Portfolio Energy Optimization

Portfolio Energy Optimization is creating a disruptive and scalable approach to commercial building retrofits that have been left behind by the traditional retrofit approach, driving deep financial and energy savings in this critical sector.

What Is Portfolio Energy Optimization?

RMI’s Portfolio Energy Optimization initiative is capturing a $290 billion opportunity in net present value by bringing building efficiency into the age of the portfolio owner with an innovative, hands-on, mass-customized approach. We are developing software tools, working with portfolio owners, and directly testing and evaluating new technologies that can dramatically increase the efficiency of portfolios of operating buildings.

Why It Matters

Commercial buildings consume more than 35 percent of the generated electricity in the U.S. and are underperforming at every level. They waste energy, emit too much carbon, and are too costly for owners and occupants. But retrofits are not happening at the rate or scale needed. Today, portfolio property owners own most commercial buildings. Yet most building efficiency work is focused on single buildings, thereby missing the distinct needs of this owner class, which has very different needs than traditional owner-occupiers. The diverse nature of commercial buildings, combined with technology and performance uncertainty, make simple energy optimization initiatives—which could greatly reduce energy use and improve building value—financially unattractive, resulting in slow adoption rates. The industry demands a better solution.

Who’s Involved

We are working with leading U.S. commercial building portfolio owners, real estate investors and financial institutions, building managers, and energy conservation-measure providers and installers interested in capturing new sources of value and positioning commercial real estate portfolios for the future by deploying this innovative retrofit model.

What We’re Doing

Portfolio Optimization Approaches

Developing a new integrated and scalable approach to energy optimization, taking advantage of mass-customization, new business models, innovative financing, and IT-driven approaches.

Integrated Technology Platforms

Providing independent, third-party evaluation of technologies to help owners tap into the enormous opportunity of using IT to actively manage building energy use and dramatically reduce costs, capture the fastest paybacks, and enable better outcomes.

Measurement and Verification 2.0

Defining market gaps and opportunities for next generation measurement and verification to stimulate demand—dynamically measuring the “negawatts” generated by efficiency and opening the market to new models for deploying retrofits.

What We’ve Accomplished

Launched in 2016, we've already made significant progress in three areas:

  • Development of a mass-customized offering: Our groundbreaking approach works from portfolio-level screening and prioritization, all the way to energy-conservation-measures deployment
  • Testing the mass-customized approach with a leading property management company—determining how this offering can scale across large commercial portfolios
  • Establishment of third-party finance solutions for lighting upgrades: “Lumens as a Service” which brings third-party financing solutions that have allowed the solar industry to implement LED lighting retrofits

Our Team

Iain Campbell
Senior Fellow

James Mandel

phil keuhn

Phil Keuhn

Michael Gartman

Amy Egerter

Amy Egerter

greg hopkins headshot

Greg Hopkins

Laurie Stone
Senior Writer/Editor


Capturing Value Through Portfolio Energy Optimization


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