News > Revolutionize Retro-Commissioning: Enhancing Collaboration and Improving Persistence

2 workers planning

Energy Sensei

Revolutionize Retro-Commissioning: Enhancing Collaboration and Improving Persistence

March 17, 2023

The Limits of the Spreadsheet

Here at Cascade, we’ve learned a few things from leading hundreds of retro-commissioning engagements. Often the biggest barriers to success are not technical in nature; they are rooted in poor communication and collaboration. Overcoming these barriers requires the right tools to support communication across all stakeholders. Yet, across our energy management profession we see far too much undervalued data stuck in outdated Excel spreadsheets.  

Tracking and implementing energy management (EM) or retro-commissioning (RCx) programs requires ongoing communication, collaboration, investigation, implementation, and verification by a myriad of stakeholders. Energy consultants and program implementers who still rely on Excel spreadsheets are stuck with stale data, poor visibility, and unsecure file sharing. These limitations reduce customer satisfaction, energy savings, and savings persistence.  


Evaluating Your Needs

Let’s be clear: for many applications like energy savings calculations, Excel workbooks provide immense value. Excel, however, is not an ideal collaboration tool, and EM/RCx engagements are all about collaboration. Utility-sponsored RCx and EM engagements are dynamic. They unfold over time, and include the participant, the program implementer and the sponsor. Within each of these there are many individual stakeholders with differing objectives, including:  

  • The facility manager wants to identify, prioritize and implement energy efficiency projects to save money and reduce emissions. They want the program’s consultants and service providers to assist along the way. 
  • The consultant wants to maximize savings and not go overbudget.  
  • The utility program sponsor wants a happy customer and persistent savings. They want regular forecasts to help balance their broader portfolio. 
  • The program evaluator wants complete datasets supporting defensible savings claims. 
  • The corporate sustainability team wants updates on results for their ESG reporting. 
  • The equipment operator is prioritizing energy projects for the month.  
  • The vendor wants to install efficiency upgrades and get paid. 

Essentially these stakeholders all want to answer two key questions: 

  1. Which energy projects have we completed, which are stuck, and which should we do next? 
  2. What results have we achieved, are the results persisting, and what potential remains? 


Finding the Right Fit 

Numerous commercially available solutions exist to answer one of these key questions, but fewer energy management platforms can answer both. For example, some task management software can be used to track retro-commissioning opportunities. Additionally, some EMIS platforms are capable of measuring results. 

Below are key features and characteristics to consider when evaluating RCx/EM portfolio management solutions, as well as the benefits provided compared to Excel-based spreadsheets:


Excel spreadsheets continue to be used in RCx and EM programs due to two myths: client facilities already have a solution to manage energy projects and track results, and utility sponsors don’t want to mandate a specific software solution for program participants. However, in a survey of large industrial facilities, only 10% of energy managers strongly agreed that their energy team meetings ended with clear actions or next steps. Furthermore, only 30% agreed that their existing solutions made it easy to fulfil their energy management responsibilities around project tracking and updates.

Cascade Energy understands these challenges. We’ve developed Energy Sensei, a software solution specifically designed for consultants, participants, and utility sponsors to implement successful and highly collaborative RCx/EM programs. Contact us for a demo today: Energy Sensei – Contact Us

Share this post: