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Early adjustments to energy management plans: checklist

June 2015

  • Public sector organizations are one year into the 5-year Energy Conservation and Demand Management Plans they were required to prepare under Ontario Regulation 397/11.
  • Now is a good time for organizations to do internal assessments of their plans.
  • There are three areas to review: actions taken, performance of actions taken and an evaluation of the relevance of plan elements.

It has been a year since Ontario Regulation 397/11 required public sector agencies to prepare and publish an Energy Conservation and Demand Management Plan for their organization and facilities. The regulation calls for a 5-year plan comprised of a summary of the public agency’s annual energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as well as a description of previous, current and proposed measures for conserving and managing its energy, including a forecast of the expected results of these measures.

For some organizations, the July 1, 2014 deadline was just another milestone for a plan they had already been well prepared for. For others, it was the first time venturing into a comprehensive look at planning energy management activities over a longer term horizon. Some struggled to align all of the ideas, people and resources to meet the deadline. Some hired third parties to assist.

One year later is a good time to pause and do an internal assessment of the plan. You’re away from pressing deadlines and with four years remaining, it is a good time to do any early course corrections to make sure the plan is the most effective working document it can be.

There are three areas you can review at this time: 1) what’s been done, 2) how successful the measures have been, and 3) a re-evaluation of all elements of the plan for their continued relevance. The following is a simple checklist to use to help assess these three areas.

Actions taken

  • Have planned activities for the first year been done or are they progressing? If not, are there structural issues that need to be corrected for subsequent action?

Performance of actions taken

  • Is there performance data to validate planned savings for the measures done?
  • Are there measurement systems in place or that need to be implemented?

Evaluate relevance of plan elements

Management

  • How deeply are facilities benchmarked to help guide activity priorities: by fuel type, season, weekly and daily (if data available) profile comparisons?
  • Does the plan properly deal with controls and their optimization?
  • Is the list of energy conservation measures still relevant? Have priorities changed or are issues like maintenance, repair and expansion demanding a re-evaluation of the list?
  • Are the priorities still in the right balance between operational improvements, capital retrofits and behavioural changes for occupants?
  • Are there measures or activities that are not included that should be added?
  • Are you on a good path to achieving your year one target and your overall 5-year reduction target?
  • Is there sufficient detail in each measure to be confident of a successful implementation and outcome?
  • With four more years to go, there is an opportunity to take a longer term approach to making significant changes. Can more ambitious projects be considered, not just capital projects, but approaches in how the organization is aligned to engage all the resources (internal and external)?

Organization

  • If you have an energy management or green team, how effective is it? What can be improved?
  • Is there new senior management that needs to be engaged?
  • Are there sufficient resources to implement the actions required?
  • Could other peer organizations provide knowledge on similar projects you’re contemplating?
  • Are you falling behind significantly enough that you should consider other resources to help?
  • Are there continuous training programs in place to ensure savings persist over the timeframe?

Communications

  • If you have planned awareness activities, how informed are occupants and staff about their building? Are they aware of how well or poorly their building is performing?
  • Are the good news stories consistently finding their way to senior management, staff and occupants?
  • Are key energy staff getting the feedback they need to be most effective?

Your organization has had a year living with a 5-year plan. There are elements that can be changed, removed or added to make the plan more relevant as a tool to keep people engaged and targets achieved. Spending some time now to make small or even large changes will make the next 4 years easier, more successful and rewarding on the journey to reducing energy and water use.

Green Energy Act Conservation Plan, Ontario Regulation 397/11: A Rare Government Gift Read more »