Evaluation, measurement and verification (EM&V) is a set of practices and protocols to test the impact of energy efficiency measures, projects and programs. EM&V helps regulators ensure that energy efficiency program administrators are meeting their targets, ratepayer funds are being spent judiciously and that EE programs are cost-effective. Non-regulated efficiency providers conduct EM&V to ensure that their customers are receiving the intended benefits from energy efficiency projects.
Program administrators rely on three major categories of EM&V: quasi-experimental methods (such as randomized controlled trials), project-based measurement and verification and deemed savings. The use of deemed savings, or stipulated metrics associated with well-understood energy efficiency measures, is particularly prevalent. Where deemed savings are used, they are often documented in a Technical Reference Manual (TRM).
New data analytics technologies allow for measurement of savings at the meter, called EM&V 2.0 and can be deployed with or without advanced metering.
Net Savings v. Gross Savings
When evaluating the savings attributed to ratepayer-funded efficiency programs, policymakers must decide whether to consider net or gross energy savings. Gross savings are the change in energy demand attributed to an energy efficiency program for actions taken by customers, regardless of whether the program influenced the customer to take the action or not. Net savings are the subset of the gross savings that are directly attributable to an energy efficiency program. For a discussion of the pertinent issues concerning each approach to accounting for savings, see MEEA’s report on the subject.
Summary of Net vs. Gross in the Midwest
|State||Net or Gross Reported|
|Nebraska||Varies by utility|
|North Dakota||No program reporting has been identified|
|South Dakota||Varies by utility|
Cost Effectiveness Tests
EM&Vs feed into utility and regulator assessments of energy efficiency program cost-effectiveness. There are five tests used in evaluating the cost-effectiveness of energy efficiency programs, originating in California's 1983 manual Standard Practice for Cost-Benefit Analysis of Conservation and Load Management Programs.
TRC - Total Resource Cost Test: Will the total costs of energy in the utility service territory decrease?
PACT - Program Administrator Cost Test: Will the cost to the utility/program administrator increase?
PCT - Participant Cost Test: Will the participants benefit over the measure life?
SCT - Societal Cost Test: Is the utility, state, or nation better off as a whole?
RIM - Rate Impact Measure: Will utility rates increase?
Summary of Cost-Effectiveness Testing in the Midwest
|State||Primary Test||Other Tests Used|
|Indiana||TRC||PACT, PCT, RIM|
|Iowa||SCT||PACT, PCT, RIM|
|Kansas||TRC||PACT, PCT, SCT, RIM|
|Kentucky||TRC||PACT, PCT, RIM|
|Michigan||PACT||TRC, PCT, SCT, RIM|
|Minnesota||SCT||PACT, PCT, RIM|
|Missouri||TRC||PCT, SCT, RIM|
|South Dakota||Varies||TRC, RIM, PACT, SCT, PCT|
EM&V at the Regional and National Level
A number of regional and national efforts are attempting to create a more standardized approach to EM&V. In the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP) convened a regional EM&V Forum. NEEP is bringing together stakeholders "to support the development and use of consistent protocols to evaluate, measure, verify and report the savings, costs and emission impacts of energy efficiency and other demand-side resources." Building on the efforts in the Northeast, the U.S. Department of Energy (U.S. DOE) has launched the Uniform Methods Project to "establish easy-to-follow protocols based on commonly accepted engineering and statistical methods for determining gross savings for a core set of commonly deployed energy efficiency measures." In addition, U.S. DOE is also addressing EM&V protocols through the State and Local Energy Efficiency Action Network (SEEAction) Evaluation, Measurement and Verification Working Group.