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Thought Leadership from Sieben Energy Associates

Why Should My Organization Hire an Energy Manager?

Looking-Up-at-Office-Buildings
Organizations of all types—businesses, K-12 schools, healthcare, higher education, government, and light and heavy industry—are increasingly turning to an energy specialist to help them navigate diverse energy issues. Such specialized knowledge can be gained through an internal hire. But more and more organizations are choosing to engage an external consultant who focuses exclusively on energy matters to serve as their energy manager.

From the customer's perspective, energy has become a commodity that can be actively managed on both sides of the meter. Electricity and natural gas customers in many states have more say over how they use it (demand side of the meter) and how they source and buy it (supply side of the meter). The ability to exercise greater control over energy consumption is especially true for commercial and industrial customers that use large amounts of energy.​
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What Effect Will President Trump's Paris Climate Accord Decision Have on America?

Paris-at-Night

President Trump's decision to exit the Paris Agreement (aka, Paris climate accord) is disappointing to many, but not unexpected. Companies, individuals, and organizations of all kinds have decried the decision as a major step backwards in the face of the very real threat of climate change. And rightly so.

But how much material effect will the president's decision have on a country that has built significant momentum towards curbing greenhouse gas emissions? I don't think the country's retreat from common sense policy will cause anywhere near the amount of harm to our carbon footprint that some people fear. The Paris Agreement demonstrates the cooperation of over 200 countries to safeguard the planet for future generations, but a piece of paper alone does not dictate all activity on the matter.

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Five Keys to a Robust Energy Strategy

Lightbulbs
Too many organizations of all sizes view energy as a cost to be managed rather than an opportunity to be leveraged. The most successful organizations often have an advanced strategic approach to energy. In the January–February 2017 issue of Harvard Business Review, three authors reveal the five key steps for building a robust energy strategy in their paper "Energy Strategy for the C-Suite."

How do organizations create a competitive advantage? They can either keep costs low (ensuring greater profitability relative to their peers) or differentiate their business (introducing new products, services, or value-added features).
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Snowpack in the Sierra Nevada and Energy Efficiency

Snowpack in the Sierra Nevada and Energy Efficiency

In a March 22nd article in The New York Times, three science writers—Mike McPhate, Derek Watkins, and Jim Wilson—described how this winter's accumulated snowpack in California's Sierra Nevada mountain range may prove to be an antidote to the state's drought crisis.

High-tech airborne mapping and other specialized instruments, they wrote, have provided scientists with an unprecedented understanding of the amount of water present in the snow, and the rate at which the snow is expected to melt.

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The Best (and Worst) Retro-Commissioning Practices

The Best (and Worst) Retro-Commissioning Practices

On the afternoon of February 15, I led a presentation in front of 40 members of the Building Owners and Managers Association of Chicago (BOMA Chicago) about best (and worst) practices relative to successful retro-commissioning projects. First, I set the context for retro-commissioning, including its historical origins and relationship to the commissioning of new buildings. Next, I explained why BOMA Chicago members should care about the ComEd retro-commissioning incentive program.

For almost ten years, all member buildings have been paying into the funding pool for the utility's energy efficiency programs. Participating in retro-commissioning represents an opportunity to get back some of that money. Retro-commissioning also plays an important role in supporting credits for LEED Building Operations and Maintenance (LEED O+M) certification or re-certification.

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