Energy management steps STEP 2: Assess Performance

Spread the Knowledge

In the previous article we discussed in detail the first step of the seven steps required to build energy management system in the industrial sector and in this article we will discuss the second step which is Assess plant energy Performance.

Just for reference you can check the previous article in this link if this is the first time you read about this subject ( ).

STEP 2: Assess Performance

Understanding current and past energy use is how many organizations identify opportunities to improve energy performance and gain financial benefits.

Assessing performance is the periodic process of evaluating energy use for all major facilities and functions in the organization and establishing a baseline for measuring future results of efficiency efforts.

Assessing your energy performance is very important as it will helps you to:

  1. Categorize current energy use by fuel type, operating division, facility, product line, etc.
  2. Identify high performing facilities for recognition and replicable practices.
  3. Prioritize poor performing facilities for immediate improvement.
  4. Understand the contribution of energy expenditures to operating costs.
  5. Develop a historical perspective and context for future actions and decisions.
  6. Establish reference points for measuring and rewarding good performance.

Key aspects for the assessment include the following:

1.1 Data Collection and Management

Gather and track data

The main target is to collect energy use information and document data over time. Evaluating energy performance requires good information on how, when, and where energy is being used. Collecting and tracking this information is necessary for establishing baselines and managing energy use.

For gathering and tracking data the below steps can be considered:

  1. Collect data

The data must be complete and accurate because it will be used for analysis and goal setting. Consider the following when collecting energy use data:

  1. Determine appropriate level of detail

The level and scope of data collection will vary from organization to organization. Some may choose to collect data from sub-meters on individual processes while others may only look at a utility bill.

  1. Account for all energy sources — Inventory all energy purchased and generated on-site (electricity, gas, steam, waste fuels) in physical units (kWh, mMBtu, Mcf, lbs of steam, etc.) and on a cost basis.
  1. Document all energy uses
  • For the sources identified above, assemble energy bills, meter readings, and other use data.
  • Energy data may reside in the accounting department, be held centrally or at each facility, or can be acquired by contacting the appropriate utilities or energy service providers.
  • Gather at least two years of monthly data or a more frequent interval if available. Use the most recent data available.
  1. Collect facility and operational data

To be able to normalize and benchmark, it may be necessary to collect non-energy related data for all facilities and operations, such as operating hours, etc.

  1. Establish Tracking System

A system for tracking performance can range from a simple spreadsheet to detailed databases and IT systems. In developing an appropriate tracking system for your organization, consider the following:

  • Scope

The design of your tracking system will be shaped, in large part, by the level and scope of information that will be tracked and the frequency of data collection.

  • Maintenance

Tracking systems must be easy to use, update, and maintain.

  • Reporting and communicating

Use tracking systems to communicate energy performance to other parts of the organization and motivate change. Consider developing formats that express energy performance information in ways that are easily understandable across the organization. A good tracking system should make such reporting easy!

1.2 Base-lining and benchmarking

Establish baselines

The target is to determine the starting point from which to measure progress. Measuring energy performance at a specific time establishes a baseline and provides the starting point for setting goals and evaluating future efforts and overall performance. Baselines should be established for all levels appropriate to your organization.

The main steps involve using the date you’ve collected to:

  1. Establish base year

Establish a base year or an average of several historical years. Use the most complete and relevant sets of data available. Depending on the type of facility, may want to normalize for weather or other factors that may affect the3 base line (catalyst lifetime, equipment integrity and other factors).

  1. Identify metrics

Select units of measurements that effectively and appropriately express energy performance for your facility. (e.g. Btu/square foot, Btu/ product, etc).

  1. Publish results

Announce performance baselines to facilities, managers, and other key stakeholders in your organization to increase their awareness and make them familiar with the selected energy performance indicator (EnPI) for the facility.


The target of this step is to compare the energy performance of your facilities to each other, peers and competitors, and over time to prioritize which facilities to focus on for improvements.

There is a lot of international benchmarking organization specialized in different industrial sectors like oil and gas, petrochemical, fertilizers and others.

The facility can contribute in the benchmarking assessment and evaluate their performance with other similar plants considering:

  1. Past performance — A comparison of current versus historical performance established by a baseline.
  2. Industry average — Based on an established performance metric, such as the recognized average performance of a peer group.
  3. Best in class — Benchmarking against the best in the industry and not the average.
  4. Best Practices — Usually qualitative comparison against certain, established practices considered to be the best in the


The key steps in benchmarking include:

  • Determine the level of benchmarking (for example — equipment, process line, facility or organizational).
  • Develop metrics.
  • Conduct comparisons.
  • Track performance over time.


1.3 Analysis and Evaluation


The main target is to understand your energy use patterns and trends. This can help to gain a better understanding of the factors that affect energy performance and identify steps for reducing energy consumption.

There are a variety of ways data can be analyzed depending upon the needs of the organization. The following analyses provide a starting point:


  1. Quantitative Reviews
    1. Develop use profiles — Identify energy consumption peaks and valleys, and determine how they relate to operations or key events.
    2. Compare performance — Compare the use and performance data of similar facilities in your industry.
    3. Assess the financial impacts — Identify areas of high-cost energy use.
    4. Identify data gaps — Determine areas where more information is needed.


  1. Qualitative Reviews
    • Conduct interviews — Seek informed opinions from colleagues, specific anecdotes and lessons learned, systems-specific information (e.g., HVAC, lighting, refrigeration), and in-house audits or surveys.
    • Review policies and procedures — Review organizational policies and operating procedures to determine their impact on energy use.


1.4 Technical assessments and audits

  • The main target is to evaluate the operating performance of facility systems and equipment to determine improvement potential.
  • Knowing your organization’s baseline energy use and the relative performance of your entire portfolio is only part of the information needed. Periodic assessment of the performance of equipment, processes, and systems will help you identify opportunities for improvement.
  • Energy audits are comprehensive reviews conducted by energy professionals and/or engineers that evaluate the actual performance of a facility’s systems and equipment against their designed performance level or against best available technology. The difference between these is the potential for energy savings.
  • The main steps for conducting technical assessments and audits are:
    1. Assemble expert team — Expertise should cover all energy-using systems, processes, and equipment. Include facility engineers, system specialists, and other support. Outside support may be helpful and provide an objective perspective or specific expertise.
    2. Plan and develop a strategy — Identify and prioritize systems for evaluation, assign team members to tasks, and schedule completion dates for the activities. Use benchmarking results to identify poor-performing facilities whose equipment and systems should be targeted for evaluation.
    3. Create final report — based on the audit results, produce a detailed summary of actual steps that can be taken to reduce energy use. The report should recommend actions from simple adjustments in operation to equipment replacement. Estimates of resource requirements for completing actions should be included.


Magdy Aly

Energy manager, Energy efficiency consultant Passionate to help others to save Energy and Environment.

You may also like...

5 Responses

  1. Hello there! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I really enjoy reading through your blog posts. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that go over the same subjects? Thanks a lot!|

    • Magdy Aly says:

      Dear Uang, thanks for your comments and sorry for my late reply. regarding your request I will make a new post containing extra resources you can check if you are interested in energy management subject.

  2. AlanCMazzini says:

    It is actually not my first time to visit see
    this website, i am visiting this website dailly and get good information from here daily.

  3. RisaXPartain says:

    Greetings! Very useful advice in this post! It’s the
    little changes that will make the most important changes.
    Thanks a great deal for sharing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *