5 components of a virtuous cycle for energy efficiency

In the past five years, EDF Climate Corps has worked deep within more than 100 leading companies to cut energy costs and curb carbon emissions. Along the way, we've tracked and analyzed what does and doesn't work, reporting the common barriers to energy efficiency that we encountered and the most powerful strategies for breaking them down.

We've released the latest iteration of this research, The Virtuous Cycle of Organizational Energy Efficiency. It's a model of change we’ve discovered that applies to energy efficiency across even radically different organizations with five powerful, interdependent components.

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE ) recently published our paper on this model and invited us to present at the ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings. We were thrilled to see the model resonate with an array of audience members at the conference and are excited to share it with our readers today.

The virtuous cycle of organizational energy efficiency

  1. Executive engagement
  2. Resource investment
  3. People
  4. Identification, implementation, and results measurement and verification (M&V)
  5. Stories and sharing

The five components of this machine affect one another for better or for worse. If the performance of one improves, this often improves the performance of all in a "virtuous cycle" of positive feedback. When all components function at full capacity, the cycle will run smoothly to improve energy performance, generating maximum financial and environmental returns.

Gears and cycle image credit: Jake Hiller

Next page: The five parts of the cycle