Photo Credit: Green Business Guide

A Brief Guide to Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency consists of any physical, operational, behavioral, or maintenance modification to a building that reduces its energy consumption and costs. Energy efficiency can be a tremendous financial opportunity for organizations. Consider the following:

  • Commercial and residential buildings consume 35 to 40% of energy worldwide. (Navigant)
  • The average facility wastes 30% of the energy it consumes. (US DOE)
  • American businesses can save $169 billion in energy by 2030 through identifying and installing energy conservation measures. (ASE)

Typical Energy Conservation Measures [ECMs]

Facility owners and managers can realize energy and cost savings throughout a facility. While specific payback and NPV for any ECM depends on the unique aspects of each facility, some ECMs are typically better investments than others. Below is a chart of common ECMs and financial ROI.

ECM Examples ROI
Lighting LED, CFL, electronic ballasts Excellent
Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) Pumps, fans, air handlers, other electric motors Excellent
Demand Response Daylighting, set point modification, load shifting Excellent
Heating & Cooling Boiler, chiller, & rooftop upgrades; CHP systems Good
Building Management Systems (BMS) Sensors & controls, software, automation Good
Envelope Air sealing, insulation, EIFS, green roof Good
Plug Load Behavior modification, Smart Plugs Fair


The above list is not all-encompassing, but represents ECMs that are typically smart investments across a wide variety of building types and locations. Other ECMs may be available depending on the facility. Renewable energy such as solar and wind are not included because they are not ECMs; however, Third Partners uses a similar process to manage renewable energy projects.

Download our White Paper now to learn more about how Third Partners helps create high-performance facilities, along with key financial considerations for energy efficiency including how you can upgrade your facilities at no up front cost.

Free Download of Energy Efficiency 101