“This role does not work as a silo; it’s really about fostering a safe space for discussing energy, asking questions, sharing lessons learned, and working together as a team to achieve success.”
By Anthony Capkun
September 01, 2021 – “For large organizations, a dedicated energy manager is one of the best hires you can make,” says the IESO’s Carrie Aloussis, Senior Manager, Business Strategy and Content, adding that its Energy Manager program is the largest of its kind in North America, helping to save energy and drive Ontario’s competitiveness.
One of those dedicated energy managers is Cristina Guido of the Town of Caledon, one of five 2019 Energy Manager award recipients.
Working with the IESO’s Save on Energy team, Energy Manager Canada interviewed Cristina to learn how she became an energy manager in the first place, to discuss her successes, and to understand the importance of energy managers and proactive energy management to any organization.
PART 5 of 5
Cristina Guido, Save on Energy Non-Funded Energy Manager of the Year
Meet Cristina, who oversees the Town’s corporate energy program, including leading the Town’s Corporate Energy Team and managing internal building benchmarking and analysis efforts through RETScreen Expert. The Corporate Energy Team was successful in completing 140 different energy-savings projects, achieving over 12% savings across the Town of Caledon’s entire building portfolio.
Energy Manager Canada: How did you get into the field of energy management and/or how did you become an energy manager in your organization?
CRISTINA: I have always been passionate about combating climate change and recognized the significant opportunity that energy efficiency and conservation provides to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
I obtained my Bachelors and Masters degrees in Environmental Studies from York University. My major research paper investigated the potential that behaviour-based interventions could have on conserving energy in the residential sector and was included in the Faculty of Environmental Studies’ Outstanding Graduate Student Paper series. I also spent half of my Masters program as the Town of Caledon’s Energy Management Student, which gave me both academic and practical knowledge.
As the Energy Management Student, I gained early experience in building benchmarking using RETScreen (an energy management software available from Natural Resources Canada) and learning how the Town runs its corporate energy program, in addition to many other initiatives.
In 2017, I was the successful candidate for the position of Specialist, Energy & Environment, which oversees the Town’s corporate energy and climate change portfolio.
Energy Manager Canada: What excites you the most about the work you do in your organization?
CRISTINA: The greatest reward of working in the Energy & Environment Division at the Town of Caledon is being involved in projects that result in GHG emission reductions and energy savings. Specifically, though, I love the energy data and analysis component in the Specialist, Energy & Environment role.
I enjoy working in RETScreen Expert to analyze the energy performance of an individual building and monitoring the performance of the Town’s building portfolio as a whole. I also enjoy translating the statistical analysis results from RETScreen Expert into comprehensive energy performance reports, which I provide to facility staff during quarterly Corporate Energy Team meetings.
These analyses give us an opportunity to learn the story behind the energy consumption in a facility and to inform conversations with facility staff about operational or mechanical changes that may have led to a change in their facility’s energy use trends.
I also enjoy working closely with the Town’s Corporate Energy Team, who are really the leaders on achieving energy savings in their facilities and often approach the Energy & Environment Division with energy-saving project ideas.
Energy Manager Canada: What is a “win” (or some “wins”) of which you are really proud?
CRISTINA: I was selected as one of the 2019 Energy Manager of the Year award recipients due to my work with RETScreen Expert and building energy analysis. I’m proud of the impact that the energy performance reports have had on the Corporate Energy Team, as they have grown to understand both the reports and RETScreen Expert. They are eager to see the results after an energy-saving project or initiative has been completed in their facility.
The reports are four pages long and provide key information to facility staff to make their energy use visible by identifying trends in either energy and cost savings or increases, monitoring and tracking toward their 2024 energy-reduction target, and internal benchmarking against similar Town facilities.
I am also proud of the momentum displayed by the Corporate Energy Team and the strong relationships that have been built with facility staff and the Energy & Environment Division. Working collaboratively is critical to the success of the corporate energy program, allowing for consistent and frequent communications, transparency, trust and teamwork on projects.
As a team, we exceeded the Town’s 2014 conservation and demand management target of a 9% reduction below 2012 levels by 2019, achieving a 12.6% reduction in 2018 compared to the 2012 baseline year. This built confidence to establish a new Council-approved corporate energy reduction target of a 15% reduction below 2017 levels by 2024.
The Town’s corporate energy program also has access to a Corporate Energy Revolving Fund, which is a unique independent funding mechanism to support the implementation of energy-efficiency retrofits. The revenue from the Town’s three solar microFIT contracts, energy incentives received and a percentage of energy savings from the projects implemented sustain the fund.
Energy Manager Canada: How did Energy Manager Support Services provided by Save on Energy help you to succeed at your organization?
CRISTINA: Energy Manager Support Services provide an opportunity to connect with energy managers from both municipalities and the private sector. There’s value in having this network so you can ask questions, vet new technologies or approaches, and learn from others. The educational webinars offered are also helpful for expanding my knowledge on energy management.
Energy Manager Canada: Why is it important for organizations to have people like you?
CRISTINA: It’s important to have a role dedicated to corporate energy to embed strategic energy management across the organization.
It’s also critical to have a staff member closely monitoring the organization’s progress toward its energy reduction targets. This role does not work as a silo; it’s really about fostering a safe space for discussing energy, asking questions, sharing lessons learned, and working together as a team to achieve success.
Energy managers = project success
“Energy managers have the strategic and technical expertise to recommend the energy-saving equipment and technologies that are right for your business,” added Carrie Aloussis. “They also have the skills to implement an energy management strategy for your business that supports project success and benefits a company’s bottom line.”
Learn more about the other 2019 Energy Manager award recipients:
• Jana Jamnicky of Cameco
• Benjamin Ratcliffe of the Peel District School Board
• Olga Horolskaya of Canadian Tire Corp.
• Rod Michalko of Dunn Paper