY STAR website additional provides tools and resources, including the EPA’s energy performance rating system for buildings delivered on-line through its Portfolio Manager website.
Step Three: Set Goals
Your senior energy executive should then develop energy management goals. Goals should be realistic, timely, attainable, and measurable, yet challenging. The Energy Team should determine the scope and parameters of the goals. Reviewing your energy assessment benchmark will help your team determine the potential order of upgrades. Goals should be set for the entire organization and then incorporated into each department's operational plan.
Step Four: Create an Action Plan
With goals set, your organization is poised to develop a roadmap to improve energy performance. EPA suggests you chart a course for savings and more effective use of your energy resources with a detailed action plan to ensure a systematic process to implement energy performance measures. Action plans should encourage an inclusive strategy that establishes the roles and processes throughout the business. Unlike the energy policy, the action plan is regularly updated, most often on an annual basis to reflect recent achievements, changes in performance, and shifting priorities. Although the scope and scale of the action plan is often dependent on the organization, the steps below from EPA’s ENERGY STAR program outline a basic starting point for creating a plan.
- Evaluate technical assessments and audit results to identify gaps between current performance and goals.
- Determine technical steps: Identify the steps necessary to for upgrading and moving facilities from current performance to the desired level of performance as defined by your goals. EPA’s website has guidance on developing a systematic approach to upgrading buildings, and tips for reducing energy use. There are other good sources of information on formation of an energy action plan too.
- Define targets: Create performance targets for each facility, department and operation of your organization to track progress towards achieving goals. EPA suggests that you set timelines for actions, including regular meetings among key personnel to evaluate progress, completion dates, milestones, and expected outcomes. Establish a tracking system to track and monitor progress of action items. EPA’s website has specific tips and tools to help you.
- Determine roles: Determine who should be involved and what their roles should be. Internally, this might include departments such as facility and operations management; financial management; human resources; maintenance; supply management; building and plant design; engineering; communications; environment, health & safety. Externally, determine the degree to which consultants, service providers, vendors, and other product providers will be used. EPA suggests outsourcing entire aspects of your action plan, or contracting with specific vendors for limited projects. Using outside help for implementing parts of or all of your business plan does not mean outsourcing responsibility for aspects of your energy management strategy. EPA’s website has an excellent directory to service and product providers.
- Determine resources: Define resources needed, in terms of manpower and likely costs, for each aspect of the action plan and develop a business case to obtain these. EPA’s financial value calculator is available and a good resource. (view calculator)
Step Five: Implement the Action Plan
EPA asserts that executing your action plan is dependent on the acceptance, awareness and commitment of your peers. Every employee plays a role and impacts the programs success. Be certain that your action plan includes a strong internal communication plan to raise awareness and motivate everyone. Post the organization's performance in lunchrooms and other key locations throughout the company. Track and monitor improvement in your organization.
Step Six: Evaluate your Progress
EPA suggests that your next step is to evaluate your progress. Evaluation results and information gathered during the formal review process is used by many organizations to create new action plans, identify best practices, and set new performance targets.
Step Seven: Recognize Achievements
Making the most effective use of your energy resources is a team effort and recognizing the people in your organization that significantly contributed to the progress is very important, according to EPA. Although this step is last on the list, it really should be executed at every available opportunity along the way in order to keep the team motivated and focused on the goals. EPA offers ENERGY STAR awards and you may earn the ENERGY STAR Label for your buildings. Recognition from EPA provides external validation of your energy program and can enhance your organization's public reputation, making you more attractive to customers, students, current and future employees, business partners and other stakeholders.