Author Archives: wdwalrus

Jim Volkman, Principal, Nominated for the 2016 Leadership in Energy Efficiency Awards


Jim Volkman is a professional engineer who has spent his career in Energy Efficiency.

He began his career in 1989 conducting energy audits and analysis with North American Energy Services. In 1998 he was responsible for identification, development and implementation of resource conservation plans with Chevron Energy Services and PG&E Energy Services. In 2001, he led the technical team supporting the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance’s Building Operations market transformation strategy, providing technical hands-on training to service providers and specific facility staff in the basics of “tuning” commercial buildings and tracking building performance. Served as a senior member of a program development team that assisted the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance with the implementation of a five-year market transformation initiative targeting industrial firms throughout the Pacific Northwest.

In addition, he participated in the development of the Building Operations Market strategy through development and implementation of Building Performance Service. Jim led the Alliance’s delivery of the Test in the Portland Metropolitan area working with O&M and mechanical service providers to develop, refine, and deliver these types of services to the market. Jim provided sales and planning support, quality assurance overview, and mentoring of technical services.

In 2006 Jim was responsible for refining the regression modeling process for industrial clients which resulted in utilities having a regression model that would document savings and manufacturing now have a management tool that measures O&M savings. While the industrial market had an appetite for adopting a Continuous Energy Improvement process Jim focused his efforts on customizing the Industrial CEI process to better fit the commercial market. His collaborative effort with utilities and building operators is responsible for the current Strategic Energy Management program design we see in the market today. Jim has played a critical role in the program we see today in North America. He has had his fingerprint on each innovation. He continues to play an integral part of refining the MT&R process that is accepted during the M&V process. Jim understands the energy efficiency process from the utility perspective and has been an innovator to provide business solutions to address both the needs of the utility and end user.

Driving Culture Change for Efficient Energy Management

Strategic-GearsAt Strategic Energy Group, our goal in everything we do is to help utilities and businesses achieve persistent energy savings. Over the past decade, we have implemented customized Strategic Energy Management (SEM) solutions for hundreds of companies across more than 1,000 sites and commercial and industrial sectors. Through our experiences, we’ve learned what works and what doesn’t. This insight has shaped our core philosophy: sustainable energy management requires change in an organization’s culture.

Energy efficiency is about more than just turning off light switches or shutting down computers at the end of the night. In order for an organization to be truly sustainable, energy savings need to be incorporated into a business’ operational strategy, leadership, and, as a result, their culture. That’s why we combine engineering, operations and change management expertise into a program that drives comprehensive energy improvement. Our program’s holistic nature makes it different from any other SEM program offered today.

Without a culture change, it’s very difficult for a business to successfully implement, manage, and maintain a sustainable energy practice. Before implementing improvement initiatives, businesses should prepare for change by first understanding the impact culture has on success. Then, they must identify how those cultural strengths can be used to overcome cultural resistance and integrate them into the improvement strategy. Remember, sustained improvement is a journey, not a short-term project with immediate gratification. Take the time to build an improvement plan that starts with evaluating how the site’s culture can be used to gain momentum and sustained improvement.

Our expertise is designing improvement processes that build a foundation of cultural strengths while reinforcing a sense of urgency. We work side-by-side with our clients in understanding how to capitalize on their strengths. The benefits of our program are clear: utilities experience persistent energy savings, verifiable resource acquisition benefits and improved customer relationships, while end users are equipped with the training required to achieve a long-term improved energy strategy. After completing our program, customers have achieved — and maintained — an annual average of 8% improved energy intensity.

Rather than offer canned solutions, we provide answers that treat the root cause of your energy hurdles and engage your employees in the solution process. As a result, our solutions are effective in every business sector. Contact Strategic Energy Group today to discuss how we can customize our SEM program to fit your unique business goals.

Increasing Energy Efficiency Capital Project Savings Through a Manager Training Program

Improving GraphAt Strategic Energy Group, we help utilities and businesses achieve persistent energy savings and a strong competitive advantage. Through our Strategic Energy Management (SEM) program, we drive change at every level of an organization using our groundbreaking continuous improvement methodology.

As a key player in establishing the field, we remain at the helm of SEM innovation through flagship programs for a number of utilities, including BC Hydro, which provides clean power to British Columbia residents. Since 2006, we have been working with BC Hydro to design and implement a strategic energy management framework into their PowerSmart Partner (PSP) Program. Incorporating CEI methodology, we assisted BC Hydro with the design of the Energy Manager Program, which is now the cornerstone of the PSP Program.

Our current role in this project is improving management practices, strategic energy planning, and navigating operational change for large industrial and commercial entities participating in the PSP Energy Manager Program. So far, the program has trained more than 80 energy managers who, in return, help BC Hydro’s clients use energy more efficiently. Energy efficiency involves more than turning off lights. True efficiency is incorporating energy management into every aspect of an organization’s operations. The original performance goal was to increase energy efficiency capital project savings by 20%. However, over course of three years, results show that customers participating in the program contribute an average of 58% more electrical energy savings from capital projects than similar customers that do not participate in the program.

Utilities like BC Hydro have the power to make a major impact on homes’ energy use. Through a strategic energy management program, they can accomplish this while also saving money and having more energy allocation options. SEG prides itself in providing end-users with the training needed to make efficient energy use a sustainable reality. Contact us today to discuss how SEG’s experts can help establish an energy training program for you and your end-users.