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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Commercial Strategic Energy Management: Approaches and Best Practices


It is a well-known adage that focused intent gets results! Nowhere is this more relevant -- or more important to the efficiency industry -- than in well-organized and implemented Strategic Energy Management (SEM) programs. SEM programs build lasting partnerships among program administrators and their customers and empower the customers to make smart energy decisions for their facilities. Focused on operational and process improvements, on identifying untapped capital projects and on people engagement, SEM efforts lead to deeper and long-term savings. As SEM begins to take hold in the market, similarities and differences are beginning to show up between program administrator efforts. Navigant conducted a Commercial SEM Best Practices study for a leading mid-west utility to identify the key drivers to success and approaches to effectively engage varying customer types or needs. This presentation will focus on study findings from the in-depth research and interviews with leading SEM program providers around the country. Our findings address the advantages and limitations of various Commercial SEM program models and targeted business types. The study identifies the elements and strategies that are critical to successfully implementing an SEM program, including project planning, people engagement, persistence of commitment, and measurement and verification. We also present a roadmap for program implementation and operation in the form of a best practices logic model, drawn from interviewees, which program administrators can use as an example to design and operate their own SEM program.

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