11 Energy Management Best Practices for Certified Energy Managers (CEMs) Feature Image

11 Energy Management Best Practices for Certified Energy Managers (CEMs)

As energy costs continue to rise and sustainability goals become more demanding, mastering energy management best practices isn’t just an option—it’s a necessity for Certified Energy Managers today.

Whether you’re overseeing a bustling commercial facility or a sprawling industrial complex, the strategies you implement can set the stage for significant cost savings and environmental stewardship.

Ready to uncover the transformative approaches that can streamline energy consumption, amplify efficiency, and elevate your organization’s energy profile?

Let’s dive into the definitive tactics that will redefine energy excellence in your facility.

1. Conduct Comprehensive Energy Audits Regularly

As a Certified Energy Manager (CEM), your role in directing energy management best practices is pivotal to your organization’s operational efficiency and sustainability. One of the cardinal rules in your playbook should be regular comprehensive energy audits. Think of it as a medical check-up for your facility’s energy health—a systematic review that gives you an X-ray vision into where and how energy is used and, perhaps more importantly, where it’s wasted.

Here’s how to execute an efficient energy audit:

  • First, gather historical data: Review past energy bills to establish baseline consumption patterns.
  • Second, conduct a walk-through inspection: Identify glaring energy inefficiencies, such as outdated lighting or poorly insulated windows.
  • Third, involve stakeholders: This includes everyone from maintenance to management—getting their input can reveal day-to-day practices that impact energy use.
  • Fourth, utilize sub-metering: For accurate insight, break down the energy consumption data into specific departments or equipment.

Regular audits lead to informed decisions, and they’re a cornerstone of effective energy conservation strategies. Stay vigilant, refine processes, and watch as your proactive measures translate into tangible energy and cost savings.

2. Utilize Advanced Metering Infrastructure

In today’s fast-paced arena of energy management, real-time data is gold. Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) arms you with just that, catapulting your energy optimization capabilities into the big leagues.

To tap into the power of AMI, focus on these steps:

  1. First, upgrade to smart meters if you haven’t already done so. These devices provide detailed energy usage data and are essential tools for modern CEMs.
  2. Next, integrate AMI with your Building Management System (BMS). This synergistic relationship between hardware and software translates raw data into actionable insight.
  3. Then, facilitate prompt responsiveness to energy trends. Set up alerts for unusual consumption patterns so that you can address issues before they balloon into expensive problems.

Utilizing AMI positions you as a proactive guardian of your facility’s energy profile, making it one of the most efficient energy management best practices for CEMs. With AMI, you’re not just responding to the present, but you are also predicting and shaping the future of energy consumption.

3. Energy management best practices: Implement Energy Efficiency Measures

Embrace energy efficiency measures—they’re the low-hanging fruit in the quest to curtail energy spend and enhance your facility’s green credentials. By executing wise upgrades and adopting energy-smart appliances, you initiate a wave of cost-effective and eco-friendly outcomes.

Consider these effective measures to boost your energy efficiency:

  • Swap out old for new: Upgrading to LED lighting or high-efficiency boilers can produce a dramatic decrease in energy use.
  • Seal the deal: Improving insulation and sealing leaks makes for a more controlled and energy-conserving environment.
  • Upgrade strategically: When existing equipment reaches the end of its life cycle, replace it with energy-efficient models that dovetail with your sustainability goals.

Actioning these steps not only supports the environment but also bolsters your bottom line. As a CEM, making a case for such changes is easier with the compelling evidence of cost savings that these energy efficiency upgrades tend to bring.

4. Engage in Benchmarking and Performance Tracking

How does your facility measure up against its peers? That’s where benchmarking and performance tracking come in. These are essentials for any CEM aiming to not just manage but also improve energy consumption profiles systematically.

For successful benchmarking, follow these steps:

  1. Collect data rigorously: Energy use, operational hours, and occupancy rates are key metrics.
  2. Choose relevant comparators: Compare against buildings of a similar size and function to get an accurate performance gap analysis.
  3. Set performance indicators: Define your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for a focused and quantitative approach to energy management.

Benchmarking breathes life into your energy strategies, offering a clear path to enhancing efficiency and a method to celebrate triumphs in energy stewardship. Deep-dive into benchmarking and let the numbers guide your energy future.

5. Energy management best practices: Integrate Renewable Energy Sources

Drawing from the renewable energy palette is not just a trend—it’s a responsible and forward-thinking practice for energy professionals. Harnessing solar, wind, or geothermal energy propels you towards a resilient, eco-friendly power supply strategy.

To effectively integrate renewable energy:

  • Assess site potential: Determine the feasibility of solar panels or wind turbines at your location.
  • Analyze the grid interaction: Understanding grid requirements and interconnection standards is crucial.
  • Evaluate financial incentives: Many regions offer rebates or tax incentives for renewable energy projects.
  • Consider energy storage: Battery storage solutions help manage the intermittent nature of renewable sources.

Expanding your energy mix to include renewables is one of the more proactive energy management best practices for CEMs. Incorporating such resources not only reduces your carbon footprint but can also lead to significant energy cost reductions over the long term.

6. Foster an Energy-Conscious Culture

Strategy and technology are vital in energy management, but without the human element, they fall short. By fostering an energy-conscious culture, you tap into the collective power of your organization’s personnel. Your efforts to promote energy awareness can be the difference between hitting and missing your sustainability targets.

To cultivate this culture:

  • Communicate actively: Regular dialogues and clear messaging about the importance of energy conservation can shift mindsets.
  • Create incentives: Consider reward programs for departments that achieve energy-saving goals.
  • Lead by example: As a CEM, model the behavior you wish to see in your team and your wider organization.

Cultivating this culture is not an overnight task—it requires persistence and empathy. However, the payoffs of a workforce aligned with your energy management objectives are well worth the investment.

7. Energy management best practices: Optimize HVAC Systems

Your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system can be a monstrous energy consumer, or it can serve as a beacon of energy efficiency, largely based on how well you manage it. HVAC optimization is less about grand overhauls and more about nuanced tweaks and consistent maintenance.

Hit these HVAC optimization notes:

  • Perform regular maintenance: Clean filters and serviced coils ensure systems run more efficiently.
  • Install programmable thermostats: They adjust temperatures based on occupancy and time of day, avoiding energy waste.
  • Retrofit where necessary: Modifying existing systems with newer, energy-efficient parts can yield significant energy savings.

By placing an emphasis on HVAC system optimization, you put a significant dent in your facility’s energy consumption, and in doing so, echo the adage that ‘prevention is better than cure’. Properly managed, your HVAC system doesn’t have to be a drain on your resources—it can be a pillar of your energy management best practices for CEMs.

8. Implement Demand Response Strategies

In the delicate dance of balancing energy supply and demand, demand response strategies are like a well-timed twirl—executed right, they save significant costs and keep the grid stable during peak demand periods. As you step into this arena, you become part of a larger effort to maintain the delicate equilibrium of the energy ecosystem.

Here’s how to ace demand response:

  • Get notified: Enroll in demand response programs offered by utilities to get alerts when energy demand peaks.
  • Automate reduction: Use energy management systems that automatically reduce consumption in response to signals from utility providers.
  • Empower employees: Educate your staff to be proactive in reducing their energy usage during peak times by turning off non-essential devices.

By intertwining your actions with demand response programs, you’re not just managing energy effectively—you’re also contributing to a more stable and sustainable energy grid. And let’s be real, there’s a certain satisfaction in knowing that you’re part of a solution that benefits everyone.

9. Energy management best practices: Advance with Energy Management Software

In the age of technology, you need more than just intuition and spreadsheets to lead the charge in energy management. Energy management software is your digital ally, turning complex data layers into a mosaic of opportunity for energy reduction and management.

Deploy these smart technologies:

  • Monitor constantly: Utilize software that provides real-time visibility into energy consumption patterns.
  • Analyze with AI: Adopt tools that use artificial intelligence to identify savings opportunities and predict future usage trends.
  • Simplify reporting: Choose platforms that make it easy to generate reports for stakeholders, demonstrating both energy savings and financial impact.

By leveraging advanced software solutions, you bring precision and foresight to your energy strategies. Software becomes the crystal ball you consult to refine your energy management best practices for CEM, leading to decision-making that’s as informed as it is impactful.

10. Focus on Preventive Maintenance

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” rings especially true when it comes to energy management. A robust preventive maintenance program ensures that all systems operate at peak efficiency, forestalling costly breakdowns and unplanned energy waste.

Map out a preventive route:

  • Create a schedule: Regularly inspect and service key equipment to prevent energy loss due to inefficiency.
  • Record findings: Document inspections to track the health of your systems and predict when replacements may be needed.
  • Train your team: Ensure that maintenance staff is properly trained on the latest energy-efficient technologies and best practices.

Regular preventive maintenance keeps energy usage in check and extends the lifespan of your equipment. It’s a foundational element of energy management best practices for CEMs, paying dividends in reliability, performance, and savings. Don’t wait for an energy crisis—prevent it.

11. Energy management best practices: Pursue Continuous Education and Training

In the dynamic field of energy management, standing still means falling behind. Continuous education and training arm you with the latest advancements in technology and methodology, empowering you to lead with the sharpest edge.

Commit to growth:

  • Engage in workshops: Attend industry conferences and workshops to stay abreast of emerging trends.
  • Seek certifications: Certifications not only validate your expertise but also keep your knowledge base expansive and updated.
  • Utilize online resources: Online courses and webinars can be a goldmine for information—often at no cost.

Investing in continuous professional development ensures that your skill set remains relevant and robust, enabling you to deliver on the evolving demands of energy management. Be on the front lines of innovation, and let your expertise shine across your organization.

Incorporate Cost-Benefit Analysis for Energy Projects

Sometimes, winning the hearts and minds of stakeholders requires the undeniable eloquence of numbers. That’s where a cost-benefit analysis for energy projects becomes your ace in the hole, showcasing the economic sense behind your energy-saving propositions.

Conduct a thorough analysis by:

  1. Detailing potential savings: Compare the projected energy savings against the current cost of operations.
  2. Estimating the project costs: Calculate the expenses associated with upgrades or new installations.
  3. Assessing non-financial benefits: Don’t forget to account for intangibles like comfort, safety, and environmental impact.

Your ability to deliver a compelling cost-benefit analysis convinces decision-makers that investing in energy efficiency isn’t just good for the planet, it’s also great for the ledger. Numbers don’t lie, and unlocking the story they tell is key to gaining the green light for your energy projects.

Energy management best practices: Explore Incentives and Regulations

Navigating the landscape of incentives and regulations can sometimes feel like exploring a foreign country—exciting but daunting. Nevertheless, a deep understanding of relevant policies and programs can uncover opportunities and competitive advantages.

Tap into this rich terrain by:

  • Keeping updated: Stay informed about local, state, and federal energy policies and initiatives.
  • Collaborating with utility providers: Utilities often provide incentives or rebates for energy-efficient projects. Partnering with them can ease financial burdens.
  • Complying strategically: Ensure that your energy management strategies exceed minimum regulatory requirements to position your organization as a sustainability leader.

Delving into the details of governmental incentives is more than regulatory hoop-jumping—it’s about fleshing out your playbook with financially savvy strategies that reflect a thorough grasp of the energy management field.


As a Certified Energy Manager, you are the conductor of the symphony that is your organization’s energy use—the maestro responsible for every note, every rest, every crescendo. Armed with these energy management best practices, you can turn the cacophony of unchecked consumption into a harmonious and sustainable melody.

The strategies we’ve explored are the sheet music for success. From conducting regular energy audits to embracing continuous education, these measures are the keystones upon which you can construct a robust, resilient, and responsible energy program.

Remember, your role extends beyond the confines of mere cost-cutting or compliance adherence. You are an argent crusader marching towards a future where success is not only measured by profit margins but also by planetary well-being.

In the end, the pursuit of energy management best practices for CEMs is a journey of transformation—one that reshapes not just facilities but mindsets, not just consumption patterns but also corporate legacies. Step forward with conviction, knowing that each best practice you implement is a step towards a more efficient, more sustainable, and enlightened world.