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Progressive Energy Management Wins Every Time

November 10, 2016 / by George Belich

WOW What a Week! Read on for insights on how to change the story and start Winning with energy management.

Today we're bringing you a follow up post from a guest contributor George Belich. This is the first in a series of posts on Progressive Energy Management. George is  President of Energy ISA LLC and has 35 years of experience in the energy industry.

Progressive: a word with many meanings,  ( just see the Wikipedia Disambiguation ) We shall use definition #5 - going forward or onward; passing successively from one member of series to the next; proceeding step by step. Using this gradual approach to energy management is a winning strategy. 

A Modern Twist on Strategic Energy Management:

Sequencing is simply the art and science of placing things in a particular order. This could be the sequence of DNA molecules in a genome, the arrangement of library cards in a folder, or the order of actions to complete as part of a commitment to Strategic Energy Management (SEM).

We think the best sequence is to start with Easy Wins and achieve Progress from there.  Winning is a strategy will appeal to the artists and scientists within each organization. 

Here are a few of the most common and critical steps in SEM, but the trouble is that while they make sense to an Energy Professional, they often confuse or deter action from building owners and operators.

  • Securing senior management commitment
  • Identifying the operations champion(s)
  • Committing to specific energy savings goals and objectives
  • Tracking performance against self and others
  • Conducting an opportunity assessment
  • Improving energy management business systems
  • Achieving and sustaining energy management goals

If you take another look at the list, the first bullet point is Commitment, which can be scary for many people! Remember to frame these steps as indiviual wins of a successful strategy.

For shortcuts on getting Customer Commitment - check out our guide

5 Shortcuts to Customer Commitment



If getting the first commitment sems like a challenge, it may be valuable to introduce the concept of Progressive Energy Management. Again, the idea that you start with the easy stuff that you already have and build upon your success. Any decision that is a yes is a win, and the more decisions you have, the greater chance you will have to improve energy performance. 

In reality, this is the most common approach to Strategic Energy Management, and the engine that drives energy management as a service.  Unfortunately the ease and simplicity of quick wins is often lost among all the complex  messaging and communication around goals, metrics, actions and the universe of energy options.  

Here are a few ways to change the story with and start on the road to Progressive Energy Management -

1. Start with What You Have:

Information about the operation, process, people, along with the usual data on utility bills or energy consumption...gather whatever it is you have and get it all in once place so people with the expertise, time, and resources can make sense of it. It is amazing that this is one of the hardest parts of any energy management strategy as it is one of the most simple to execute - Organize

By communicating that a win is what you already have (rather than Commitment first) you can decrease the problem of organizational inertia and focus your team on working towards results. REMEMBER - Aggregating and Organizing customer and project information requires no government policy, incentive program, or external support. While we always like more information, as long as we have enough to proceede to the next task, gain conficence, and make decisions, we are winning. 

2. No-Cost Utility Data Review

Yes, once you get everything together - someone who knows what they are looking for will need to take over. Again, this is the heart of Strategic Energy Management, but often people make the mistake of trying to charge for this service. Charging for analysis can be an avoidable barrier to success and providing this basic service is a surefire way to another early win in Progressive Energy Management.

 Often enough, the ultime energy user is not educated enough to determine the value of a data review, and thus approve this expense. A lot of great energy improvement projects can die at this stage unless the value is absolutely clear.

Remember, everybody has utility bills - EVERYBODY. It is very straightforward process to using this billing data and compare to temperature, time of year, and other factors to 'normalize this data.' This is a very easy quick win and keeps you and the project team on the path towards Progressive Energy Management.

Here are some tips to make this step easy

Energy Star

Free web application that allows you to benchmark and check your relative efficiency.

Electric, Gas and Water bill collection

Gather at least two years of utility bills where you can get our total usage, peak demand and total cost. Depending on your rate and utility there may be additional information available, such as smart meter data, just don't forget - just because its a smart meter doesn't mean it has immediate value - see our post "Why are Smart Meters So Dumb?"

Temperature / Humidity

Some basic historical data can be found to use in an overview analysis of the utility bills. You may not just look for temperature but also heating / cooling degree days or possibly just degree days.

3. Site Survey/Asset Review

Most people make the mistake of thinking they need to pay or charge for a on site survey....

Start by asking the question, has there ever been a utility use survey to gain a better understanding of what is going on? If not, consider what can be accomplished with a what are known as remote, or 'desktop audits.' These are cost effective ways to use what you already know and have gathered about the building (Progressive Energy Management steps 1 & 2) and transform them into useable information.  

Some Sample Desktop Audit Questions:

Heating and Cooling: Size of units, name plate information, age, last serviced

Lighting: Type and quantity of panels and tubes & Height of ceiling

Operational hours: ex. M on to Friday 8 to 5, Sat 8 to 12, Cleaning crew or other night time access

Occupancy: No. of companies, Schedules and no. of personnel,Weekend support needed

Single Lines: Probably not current but can give an idea of the utility distribution in the facility but not necessarily to the assets. Also provides the circuit maximum load provision to react to the need for new capacity.

Current control schemes: Is there a zone map? What are the current set points desired and / or implemented? Are the automated? If so, permit manual override? Are the lights setback for day lighting or nighttime usage?

Meter Types: Is there any metering besides those provided by the utility? If so, what circuits? What parts of the facility? Are they read automatically or manually?

Low Hanging Fruit

The quick wins that every building owner and occupant wants

Our next blog post in this series will cover how you and your energy team can transform the easy steps of Progressive Energy Management into actionable insights and easy to implement, cost effective energy solutions and building improvements. This Fruit is ripe enough it is hard to imagine anyone who can stop this progress.


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Topics: energy management, energy experts

George Belich

Written by George Belich

George Belich is the President of Energy ISA LLC and has 35 years of experience in the energy industry in various capacities such as a software engineer, systems integrator, hardware developer, product manager and a business owner.  Mr. Belich has a strong technical background in smart grid, energy management, utility metering, data communications, systems integration, database management and metering problem solving.  Mr. Belich has worked with wide variety energy users from multi-site retail, healthcare, universities, manufacturing and industrials; including Wal-Mart and the Los Angeles Unified School District providing software and metering system solutions.


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