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Guidelines for Energy Management Overview

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Guidelines for Energy Management Overview

Guidelines for Energy Management

EPA offers a proven strategy for superior energy management with tools and resources to help each step of the way. Based on the successful practices of ENERGY STAR partners, these guidelines for energy management can assist your organization in improving its energy and financial performance while distinguishing your organization as an environmental leader.

The steps:

  • STEP 1: Make Commitment

Organizations seeing the financial returns from superior energy management continuously strive to improve their energy performance. Their success is based on regularly assessing energy performance and implementing steps to increase energy efficiency.

No matter the size or type of organization, the common element of successful energy management is commitment. Organizations make a commitment to allocate staff and funding to achieve continuous improvement.

To establish their energy program, leading organizations form a dedicated energy team and institute an energy policy.

Form a Dedicated Team


Appoint an Energy Director — Sets goals, tracks progress, and promotes the energy management program.


Establish an Energy Team — Executes energy management activities across different parts of the organization and ensures integration of best practices.

Institute an Energy Policy


Institute an Energy Policy — Provides the foundation for setting performance goals and integrating energy management into an organization’s culture and operations.

  • STEP 2: Assess Performance

Understanding current and past energy use is how many organizations identify opportunities to improve energy performance and gain financial benefits.

Assessing performance is the periodic process of evaluating energy use for all major facilities and functions in the organization and establishing a baseline for measuring future results of efficiency efforts.

Key aspects include:

Data Collection and Management


Gather and track data — Collect energy use information and document data over time.

Baselining and Benchmarking


Establish baselines — Determine the starting point from which to measure progress.


Benchmark — Compare the energy performance of your facilities to each other, peers and competitors, and over time to prioritize which facilities to focus on for improvements.

Analysis and Evaluation


Analyze — Understand your energy use patterns and trends.


Technical assessments and audits — Evaluate the operating performance of facility systems and equipment to determine improvement potential.

Assessing your energy performance helps you to:

  • Categorize current energy use by fuel type, operating division, facility, product line, etc.
  • Identify high performing facilities for recognition and replicable practices.
  • Prioritize poor performing facilities for immediate improvement.
  • Understand the contribution of energy expenditures to operating costs.
  • Develop a historical perspective and context for future actions and decisions.
  • Establish reference points for measuring and rewarding good performance.
  • STEP 3: Set Goals

Performance goals drive energy management activities and promote continuous improvement. Setting clear and measurable goals is critical for understanding intended results, developing effective strategies, and reaping financial gains.

Well-stated goals guide daily decision-making and are the basis for tracking and measuring progress. Communicating and posting goals can motivate staff to support energy management efforts throughout the organization.

The Energy Director in conjunction with the Energy Team typically develops goals.

To develop effective performance goals:


Determine scope — Identify organizational and time parameters for goals.


Estimate potential for improvement — Review baselines, benchmark to determine the potential and order of upgrades, and conduct technical assessments and audits.


Establish goals - Create and express clear, measurable goals, with target dates, for the entire organization, facilities, and other units.

Setting goals helps the Energy Director:

  • Set the tone for improvement throughout the organization
  • Measure the success of the energy management program
  • Help the Energy Team to identify progress and setbacks at a facility level
  • Foster ownership of energy management, create a sense of purpose, and motivate staff
  • Demonstrate commitment to reducing environmental impacts
  • Create schedules for upgrade activities and identify milestones


When setting goals, be sure to use the Energy Team's wide range of knowledge to help set aggressive, yet realistic goals. Have management review your goals to enlist their feedback and support.

  • STEP 4: Create Action Plan

With goals in place, your organization is now poised to develop a roadmap to improve energy performance.

Successful organizations use a detailed action plan to ensure a systematic process to implement energy performance measures. 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.

While the scope and scale of the action plan is often dependent on the organization, the steps below outline a basic starting point for creating a plan.


Define technical steps and targets


Determine roles and resources

Get buy-in from management and all organizational areas affected by the action plan before finalizing it. Work with the Energy Team to communicate the action plan to all areas of the organization.


Creating an inclusive strategy that establishes roles and actions throughout the organization can help to integrate good energy management practices. When developing an action plan, consider:

  • Brainstorming with various departments to identify ways they can contribute.
  • Holding a competition to seek ideas for energy efficiency from across the organization.
  • Gathering recommendations from the Energy Team and other key personnel.
  • STEP 5: Implement Action Plan

People can make or break an energy program. Gaining the support and cooperation of key people at different levels within the organization is an important factor for successful action plan implementation in many organizations. In addition, reaching your goals frequently depends on the awareness, commitment, and capability of the people who will implement the projects.

To implement your action plan, consider taking the following steps:


Create a communication plan — Develop targeted information for key audiences about your energy management program.


Raise awareness — Build support all levels of your organization for energy management initiatives and goals.


Build capacity — Through training, access to information, and transfer of successful practices, procedures, and technologies, you can expand the capacity of your staff.


Motivate — Create incentives that encourage staff to improve energy performance to achieve goals.


Track and monitor — Using the tracking system developed as part of the action plan to track and monitor progress regularly.

  • STEP 6: Evaluate Progress

Evaluating progress includes formal review of both energy use data and the activities carried out as part of the action plan as compared to your performance goals.

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 goals.

Key steps involved include:


Measure results - Compare current performance to established goals.


Review action plan - Understand what worked well and what didn't in order to identify best practices.

Regular evaluation of energy performance and the effectiveness of energy management initiatives also allows energy managers to:

  • Measure the effectiveness of projects and programs implemented
  • Make informed decisions about future energy projects
  • Reward individuals and teams for accomplishments
  • Document additional savings opportunities as well as non-quantifiable benefits that can be leveraged for future initiatives.
  • STEP 7: Recognize Achievements

Providing and seeking recognition for energy management achievements is a proven step for sustaining momentum and support for your program.

Providing recognition to those who helped the organization achieve these results motivates staff and employees and brings positive exposure to the energy management program.

Receiving recognition from outside sources validates the importance of the energy management program to both internal and external stakeholders, and provides positive exposure for the organization as a whole.

Key steps in providing and gaining recognition include:


Providing internal recognition — to individuals, teams, and facilities within your organization.


Receiving external recognition — from government agencies, the media, and other third party organizations that reward achievement.

In Practice

Recognizing ENERGY STAR Award Winners

In 2006, EPA recognized seven ENERGY STAR partners for their leadership in energy management and six others for their sustained excellence in this category. Four ENERGY STAR service and product provider partners were also recognized for their contributions. To help publicize the achievements of ENERGY STAR Award winners in all categories, EPA developed a full-page, color public service announcement (PSA) which ran in major publications such as Entrepreneur, Money and US News & World Report. The PSA was also shared with local and trade publications. View the PSA and other materials from the 2006 ENERGY STAR Awards ceremony.

Partners are also encouraged to promote this notable achievement internally and externally through newsletters and local media.

Need help getting started?

Use our Energy Program Assessment Matrix Excel which is designed to help organizations and energy managers compare their energy management practices to those outlined in the Guidelines. Corporate or organizational level energy managers can use the Facility Energy Assessment Matrix Excel (127KB) to help evaluate management at their facilities.

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