I was recently in the Philippines to speak at some conferences and set up student sponsorships. Although the purpose of my trip was not work-related, the subject of energy was on my mind. I suppose that’s not surprising when energy management software is the family business. Here are three lessons about energy from my trip to the Philippines.
In January of this year, the NCAA settled a lawsuit with Pennsylvania Senator Jake Corman, restoring 112 victories to the record books for the Penn State Nittany Lion football team, and restoring Joe Paterno’s place in history as the winningest college football coach. This was big news here in State College, Pennsylvania, home to the Penn State University Park campus and the Nittany Lions. How did Paterno achieve his phenomenal record (409-136-3, .749 pct.), and can we learn principles for a winning energy management program from his example?
For the fifth year in a row, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recognized EnergyCAP, Inc. with a 2015 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year award. This year it was the Sustained Excellence Award for our continued leadership in stewarding our environment through superior energy efficiency achievements. EnergyCAP, Inc.'s accomplishments were formally recognized yesterday in Washington, D.C. at a special ceremony for 128 award winners in a variety of categories. Blaine Clapper, our Assistant VP of Sales, was on hand to receive our award. EnergyCAP was honored for:
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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?
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?
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?
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.
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:
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.
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?
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?