Strategic energy management programs adapt to utility and customer needs
Strategic Energy Management (SEM) serves as a valuable program within a utility’s energy efficiency portfolio, allowing businesses and organizations to set energy performance goals, stimulate capital improvement projects, and generate energy and operational savings. However, energy management needs can vary greatly depending on a customer’s industry sector, building size, and specific facility needs. Additionally, utilities may be required to limit SEM program eligibility with high usage customers due to legislative restrictions. Due to these unique elements and potential restrictions, it is important for utilities to administer SEM programs that can adapt to evolving customer needs and changing legislative requirements. SEM programs that are tailored to meet these needs will deliver greater energy savings for utility portfolios and enhance customer engagement and satisfaction.
SEM principles and best practices can be adjusted for different customer sectors and energy usage levels to fit the specific needs of each utility portfolio. Additionally, SEM programs can also be designed to introduce energy management elements into a customer’s organization and help the utility screen potential candidates for broader SEM program participation – elements that lead to more cost-effective, long-term program investments on the part of the utility. To properly identify participants and tailor SEM offerings, utilities must understand the sector’s business needs and leverage customer-specific insights. With this information, SEM offerings can be customized in a way that meets the needs of customers in a specific territory and increases the likelihood of sustained success with energy management.
Several different customer market segments can benefit from tailored SEM solutions within a utility portfolio:
As the largest energy users, manufacturing facilities can generate substantial savings and operational efficiencies through an industrial SEM offering. These facilities often have very complex systems and unique energy needs that require a customized energy management approach. By focusing specifically on industrial energy management systems, process control systems, and energy management information systems (EMIS), utility programs can more fully integrate SEM into an industrial customer’s existing continuous improvement processes to uncover persistent energy savings and maximize employee engagement.
As 24/7 operations, healthcare facilities focus on reducing operational costs and maintaining a high level of patient care and comfort. With an increasing number of mergers and acquisitions within this industry, many healthcare systems must address a mix of equipment configurations and antiquated energy management systems, further complicating the process to analyze energy consumption and identify projects. In addition to aligning with larger capital improvement plans at the facility, a successful healthcare SEM program must focus on performing continuous energy monitoring, addressing the energy impacts of healthcare-specific equipment, and providing enhanced staff support to time-constrained facility managers.
- Mid-Sized Customers
Mid-sized customers and less intensive energy users can benefit from SEM principles and best practices as well. An introductory SEM offering focuses on minimizing the required staff resources while still providing the key benefits of an SEM program – including energy performance modeling, one-on-one coaching and support, and the identification of low and no-cost operational improvements. By reaching these mid-sized customers through a tailored SEM offering, utility portfolios can enhance engagement with this segment of customers and increase long-term participation in other energy efficiency programs.
When designing SEM offerings or incorporating energy management aspects into an energy efficiency portfolio, utilities need to build programs that can adapt to the broad range of industries and customer segments across their service territories. By doing so, customers will benefit from a better program experience and utilities will see increased customer satisfaction scores and persistent energy savings.
For more than 15 years, Leidos has specialized in designing and managing innovative and adaptable SEM programs for utilities across the country.