New guide helps frame evaluation of utility efficiency programs

February 5, 2018

A new report by Berkeley Lab for the State and Local Energy Efficiency (SEE) Action Network describes how to create and update frameworks for conducting evaluation, measurement, and verification (EM&V) of energy efficiency programs funded by utility customers.

The report, Guide for States: Evaluation, Measurement, and Verification Frameworks-Guidance for Energy Efficiency Portfolios Funded by Utility Customers, describes the two primary purposes for EM&V frameworks: 1) to support consistent, documented and comparable EM&V within a jurisdiction and 2) to provide all stakeholders with an understanding of how EM&V is conducted within the jurisdiction, supporting confidence in results. The report also discusses processes for developing frameworks, emphasizes collaborative efforts, describes example frameworks, and provides background on EM&V concepts and methods.

Frameworks answer the why, what, and who questions that form the basis for determining the appropriate EM&V infrastructure for an efficiency portfolio in a jurisdiction. Frameworks also provide high-level guidance and descriptions of how and when EM&V will be conducted-including any impact, process, market and cost-effectiveness evaluations.

An EM&V framework covers such topics as:

  • Principles and objectives
  • Scope of evaluation
  • Impact evaluation approaches
  • Budgets and schedules
  • Reporting requirements
  • Roles and responsibilities of various entities involved in EM&V  

Another recent report by Berkeley Lab for the SEE Action Network, Guide for States on Technical Reference Manuals, provides guidance on estimating the energy and demand savings of end-use energy efficiency measures. Technical Reference Manuals also may include information on non-energy impacts and factors that are used to calculate measure cost-effectiveness.

Technical Reference Manuals are used extensively in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of efficiency programs funded by utility customers. High-quality manuals with consistent savings values and methods can increase confidence in the quantification of impacts associated with efficiency actions and support increased implementation of cost-effective efficiency actions.

The report provides an overview of Technical Reference Manuals, describes manuals in use throughout the United States, and provides recommendations for best practices based on industry experience. Information and recommendations in the report can be used to help improve the quality of existing manuals as they are updated, and new ones as they are developed.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy funded the reports. Steve Schiller and Tom Eckman are the authors of the EM&V frameworks report. Steve Schiller, Greg Leventis, Tom Eckman and Sean Murphy are the authors of the Technical Reference Manuals guide. 

The State and Local Energy Efficiency Action Network (SEE Action) is a state- and local-led effort facilitated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that builds on the foundation of the National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency. SEE Action is composed of more than 200 leaders from state and local governments, associations, businesses, non-government organizations, and their partners working to take energy efficiency to scale. SEE Action offers knowledge resources and technical assistance to state and local decision makers as they seek to advance energy efficiency policies and programs in their jurisdictions.