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Create an Energy Management Plan

By NOPEC on October 3, 2019

Beginning energy-efficient initiatives in your community or organization can seem like a daunting project but it doesn't have to be. As with any project, planning is everything. Here we would like to give you a brief introduction as to the who, how, when, and whys that you should ask yourself when developing your savings plan.

1. Commit to Energy-Savings

Creating any change within an organization takes commitment.  It is no different when seeking to find ways to reduce energy consumption.  It will take time and effort to identify what changes to make where the biggest impact will be, change processes to accommodate the change, and track results.  If you want to see the returns on your investment in energy-saving initiatives, you must commit to continue to monitor and improve your organization's energy practices.  Depending on the size of your organization, you probably can't do this alone.  So start thinking about who in the organization can help you develop energy-performance goals and the strategies to achieve them.

Creating Your Team

Each task along the way will require a different skill set and even those who play a specific role in the community or business. Strategically selecting candidates for your energy team is crucial. Some parameters to focus your search on include operational areas/regions, industries, and even financial-savvy. For more on building your energy team, check out step two on the Energy Savings Road Map.

2. Know Your Starting Point

Next, you’ll have to understand your starting point. There will be no way to gauge your progress and evaluate effectiveness if you don’t know what you are progressing from. Gathering data to understand your past energy usage and comparing your energy usage to others in your industry will help you to understand where you are starting.  This step also includes an energy audit, which will identify the most effective initiatives for your organization and will gauge your energy efficiency.

3. Develop Goals

After evaluating where your organization or business currently stands on energy efficiency, and your energy team has agreed on where to focus its efforts, you can decide what is a S.M.A.R.T.  goal for your energy savings plan. S.M.A.R.T. goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. For example, a goal for your organization could be to reduce utility bills by 5% within one year. This goal is specific enough to be measured by reviewing utility bills, is relevant to energy savings, and can be completed and evaluated within the set time-frame.

4. Create a Plan

In this step, your team will be developing strategies and identifying ways to meet its goals.  With your S.M.A.R.T. goals in mind, you will need to develop a budget and an understanding of the cost of the program. There are many different options for energy efficiency initiative funding, including grants, PACE, and STEP loans. For more information and resources to reach out to for funding, check out the “Fund Your Project” step in the Energy Savings Roadmap.

This is also a good time to get additional input from others in the organization or within the community.  Understanding how each new strategy will affect those closest to it will help prevent unexpected consequences due to process changes once the plan is implemented.  

5. Implement Plan

Once your team has decided on the best course of action, it is time to implement changes to reach your goals.  Communication with specific audiences within your organization and possibly even within the community will be important to keeping everyone informed.  You may need to provide training opportunities for staff that are affected by new processes or that will be required to utilize new technology.  Motivating your team, organization, or community to want to participate will go a long way in successfully implementing new energy-efficiency strategies.

6. Monitor and Evaluate

As changes are implemented, continue to track energy usage to compare to past data and industry benchmarks.  This will tell you if your plan is performing as anticipated. 

Re-assess and Update

Continue to work with your Energy Management Team to monitor your progress and identify new ways to impact your organization's energy usage.  Discuss what worked and what didn't along the way or with each project to continue to improve each process as new ideas and strategies are developed.

7. Get Recognized

Before, during, and after implementing your energy savings program, make sure that your team and your community are invested in its success! Recognizing hard-work from members of your team can be as simple as holding a dinner, buying a plaque, or printing a certificate. Getting recognized externally for your hard work can be accomplished by applying online for awards, reaching out to a local reporter, or sharing the good news with friends and family. What you are doing is important, and a program is more likely to garner support and participation if the public is aware of its benefits.

The Issue of Change

Institutional change is no easy feat but being prepared is one way to make the process easier on yourself and those your plan would affect. Remember that there is resistance to all change, and even with a mission as sensible as energy efficiency, with so many benefits to you and your organization, there will be some adversity your rock-star energy management team will have to work hard to overcome.

Find out more about each step of your project’s journey, re-visit the Energy Savings Road Map.

Additional Resources

The Guidelines for Energy Management by ENERGY STAR© provides 43 pages of detailed information to help you develop a comprehensive energy management plan.  Download the guide below for step-by-step instructions and suggestions to creating an Energy Management Plan built for success.

Get Energy Management Guide

Tags: Energy Efficiency, NOPEC, Creating an Energy Management Plan, Energy Management
Categories: Energy Efficiency

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