UMP Provides Evaluation Ground Rules: NEEP Interviews DOE’s Michael Li

"Safe!" The Uniform Methods Protocol Report rounds the bases. "Safe!" The Uniform Methods Protocol Project rounds the bases.
NEEP caught up with Michael Li of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and asked him a few questions about the recently released Energy Efficiency Savings Protocols, part of the Uniform Methods Project or UMP. The voluntary protocols draw from best practices used across the country and are the first national protocols to provide detailed guidance on evaluation, measurement, and verification (EM&V) for many hard-hitting energy efficiency program measures and types. Developed by DOE and the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) with Li leading the effort, the protocols help provide ground rules for program evaluation and allows for direct comparison and improved credibility of energy efficiency, much like an umpire provides in the game of baseball. Here’s what Li offered in response to our questions about this important new resource:  NEEP: Why did DOE pursue the Uniform Methods Project?                                                     Li: DOE believes that bringing more uniformity to M&V has the potential to catalyze greater investment in energy efficiency.  Credible savings estimates will lead to broader support for increasing investments in energy efficiency.  NEEP: Who are the key audiences for the protocols and how might these audiences use them? Li: The key audiences for UMP are regulators, program administrators, and evaluators.  Any of these three parties can use the protocols and help build the foundation for more consistent approaches to M&V.  NEEP: Can the protocols be applied to both EE projects in buildings and EE programs?  Li: The protocols can be applied in a wide array of settings.  Some protocols address specific measures, other address entire buildings.  In either case, the protocols form a basis for program impact evaluation.  NEEP: How do the protocols relate to or align with the SEE Action Model Impact Evaluation Guide? Li: The two documents are intended to be complimentary to each other.  The UMP protocols are specific and detailed, the Model Impact Evaluation Guide is more of a primer to the field of energy efficiency impact evaluation.  NEEP: Does US DOE plan to address additional measures or other EM&V related topics?  Li: DOE is currently underway with Phase 2 of the UMP protocols where protocols for additional measures will be developed.  Over time DOE will continue to develop additional protocols and address new evaluation topics. More than ever, states now look to energy efficiency to meet their energy and environmental goals. NEEP’s work through the Regional EM&V Forum to build consistent reporting (check out our blog post on REED) throughout the northeast and mid-Atlantic region and the protocols go hand in hand. The UMP protocols represent an important step towards improving consistency and transparency of reported energy efficiency savings, two key elements to building the credibility of efficiency as a resource in this country. The UMP protocols provide a voluntary set of ground rules for program evaluation in the exiting and growing ‘field’ of energy efficiency. Batter Up!

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