The Department of Energy has just published a new series of protocols for calculating the savings from energy efficiency upgrades in homes, commercial buildings, and industrial facilities.  Although voluntary, the new protocols, issued on May 15, are designed to create a common approach for calculating energy savings based on common residential and commercial efficiency measures used in utility-based energy efficiency programs.

As it stands now, there are a multitude of differences in the methods by which public utility commissions, contractors, energy efficiency program administrators, and utilities in different jurisdictions and regions determine the savings from energy efficiency upgrades.  Without a centralized method for establishing these figures, the differences reduce the confidence that consumers have in efficiency savings and data.

The new protocols, titled Methods for Determining Energy Efficiency Savings for Specific Measures, were developed in close collaboration with the nation’s leading technical experts under the Uniform Methods Project, which were the first set of protocols for determining energy savings from energy efficiency programs and measures.  The Department of Energy designed the protocols to increase confidence in reported energy savings from energy efficiency programs and to spur further investment based on more reliable data.

The protocols are an entirely voluntary set of standards that do not provide stipulated values or specific criteria either for establishing statistical confidence or the accuracy of savings figures.  Instead, the protocols are meant to be a structure by which states, especially those with new energy efficiency programs, can apply uniform standards for establishing the said criteria.  Because the methods in the protocol were developed by industry and technical experts, the DoE hopes that energy efficiency program administrators can adopt them knowing that they are consistent with commonly accepted practices for measure savings from energy efficiency programs.