Many communities have or are considering policies and programs to address climate change. They understand that buildings represent a critical element of these policies, since buildings comprise more than 40 percent of energy use and account for more than 38 percent of U.S. carbon emissions. Improving municipal building performance represents a unique opportunity to lead the community by demonstrating exemplary performance in the public building portfolio.

Leading by example involves a strategic approach to energy efficiency in public building portfolios. Decision-makers have a strong business case for investing in continuous energy management. Their actions can increase facility asset value, reduce operating costs, demonstrate sound fiscal management, and create local jobs while increasing comfort, productivity, and satisfaction for building occupants. Through better energy management in their own portfolio, public owners can manage potential risks of rising energy costs and the impacts of climate change.

This Community Strategic Energy Management (SEM) Implementation Guide outlines a process to help staff engage stakeholders, set tangible goals, target opportunities, and develop a plan to achieve deep and ongoing energy reductions in public building portfolios. Community SEM coordinates activities across departments and establishes clear financial objectives and communication protocols. This framework is applicable to any city, county, regional government, state agency, or school district interested in saving on operating costs, reducing emissions, and leading by example in their community.