Key steps

Key Steps

With a solid understanding of an energy management best practices approach, it's time to move forward to customize and implement a plan for your own organization. This process can be overwhelming. The good news is that there is no need to reinvent the wheel because the "What," "When" and "How" have already been done for you. The following steps outline a continuous cycle of steps that you can follow to implement your own comprehensive energy management plan.

Step 1: Commit

Regardless of the size of your organization or building, obtaining senior management commitment to a continuous cycle of energy improvement is essential. Their buy-in will keep your energy management initiatives moving along and will help foster an energy management culture within your organization. Once senior management support is obtained, best-in-class organizations establish energy teams to set policies and performance goals. For more information, visit our Energy management best practices resources section.

Key elements of this step

  • Get commitment from the top.

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Step 2: Assess performance and set goals

ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager access page

Managing your energy data is important. The most effective energy management programs "measure to manage" energy performance and use this data to optimize operations. Using benchmarking, you can determine if your building's energy performance is getting better or worse in comparison to itself, other buildings in your portfolio, and/or its peers.

Establishing a regular energy benchmarking routine, including setting a baseline for measuring future results, will help you understand the current and past energy use of your building. Armed with this knowledge, you will be able to quickly establish goals and prioritize initiatives that will result in energy savings.

These goals will drive your energy management activities and promote continuous improvement. Don't overlook the importance of setting, tracking and measuring goals that are clear, measurable and realistic at the appropriate level.

Key elements of this step

  • Collect and manage your energy data.
  • Develop your baseline.
  • Benchmark energy usage.
  • Analyze and evaluate.
  • Ensure your goals are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-related).

The United States Environmental Protection Agency's Canadian-adapted ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager benchmarking tool tracks energy use over time and is especially important to help you navigate through Step 2. For more information, visit our Energy benchmarking section.

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Step 3: Create the plan

Take the time to "plan your plan." This step will help you define and assemble all of the behavioural, organizational and technological components necessary to achieve your energy management goals.

Your plan should:

  • Outline a systematic process to implement energy performance measures, including employee awareness initiatives (Implementing an Energy Efficiency Awareness Program [PDF - 1.2MB]) and Energy management training.
  • Prioritize actions that deliver the highest rewards. Be sure to include no-cost and low-cost measures as well as measures that can be implemented quickly.
  • Ensure that senior management is committed and supports any actions identified in the plan.
  • Evolve over time and be flexible to reflect achievements, changes in performance and shifting priorities. As an evergreen tool, your plan will become an effective roadmap to guide and improve your energy performance.

Key elements of this step

  • Assemble the components.
  • Prioritize measures and actions.
  • Determine roles and resources.

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Step 4: Enact the plan

Now is the time to act. During this step, your plans will become a reality. Be mindful of the role that building occupants play. The success of your implementation efforts hinges on your ability to create an effective and engaging employee awareness program [PDF - 1.2MB] that clearly communicates your organization's overarching energy goals and targets, providing information on ongoing energy initiatives and creating opportunities to encourage building occupants to become more energy efficient (e.g. training, incentives).

Key elements of this step

  • Create an employee awareness and communications plan.
  • Invest in comprehensive training programs to expand the capacity of staff based on identified needs.
  • Motivate staff through incentives to reduce energy consumption.
  • Measure and monitor your energy use using reliable tools (e.g. ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager benchmarking tool) to gain and maintain control of your energy consumption.

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Step 5: Evaluate and adjust

Manage the knowledge you gain from your ongoing evaluations so you can benefit from any lessons learned. With this information, you can step back, re-evaluate your existing action plan or create a new one, identify best practices, and set new performance goals. What you learn will help you fine tune the behavioural, organizational and technological elements required to maximize the energy performance of your building.

Key elements of this step

  • Measure results to compare current performance to established goals.
  • Make informed decisions about future energy projects based on knowledge gained.
  • Reward those involved for accomplishments.
  • Document any additional savings opportunities.

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Step 6: Celebrate your success

Praise reinforces good behaviour. Recognize the accomplishments of those who helped the organization achieve results and motivate other employees and building occupants to get involved.

Key elements of this step

  • Look for opportunities for internal/external recognition.

Our employee awareness guide (Implementing an Energy Efficiency Awareness Program [PDF - 1.2MB]) can help you identify opportunities for celebrating your energy management achievements.

For more information, read our Case studies to learn about the successes of other organizations.

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