Technical Reference Manual

A Technical Reference Manual (TRM) is a resource used to help plan and evaluate energy efficiency programs. TRMs outline how much energy can be expected to be saved for certain measures, either through deemed savings values or engineering algorithms. TRMs also contain source documentation, specified assumptions and other metrics associated with energy efficiency measures. Eight of MEEA's states have a statewide TRMs to provide the metrics for energy efficiency planning, measurement, evaluation and reporting. Links to individual state TRMs can be found on our state Policy pages. 

map of states with TRMs

The advantage of a statewide TRM is that all of the utilities, their implementers and evaluators are all operating from the same 'playbook' as they develop and review energy efficiency programs. There is consistency of assumptions and values throughout the state. This helps to enhance transparency and accountability for energy efficiency portfolios. In states with the best practices for TRM maintenance, updates are made to the TRM on an annual basis. In other cases, updates are made prior to new energy efficiency program cycle planning. In states without an active process for TRM updates, the TRM can become stale. When a statewide TRM becomes significantly outdated, utilities generally begin to seek case-by-case approval for updated TRMs or measure lists, which can lead to a return to the inconsistency that the TRM development removed.

MEEA’s 2017 “Midwest TRM Inventory” reviewed the use of TRMs or equivalent tools in the region, as they existed at that time. The Midwest TRM Inventory is an in-depth look at the region’s statewide TRMs. MEEA staff analyzed which energy saving measures are included in each and identified gaps in included measures that may provide opportunities for additional measure offerings. MEEA remains involved in state TRM development, use and maintenance in the Midwest.