The Building Efficiency Advisor Program is a partnership between Center for Energy and Environment (CEE) and the City of Saint Paul (the City), with co-funding from the Carolyn Foundation and the City of Saint Paul. The purpose of the pilot program was to engage commercial building owners and managers who have substantial energy efficiency opportunities using a relatively light-touch Strategic Energy Management (SEM) approach.  This approach has been used successfully in industrial facilities but is relatively new in the commercial sector.
Using Saint Paul’s 2019 benchmarking program data, CEE’s staff selected three large commercial properties in Saint Paul. Each of the selected properties had Energy STAR scores below 50, which means they were less efficient than 50% or more of buildings nationwide with a similar function. CEE’s engineers performed a retuning walk-through at each site in late 2020, with report-out meetings in late 2020-early 2021, and additional engagement before and after the audit.
For each property, we used several methods to assess opportunities to save energy:
- Analyzed 2019 energy and water usage data from the City’s benchmarking program
- Performed a 3-4 hour “retuning walk-through,” (audit) at each property to understand the mechanical features of the property and identify savings opportunities.
- In addition to performing the audit, CEE and other institutions’ research indicates that getting and keeping the property staff’s attention may lead to higher savings overall, as well as longerlasting savings. The engagement part of the SEM approach employed the following tactics:
- Help site contacts identify their “Energy Team,” i.e., decision makers for the building such as the owner, facility manager, building engineers, finance, and administrators.
- Conduct a post-walk-through meeting to go over the findings of the audit, direct towards next steps, and review applicable resources available for the recommended projects.
- Schedule one or more follow-up meetings with the site contacts and other stakeholders to offer assistance such as engineering review of proposed projects, connect with Xcel Energy and other service providers, and provide encouragement.
- Recognition for participating buildings at the City’s annual Energize Saint Paul Recognition Ceremony
 J. Burgess, et al., “The Second Generation of Strategic Energy Management Programs,” Proceedings of 2015 American Council for an Energy Efficiency Economy Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Industry. August 2015.
 Retuning walk-throughs were typically performed by two CEE staff, an engineer, and a coordinator.
 L. Shen, et al., “Accelerating Energy Performance in Large Buildings,” Commissioned by the City of Saint Paul. October 2018. https://www.mncee.org/resources/resource-center/technical-reports/energy-performance-large-buildings/