• group of people in a presentation

SEM: Long-term engagement. Lasting savings.

Activating customers

Operations and maintenance savings today. Capital projects tomorrow. Engaged customers forever.

Energy management is a journey. Strategic energy management (SEM) motivates teams at industrial sites to achieve lasting energy savings.

We help organizations structure their energy teams, establish goals, get executive buy-in, and build an understanding of where and how energy is used. We also scope, evaluate, and complete projects—large and small—that produce measurable, sustained savings.

A strong pipeline of low-cost energy savings

Companies harvest immediate, cost-effective energy savings through operations and maintenance (O&M) opportunities while laying the foundation for continuous growth in savings.

This requires both persistence of existing savings and the addition of new, harder-to-achieve energy saving projects.

A sharp increase in longer lead-time capital projects from SEM participants makes SEM delivery even more cost effective.

Positive relationships with engaged customers

Participants who understand how energy impacts their businesses are more willing to engage with their utilities and get help to become more efficient.

Companies begin to see their utility as a partner in energy efficiency, and participation in other utility programs increases.

Additionally, many SEM programs we offer bring industrial facilities together in a cohort format, giving peers the opportunity to share and learn from each other. Friendships form, and a supportive community is born.

photo of SEM cohort participants

Elements of SEM

elements of strategic energy management


SEM is all about optimizing existing equipment and operations and understanding the resulting energy savings.


SEM is often delivered through a series of workshops attended by a small group, or cohort, of local industrial, agricultural, or commercial companies.


Energy Sensei helps energy teams measure savings, track project implementation, establish persistence strategies, report results, and export data.


SEM coaches provide organizational and technical support as participants establish SEM practices and implement energy-saving projects.


Low- and no-cost energy-saving actions are enacted first. Capital projects are identified, scoped, and planned for future implementation.

Our SEM Team

When companies sign up for SEM, a whole team of Cascade employees work hard to make them successful.

Our SEM coaches are expert facilitators and team builders, and our technicians and energy engineers are great communicators. SEM specialists work tirelessly to plan events, gather data, and make sure that every workshop is a success.

photo of Cascade Energy employees

Cascade SEM At a Glance

Where we work

18 SEM programs
16 states and provinces

Cohort Types

Mixed industrial

Refrigerated sites

Public agency water and wastewater

Small industrial


Multiple utilities

SEM Delivery to Date

69 cohorts

375+ workshops

500+ participants

5-10% average first-year savings per cohort

Corporate-direct SEM

15 enterprises

375 industrial sites

8-12% typical first-year energy savings

20-40% savings after five years with capital project implementation


Based on my experience evaluating strategic energy management programs, I know of only a handful of companies in the country that can deliver a strategic energy management program effectively, and Cascade is one of them.

As pioneers in this field, Cascade has unique, deep experience with SEM. At Energy Trust, we relied on them as a strategic development partner. As SEM implementers, they consistently offer strong technical expertise plus well-developed skills in training, coaching, and facilitation to drive change and energy savings from highly satisfied participants

Overall, the team’s data collection and documentation can serve as the industry standard for SEM programs.

*These quotes reference the SEM component of the Energy Smart Industrial program that Cascade Energy delivers on behalf of the Bonneville Power Administration.


Brian Crumrine

Brian Crumrine, one of Cascade’s veteran SEM coaches, is well suited to describe the elements of successful SEM.

Brian has worked on utility-sponsored SEM programs for nearly a dozen years, playing key roles in developing SEM curriculum for the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, Energy Trust of Oregon, Rocky Mountain Power, and the Bonneville Power Administration’s Energy Smart Industrial program, among others.

  • Leadership support
  • Savings achieved quickly through O&M fine-tuning early in the engagement
  • A dedicated energy team and executive sponsor
  • Engaged, accountable employees

Of all the tools we have developed to support cohort participants, SENSEI is the most crucial. One goal of SEM is to help participants connect actions to results—to see the impact of their efforts. That’s what SENSEI does. SENSEI is the hub for successful energy management.
Visit energysensei.com

SEM Library

Browse our SEM library for more in-depth resources, including:


Cascade is ready to help your industrial customers implement an SEM approach.