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Thought Leadership from Sieben Energy Associates

Five Keys to a Robust Energy Strategy

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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ComEd’s Efficiency Incentive Program Offers New Benefits to Electric Customers

ComEd’s Efficiency Incentive Program Offers New Benefits to Electric Customers

June saw the launch of the ninth year of ComEd's Smart Ideas for Your Business program of energy efficiency incentives for commercial and industrial customers. (ComEd is the electric utility that serves northern Illinois, including Chicago and its suburbs.) The utility's retro-commissioning program generated significant energy savings in the immediately preceding program year ending May 31, 2016. A total of 130 business customers of ComEd received more than $2.8 million in retro-commissioning service incentives over 12 months, yielding 260,000 megawatt-hours of energy reduction.

And the new program year underway in June is already bringing the benefits of the retro-commissioning incentive program to a host of new customers. For the current year, ComEd's goals include targeting energy savings of more than 280,000 megawatt-hours and distributing more than $3.44 million in service incentives. Service incentives are now available for ComEd customers whose buildings have as little as 100kW peak demand, with incentives of $10,000 to $100,000 available here.

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First Public Data from Chicago’s Energy Ordinance Show Both Strong and Weak Performers

First Public Data from Chicago’s Energy Ordinance Show Both Strong and Weak Performers

By June 1, owners or managers of essentially all buildings in Chicago larger than 50,000 square feet were required to submit their 2015 energy usage data to the City. This is the third year that some have had to report their data; for others, it is their first year of compliance. Back in September 2013, Chicago joined a handful of other U.S. cities when it became the latest to adopt a building energy benchmarking ordinance. Through the impact of the ordinance, the City of Chicago hopes "to raise awareness of energy performance through information and transparency, with the goal of unlocking energy and cost savings opportunities."

In December 2015, the City of Chicago made public the 2014 energy usage data and ENERGY STAR scores (for those buildings that can receive scores) for commercial and institutional buildings larger than 250,000 square feet. The spreadsheet, presenting data for 243 buildings (predominantly offices, hospitals, K-12 schools, and colleges/universities), can be downloaded from the City's Data Portal.

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Efficiency By The Numbers

​Energy data is collected and analyzed as never before. Nearly every industry has been revolutionized by the continuous processing of numbers at unprecedented speed and scale. Purposeful data analysis elicits new perspectives on how value is assigned to products and services. Data collection and handling is important, yet we find that the value is in the interpretation as well as the response. 

While there are costs associated with data management, if leveraged appropriately the advantages will produce significant ROI. The more accurate and in-depth the data analysis, the more value is derived from it. The same is true of data use: the more an organization uses data to inform day-to-day operations and to develop long-term goals, the greater the return.

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Recognition for Long History of Energy Efficiency Leadership

Energy efficiency has always been central to the business of Sieben Energy Associates. In a newly published report for Environment Illinois, entitled "Saving Energy, Growing Jobs", Rob Kerth and Max Muller discuss the energy efficiency sector in Illinois. They conclude that "330 individual businesses and 737 retail outlets in Illinois are already working to increase the efficiency of our state's homes, businesses and industry."

Sieben Energy Associates is one of those 330 businesses, and it is featured in a lengthy case study on pages 12-13 of the report, under the headline, "Twenty Years of Energy Efficiency Leadership: Sieben Energy Associates of Chicago". The piece focuses on the history and success of SEA as well as trends and opportunities for the industry. The entire report serves as an excellent introduction to the business case for energy efficiency.Copy this template before you save.

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