Problem 3: Energy Management requires management skills

This is the fourth in a series of five posts.

In this series of posts, we’re discussing four people problems with energy:   (1) energy is mysterious; (2) dollar costs are not big enough for many CFO’s to focus on and costs are invisible to almost everybody else; (3) energy management requires basic management skill; and (4) it takes effort to harvest good stories that we need to build will and enthusiasm to get more people on board.

In this post, we’ll focus on problem 3–improved use of energy requires management skills.

Not advanced skills.   We mean basic skills that are identical to those that drive continuous improvement in other areas of your organization.   The approach we use in our work is called the Model for Improvement, discussed in this previous post.

To recap, here’s a picture of the Model for Improvement that shows three core questions connected to a test cycle:








The Model for Improvement is a way to get things done–even ball-park answers to the three questions can help.  Then put together a basic plan (what, who, by when), carry out the plan, study what happened compared to what you expected, and then act based on what you learned.

Energy Stewards helps put the Model for Improvement in motion.

1. You can record a project aim for each building by clicking on the Project Notes link on the building’s home page:

2. Our measures of performance are energy use and costs (in dollars and CO2)–these are the bottom line measures you will track to know if your energy performance is improving.


3. Ideas to improve energy use are organized in the Action Table.

4. Plan:   Use the Action Table, outline a special section for management actions.

5. Do:  Our web platform can’t do the work, you organize your team to get things done in the real world.

6. Study:   review Energy Stewards weekly or monthly to update the Action Table, review the energy data, connect to notes.

7.  Act:  decide how to spread tested changes to other buildings, if there is evidence that the changes are effective.  Look for other change ideas that you can put to work to improve performance.

Connection to ENERGY STAR  Energy Stewards puts the ENERGY STAR management cycle, a version of PDSA, into practice (our colleague Dick Pearson added the accountability loop to the flow chart that appears on the ENERGY STAR website).

Next Post In the next post, we’ll summarize how Energy Stewards can make it easy to document stories to build will and inspire more effective energy conservation across your organization.

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