Executive Director – EVO – Efficient Valuation
Energy efficiency is a widely unexploited source of energy savings and GHG reductions. Since the 1970s, we have seen waves of interest for energy efficiency projects followed by extended passivity periods. In the energy transition context, energy efficiency is once again on the radar screens to play a significant role in the decarbonization of our economies.
But to play a meaningful role, as anticipated by many, concerned authorities must have confidence that energy efficiencyprojects will deliver the expected energy savings and consequent carbon reduction. But savings resulting from energy efficiency projects are unique. They reflect the absence of energy use and cannot be directly measured like kilowatt-hours (kWh) generated from power production.
Savings must thus be credibly validated with recognized Measurement and Verification (M&V) techniques. The M&V process must follow a structured framework that allows repeatability and adequate validation of the energy savings.The world›s most reckoned M&V framework is the International Performance Measurement and Verification Protocol (IPMVP), first published in 1996. The strength of the IPMVP is its flexibility. It contains different M&V options that fit the needs of all types of EE projects in buildings and facilities.
In normal circumstances, measuring and verifying the performances of energy efficiency projects is a relatively simple operation and can be done at a relatively low M&V cost to savings ratio. But what to do when something unexpected happens, and the anticipated energy consumption patterns go awry?
When the COVID pandemic hit us, M&V efforts faced significant challenges due to shifts in energy use at facilities that are still impacting the accuracy of energy savings estimates. In the context of M&V, these unexpected changes in site-level energy consumption are called non- routine events (NREs), which, if significant, necessitate making non-routine adjustments (NRAs) to the energy savings calculation models.
The COVID Pandemic is an unexpected event that called for industry guidance. Efficiency Valuation Organization (EVO), the owner of the IPMVP, rapidly pulled together a task group to address the new M&V challenges and published a white paper on this topic in April 2021 to assist M&V practitioners in credibly reporting energy savings.
M&V is as much a science as it is an art. It cannot be automated or otherwise reduced to ticking predetermined boxes into a checklist. This is particularly true in the context of a Pandemic. Given the level of judgment inherent in making NRAs and the complexities introduced by COVID›s ongoing and changing impacts, the white paper provideddifferent approaches and methods to account for the effects of the pandemic.
COVID19- presents additional complexities not typically encountered when performing M&V. We observe ongoing complications because energy impacts from COVID continue to vary as the pandemic and economic recovery progress.Performing M&V under such circumstances is challenging but not impossible.
M&V bridges government policies, goals, and objectives in demonstrating the materiality of energy savings. It is a risk-management tool for all parties involved in an energy efficiency project and contributes to smoothing business transactions. M&V is essential to instill confidence, trust, and credibility that valuation of energy savings is possible.
The pandemic demonstrated how powerful adequate M&V approaches and methods could be in validating energy savings when almost everyone thought the task would be impossible. The recent updates of the IPMVP and related guidance documents created by EVO have been successfully used in many jurisdictions over the past year in an unexpected context.
Measured savings are the backbone of GHG emissions calculations and will support the implementation of energy transition policies and programs. Getting acquainted with the IPMVP should be on every decision maker›s reading list.
Denis Tanguay is the Executive Director of Efficiency Valuation Organization (EVO)
since June 2016. Denis started his career at the Bank of Canada in 1986. He later joined the Government of Canada, where he held different positions in the oil, natural gas, and electricity sectors. From 2000 to 2005, he was the CEO of the Quebec Energy Efficiency Association and CEO of the Canadian GeoExchange Coalition from 2005 to 2016.
He holds a master’s degree in Economics from Carleton University.
Executive Director – EVO – Efficient Valuation Organization