Welcome To The

EnergyCAP Blog

Steve Heinz

Why Bother With Accruals?

Today’s blog is on one of my favorite topics—accruals. Oh, no; I lied. Let’s face it—accruals are rarely anyone’s favorite topic. As an engineer, I tend to look at accruals as an accounting exercise that really doesn’t add anything to the energy management picture, so why would anyone even bother? The short answer is that for those in accounting departments and those dealing with budgets and Profit & Loss (P&L) statements, accruals are very important and very necessary. But there are also some tangible benefits on the energy management side.

Read More

Barry Kroeker

An Overview of the DOE’s New Building Energy Asset Score

When we think of measuring building energy efficiency, we immediately think of the ENERGY STAR brand, which has been around since the early ‘90s. The new kid on the block is the Department of Energy’s Building Energy Asset Score. Today’s blog provides a quick overview of the Building Energy Asset Score, including a comparison with ENERGY STAR, in a convenient Q/A format.

Read More

Chris Heinz

Peer Advice for New Energy Managers

"What advice would you give to an energy manager on his or her first day?" We asked this question to five EnergyCAP users, each from a different organization. Let's see what advice they would give to an energy manager on the first day.

Read More

Barry Kroeker

Overview: ENERGY STAR DataTrends

ENERGY STAR has recently released DataTrends—a sector-specific research and analysis series. The series currently includes 2-page fact sheets for each of 16 building types that are commonly tracked and rated using the DOE’s Portfolio Manager online software. In this blog, we will answer a few basic questions and make a couple of observations about the available data.

Read More

Barry Kroeker

5 Ways to Build Your Energy Management Team

Gone are the days when the organization energy manager would (or could) work alone. Today, energy conservation is the work of everyone: more energy stakeholders mean better communication is needed; the value of energy information is on the rise; energy reports have to be tailored for different audiences; tasks are multiplying; and the lines between departments are blurring. Plus, energy performance mandates (public and private) are proliferating, and the tools of the energy management trade are becoming more powerful and complex. All these factors impact staffing and training, and they suggest that the successful energy manager is the one who can build (or rebuild!) an energy management team. Whether you're starting from scratch, or trying to ramp up a flagging energy management program, here are five ways to build your energy management team.

Read More

Barry Kroeker

Establishing an Institutional Energy Policy

A while back, we shared some suggestions on developing an Energy Management Plan (EMP). But sometimes it's hard to get support for the plan if you don't have an institutional framework in which to put it. Today's post provides suggestions for creating (or revising) an Institutional Energy Policy that will provide a solid framework for your future energy management efforts.

Read More

Chris Heinz

Top Ten Ebooks from EnergyCAP

At EnergyCAP, we’re always looking for ways to help you succeed in energy management. One of the ways we do this is through publishing ebooks. Our growing ebook library covers a variety of topics from finding energy savings to benchmarking your energy data to analyzing weather data. What ebooks are the most popular? In this post, we count down the top ten most-downloaded EnergyCAP ebooks:

Read More

Barry Kroeker

EnergyCAP Unmasked: Implementation Project Managers

Implementing enterprise software is a major event in the life of an organization, comparable to personal events like a wedding, childbirth, and selling a house. It's much easier to gracefully walk out these changes with a guide—one who has been there before. For a wedding, you have the pastor. For childbirth, the doctor. Selling your house? Find a good realtor!  But where do you turn for implementing enterprise software? 

Read More

Barry Kroeker

How to Set a SMART Goal

When my youngest brother was in high school, he set a significant goal for himself—he was going to dunk a basketball. But there were some up-front problems with this goal. For starters, he was the shortest kid in our family, topping off at 5'8". Plus he had never played scholastic team sports. But Greg was determined. We had an adjustable-height basketball goal, and Greg would go out and practice. But it wasn't until years later in the college gymnasium that he finally dunked one. To my knowledge there were no witnesses, and I'm not sure if the feat was ever repeated. In fact, I never heard another word about basketball from him after that. But he did achieve his goal. Speaking of goals, what goals have you set? Are they SMART?

Read More

Steve Heinz

Energy Managers–Time to Grow Up!

Energy managers: you may not be as mature as you think you are. No, I’m not talking about fighting on the playground, or slipping a grasshopper into Marie’s lunchbox. I’m referring to the current state of your energy information systems. No, not your building control systems–although those can be very important. How mature are you when it comes to handling your energy data?

Read More

Barry Kroeker

Survey Results: 2015 Energy Management Trends

We recently surveyed a number of our energy management contacts, primarily in the commercial sector, to find out what they were expecting regarding energy management trends in 2015—everything from energy use/cost to salaries. We’re recapping the results of that survey today. Survey participants had an average of 10 years of experience in their current job position, so we believe they are well-positioned to provide an informed perspective.

Read More

Barry Kroeker

Becoming Legacy vs. Leaving a Legacy

Recently, we sponsored an Energy Leader Webinar featuring Steve Heinz, AEE’s 2013 International Energy Engineer of the Year. Drawing on his 35+ years of experience in the energy management industry, Steve talked about how to leave an energy management legacy—rather than becoming legacy. Here's the difference between the two:

Read More

Barry Kroeker

How to Analyze a Utility Bill

Today’s blog is dedicated to those who find themselves doing energy management on a part-time or volunteer basis, perhaps because no one else would or could do it, but it still needed to be done. Your professional training may be limited and your experience may be slim, but you are still determined to be a good steward of your organization’s energy resources. THANK YOU for the effort you have put into what can often be a thankless task.

Read More

Barry Kroeker

Building an Energy Management Legacy

Do you like to build? I do. And it’s a good thing, because this weekend I’m moving into an old Victorian home. How old? The year of construction is 1891. Given the vintage of the home, I have every expectation that I’ll be building (or more accurately, rebuilding) for the next several years. But one of the reasons my wife and I chose this home is because it became obvious to us that the builders had been interested in leaving a legacy. What about you? If you’re a facility manager, you’re working hard every day to keep costs down and maximize your buildings’ operational efficiency—but will you leave an energy management legacy?

Read More

Barry Kroeker

How (and Why) to Verify Utility Billing Data

When it comes to utility bill management, the expression “garbage in, garbage out” is particularly true. If the raw data isn't correct, then the conclusions you draw from the faulty data will not be correct either. As discussed in our recent webinar, 10 Tactics of Successful Energy Managers, the typical utility bill workflow process is riddled with opportunities for errors. Today’s blog is about how (and why) to check your utility billing records for errors.

Read More

Barry Kroeker

Time Management: Working in the Upper Left Quadrant

As an energy management professional, there are so many “urgent” demands on your time. But President Dwight D. Eisenhower stated, "What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important." This is a valuable perspective for an energy management professional!  Eisenhower is credited with developing a simple tool that can be used to ensure that important tasks are getting our time and attention. It has been called the Eisenhower matrix. We will introduce the tool in today’s blog, and share a couple of examples illustrating how you can use it.

Read More

Chris Heinz

5 Common Problems Energy Managers Face

It’s an exciting time to be an energy manager! As more organizations buy into sustainability and energy stewardship as a core component of their business model, opportunities will continue to multiply. But regardless of the situation, there will be certain common challenges. Here are five common problems that energy managers will continue to face:

Read More

Barry Kroeker

7 Reasons You Should Use Utility Bill Tracking Software

They're not as glitzy as a shiny new solar array or as smart as a new smart meter, but monthly utility bills and the energy information they provide are the foundation for most successful energy management programs. If you're not using utility bills to track your energy use and cost, you're probably missing energy-saving opportunities. And if you're not tracking with energy management software, you may be missing more. Here are seven reasons why you should use utility bill tracking software.

Read More

Chris Heinz

Five Tips for Mastering Your Utility Bills

Utility bill processing can be a lot like competitive swimming. There's hard work and boring repetition and occasionally something exciting happens. At one of my first meets as a competitive swimmer, my coach entered me in the backstroke event. The gun went off and I began paddling on my back toward the other end of the pool. But no pool goes on forever and soon came the wall. The idea is to see the flags and begin counting your strokes and at the right time, turn over into a turn, push off the wall, and start another lap, all the while maintaining your speed. Usually it goes off without a hitch, but not this time.

Read More

Chris Heinz

Top 10 EASY Ways to Save Energy in Common Areas

Note: This is a guest post by Kate Forsyth of Minol USA, an EnergyCAP user. Preparing for another winter is not something we want to think about while basking in the early days of Autumn, but it pays to plan! The Farmer’s Almanac forecast was spot on last winter and it looks like a cold winter is in store for many of us in 2014. Preparing for colder temperatures is essential to avoid budget busting utility bills for your common areas such as hallways, gyms, lobbies, and business centers.

Read More

Barry Kroeker

For City & County Energy Management, One Size Doesn't Fit All

When it comes to energy management, city and county governments are like families. For one thing, there can be a lot of differences--and a one-size energy management solution will definitely not fit all! Some are large. San Bernardino County is the largest county in the United States by area, encompassing 20,105 square miles. It's larger than each of the nine smallest states; larger, in fact, than the four smallest states combined! And some are small. Kalawao County in Hawaii is less than 12 square miles. The town of Lost Springs, WY, has a total area of 0.09 square miles, and a population of four, which makes the Brady Bunch look like a metropolis.

Read More

Barry Kroeker

Benchmarking Your Buildings with CBECS—an Easy Way

If you care about building energy use, then you’ve probably figured out that a good way to get a handle on your energy efficiency efforts is to benchmark energy performance. But what do you compare with? And how do you get a big enough yardstick to measure? Thankfully, the U.S. Department of Energy has a partial answer in the CBECS database.

Read More

Barry Kroeker

4 Energy Manager Myths

For many people, the talents and skills required of energy managers are as shrouded in mystery as the Wizard of Oz. For today’s blog, let’s pull back the curtain to dispel four myths about energy managers. Myth #1: They’re Loners A recent survey of energy manager job descriptions revealed that today’s energy manager is far from isolated. Odds are that he/she is serving in a leadership capacity on one or more project teams.  Data suggests that nearly 90 percent of energy managers are involved in project management, and over half have significant team leadership responsibilities. Communication and relational skills are vitally important in their work, and are valued highly during the recruitment phase of the typical energy manager job search.

Read More

Barry Kroeker

How to Create an Energy Management Software RFP

In large organizations, the procurement process for energy management software can be challenging and disappointing. But it doesn't have to be. Putting together a quality Request for Proposal (RFP) can be a valuable team building exercise that sets your organization up for energy management success. Here’s how to create an energy management software RFP.

Read More

Chris Heinz

The Future of Energy Management Systems (and How They Impact You)

Note: This is a guest post by Colin Murray, a writer and editor who has covered the energy space for www.SaveOnEnergy.com since 2008. While energy management systems (EMS) have become more common in utility and certain large-scale business verticals, it's becoming clearer that the future of EMS is integration with a much wider range of businesses and facilities. For the purposes of this blog, EMS refers to a computer system designed specifically to enable automated control and monitoring of building control devices such as heating, ventilation and lighting installations. 

Read More

Barry Kroeker

Energy Manager Tip #2 for Achieving Buy-In

In Dale Carnegie’s best-seller, How to Win Friends and Influence People, he introduces a story told by William Lyon Phelps, professor of Literature at Yale: “When I was eight years old and was spending a weekend visiting my Aunt Libby Linsley at her home in Stratford on the Housatonic, a middle-aged man called one evening and after a polite skirmish with my aunt, he devoted his attention to me. At that time, I happened to be excited about boats, and the visitor discussed the subject in a way that seemed to me particularly interesting. After he left, I spoke of him with enthusiasm. What a man! My aunt informed me that he was a New York lawyer, that he cared nothing whatever about boats—that he took not the slightest interest in the subject. “But why then did he talk all the time about boats?

Read More

Barry Kroeker

7 Summer Savings Ideas for Higher Education Energy Managers

If you’re involved in a college community of any type, June is a month of transition. Most students have left on summer break. Faculty and staff are planning and executing well-deserved vacations. Others are finding a chance to catch their breath after a busy semester and to start preparations for the next. Whatever your situation, summer is presenting savings opportunities for the savvy energy manager. Here are just a few of the summer savings suggestions we discovered in a recent web search.

Read More

Chris Heinz

3 Time Savers for City and County Energy Managers

Glenda is a busy energy manager for an urban city government. Responsible for achieving energy savings for her city, Glenda is trying to make the utility bill tracking, processing, and payment process as efficient as possible. Plus, her city recently mandated ENERGY STAR building benchmarking. How will Glenda make time for these competing priorities? If only she had more time...

Read More

Barry Kroeker

Hidden Energy Hogs—What Dry Transformers are Costing You

Does your organization's portfolio include buildings larger than 15,000 square feet? If so, you may find some nasty things hiding behind closed doors that are sapping energy and dollars from your bottom line. The culprits are dry transformers—those ugly, humming electrical distribution units responsible for stepping down the voltage from your primary electrical power supply to the level needed for your 208/120-volt power outlets or 277-volt lighting. They're usually found in locked mechanical rooms or “Electrical” closets, where they may have been quietly doing an inefficient job for 10, 20, 30, 40 or even 50 years. Electricity lost during this process is dissipated as heat, which can further exacerbate energy use by increasing cooling demand in air-conditioned facilities.

Read More
subscribe to our blog