When it comes to energy efficiency for commercial buildings, there are a host of companies offering solutions, but they aren’t all created equal. Finding the right partner to guide you in making the best energy efficiency decisions for your facility is an extremely important business decision. It impacts energy expenses and building efficiency for years to come, the health and comfort of your building tenants and your company’s reputation for sustainability. That’s why it’s important to work with a Certified Energy Manager (CEM®).
What is a CEM®?
It is an individual who is credentialed and certified to optimize the energy performance of a facility. The certification is earned from the leading trade association for energy-efficiency professionals—the American Association of Energy Engineers. The process is extremely rigorous, requiring years of experience and painstaking training.
The instruction covers all aspects of how buildings use energy, of codes and standards, and of complex mechanical, electrical and analytical systems, from HVAC to lighting to renewable energy.
But there’s much more to it than that.
“It’s all about combining the technical aspects with the economics of the project,” explains Matt Lima, CEM® Director of Energy and Utility Programs. “A huge part of the training is about the financial aspects of energy management.”
Whether you are a large company or a small business, working with a CEM® provides many benefits:
1. Understanding the time/value of money
As part of their planning, a CEM® will develop a strategy for energy management that considers operational savings and payback over the long run. A key piece of that is financing and understanding the time/value of money.
For example, without a CEM® on staff, an engineering firm or mechanical contractor might look at the lowest possible upfront costs for clients. In doing so, they could specify equipment that is affordable, but won’t provide the greatest savings year after year.
“I’m passionate about the intersection of engineering, finance and economics,” notes Lima. “You need to understand the financial aspects over 5, 10, 15, 20 years. Here’s something else that’s vitally important: there are many financing options and funding sources that people do not take advantage of because they aren’t working with a partner who knows how to tap them.”
2. Qualifying for incentive programs
Almost all utility and some government incentive programs are exclusive to pre-approved companies. To gain approval, a CEM® must often be on the team. Otherwise, clients can miss out on grants, tax credits and even low-interest loans to fund their energy efficiency projects.
3. Peace of mind
The Better Buildings® program from the U.S. Department of Energy is a national leadership initiative calling on CEOs, university presidents, and state and local officials to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings and plants. As part of its workforce initiative, the program has recognized that certain certifications have the best-performing professionals. The CEM® was the first certification acknowledged under this program.
Clients working with a CEM® can trust that they will perform to the highest level, making projects as financially and technically sound as possible.
4. Keeping up with industry standards
Continuing education is required to maintain a CEM®, ensuring that professionals are up to date on the ever-changing energy industry. What new technologies are available? What incentives are being introduced by federal, state and local governments? What building performance standards have been established that clients need to comply with? A CEM® will have the answers.
At Vanguard Building Solutions, we have three CEMs® and other experts on our engineering team. Tap our experts for a tailor-made energy solution that considers the economics, the financials and the technologies to improve the energy efficiency of your facility. Call us at 856-406-4880 or fill out our contact form.