Visualizing Building Performance Data with the ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager Tool

portfolio manager training

In 2014, Advanced Energy began a relationship with Oglethorpe Power in Georgia. For our first project, we worked to train and educate Oglethorpe’s Energy Strike Force team on how to use the ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager tool for K-12 school buildings. Oglethorpe was interested in investing time to understand how the school buildings in its area were performing.

National surveys show that schools spend $250-300 per student on utilities each year — the majority of which goes to heating, cooling, ventilation and lighting. Some studies suggest that factors in the indoor environment, such as ventilation, temperature and lighting, can affect student success, attendance and employee retention. By illuminating performance through the tool, building managers can improve and reduce energy usage.

The ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is a free interactive resource management tool. It was developed so energy managers can have remote access to the energy performance of the buildings they manage, visualize trends and compare their buildings to others across the nation. It measures not only energy usage but also water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. It has over 100 metrics available for energy managers to use.

Oglethorpe and Advanced Energy conceptualized a training — named “The Success with ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager Training” — to help smooth out the technical barriers to using the tool so it can be better utilized for Georgia schools. Using the ADDIE model (analysis, design, development, implementation and evaluation), we identified key learning objectives, outlined a course schedule, developed activities and created materials to supplement the learning process.

portfolio manager energy star

The training provided an overview of the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool, with a focus on how to use and interpret the information it provides. Led by CC Maurer of Advanced Energy, the one-day training engaged member services representatives from electric co-ops across the state. It demonstrated the value of obtaining ENERGY STAR certification and how it can be used in a program. Additional training is provided on the process for obtaining the certification as well as on common problems and potential challenges to prepare for when going through the process.

“She [CC] was very credible, knowledgeable and likable. The group felt very comfortable with her and felt the class was very worthwhile. You guys did a great job.” — Michelle Z. Simmons, Director of Sustainability, Oglethorpe Power.

The training emphasized the ins and outs of using the tool through hands-on, step-by-step guidance. The participants were encouraged to bring data from their own school buildings to use as an example in the class. The results were clear. At the end of the day, every participant was capable of entering their building data into the tool, whether it was for 5 schools or 170. They could then visualize the performance of their buildings through energy data, providing the foundation for a more complex understanding.

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