Preparing for workshops, conferences, and public meetings has always been exciting for me; but when I was asked to help suggest topics and give input for a public meeting on a subject on which I had merely skimmed the surface, I asked myself the obvious question- “how could I possibly prepare myself to give a substantial contribution to this meeting?”
As I sat in on NEEP’s initial planning session for its 2018 Annual EM&V Public Meeting, one thing became obvious to me: - as a relatively new employee at NEEP, my fresh perspective could be of significant value. I would be able to start off by sharing my personal viewpoint of the individual EM&V trees and gradually steer my contributions towards a cohesive perspective of the broader EM&V forest with the hope that the latter would resonate with everyone in attendance.
To begin, I read every possible document on EM&V that I could put my hands on. I started off by getting myself a clear definition of EM&V. ACEEE defines M&V as the project-level analysis associated with the documentation of energy saving and verification of installation at individual sites. ACEEE also defines the broader term EM&V (evaluation, measurement and verification) with reference to program-level or portfolio level analyses, which include a broader approach to evaluation. These intertwined concepts can be summarized in the following image, taken from NEEP's The Changing EM&V Paradigm paper:
As I attempted to capture as much information on as many EM&V trees as I possibly could, it began to occur to me that the EM&V forest in and of itself represents the backbone of the bigger energy efficiency forest. The question that prompted this thought was “How could one be efficient if the level of efficiency is not being measured and verified?” My next thought was then a pretty logical follow-on, as I wondered why I had not heard much about EM&V over the last 10 years I spent working in energy conservation. At this point, I thought that one major objective of the annual public meeting should be to ensure that the audience receives the message that EM&V is an exciting and important topic that needs to recognized as relevant. Moreover, it should be probed for more information and input on how to evolve to meet the relevant needs of the future of the energy industry.
Don’t get me wrong, I have been speaking in the first person so I could give you a flavor of my personal journey as a newbie contributor to an EM&V event. However, NEEP’s EM&V Public Meeting planning team consisted of several other seasoned contributors to EM&V events. After some pondering, the chosen topics highlighted a mix of EM&V issues that receive on-going attention and those that represent synergies of interest for future focus. The former included topics like evolving TRMs (Technical Reference Manuals) and trends in avoided costs, while the latter included topics like non-energy impacts of energy efficiency, the opportunities and challenges of controls and smart devices, and the importance of EM&V to the success of energy efficiency as an important distributed energy resource.
I am happy to report that NEEP’s annual public meeting, from my point of view, was a huge success. The room of approximately 60 attendees was packed and everyone seemed excited and interactive throughout the event. The style of the agenda was two-pronged: some sessions were intended to be informational while others were designed to solicit discussions among members of the audience. What I particularly enjoyed was the thought-provoking and broad-ranging topic areas that came up during the audience discussions. Specifically, one person asked about the potential transformation of energy efficiency by block chain technology while another asked about EM&V methodologies for assessing compliance with residential and commercial building codes.
At the end of the event, I left satisfied. I thought that the audience not only received a cohesive perspective of some of the multiple trees that make up the EM&V forest, but I would also say that they were a part of an event that represented a “drumroll for the future of EM&V”.