Commercial Initiatives

Improving the bottom line in the commercial sector through energy efficiency

The Northwest Power and Conservation Council’s 6th Power Plan predicts electricity demand in the commercial sector will increase by 2,500 aMW between 2010 and 2030. More than 60 percent of that growth can potentially be avoided through energy efficiency. Capturing these savings is critical to helping the region meet its growing energy demands, while improving the bottom line for Northwest businesses.

NEEA estimates that if just 16 percent of the commercial building space made energy efficiency renovations, regional energy savings could reach nearly 100 average megawatts (aMW) by 2025.

NEEA accelerates the adoption of energy-efficient products, practices and services within the commercial sector through the following initiatives:




Building Operator Certification (BOC) Expansion

Educating building operators and managers to instill lasting energy-efficient operation and maintenance (O&M) of commercial buildings.


Commercial Real Estate (CRE)

Encouraging energy-efficient building management practices among commercial portfolio property owners.


Commercial Window Attachments

Encouraging the installation of high-performance commercial window attachments (secondary glazing systems) as a standard practice for competitive advantage in Northwest buildings.

Design Labs

Integrated Design Labs

Establishing centralized, independent facilities to develop, distribute and maintain resources, tools, data, and other infrastructure to accelerate and sustain innovation in the design and construction market.

Luminaire Sensors

Luminaire Level Lighting Controls

Testing an integrated occupant and light level control on individual lamps to maximize user satisfaction while minimizing energy use for commercial lighting.


Reduced Wattage Lamp Replacement - Upstream Platform

Creating tools and market capabilities to advance new lighting standards.


Commercial Code Enhancement

Bridging the gap between market practices and state policies by identifying, assessing and validating the feasibility and affordability of the next-generation technologies and practices. 

Top Tier Trade Ally

Top Tier Trade Ally

Facilitating the coordination and development of an Advanced Training Infrastructure that will enable the Northwest to meet its evolving training needs.

  • Commissioning Long-Term Monitoring and Tracking—2015 Square-Footage Update (2016 Study)
    From 1998 to 2004, the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) managed an initiative to transform the building commissioning market in the Northwest. The initiative aimed to make commissioning standard practice in public buildings and to create a standardized professional certification body for commissioning providers. To assess the outcomes of the initiative, NEEA began long-term monitoring and tracking of the commissioning market in 2005. The 2016 study finds that the population of certified commissioning providers and firms offering commissioning services is growing. In 2015, there were 75 firms performing commissioning in the Northwest. These 75 firms carried out more than 26 million square feet of new building commissioning and nearly 37 million square feet of existing building commissioning in the region. Market penetration of new building commissioning across the region was 49 percent. As in previous years, market penetration for all types of commissioning was higher in Oregon and Washington than in Idaho and Montana. As part of this year’s study, evaluators estimated the baseline market share of commissioned floor space and found that in 2015, 52 percent of new building commissioned space and 62 percent of existing building commissioned space would have occurred without NEEA intervention. The study recommends future research to improve market size estimates, increase survey response rate, and to better track the population of commissioning providers.
    PDF, 1.15 MB
  • Building Operator Certificate Program Dataset Analysis
    This memo documents the analysis of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Council Building Operator Certification (BOC) program dataset as of 2015. The goal of this effort, conducted each year as part of the BOC evaluation, is to describe the 2015 new BOC certificants and update the count of active BOC certificants in the Northwest region (Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington). Active certificants are those individuals who have received or renewed the BOC credential since 2010 and are the individuals for whom the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance counts energy savings for 2015. The results of the analysis find 228 new 2015 certifications and 115 certificants whose savings retired in 2015. In all, BOC has certified 2,796 individuals, of whom 1,568 are currently active.
    PDF, 438.11 KB
  • Building Operator Certificate Renewal Rate Assumptions Memorandum
    This memorandum summarizes research on renewal rates for professional certification programs conducted as part of the Building Operator Certification Expansion (BOC-E) program for the 2015-16 long-term monitoring and tracking study. The primary objective of this research was to determine whether support exists for the current BOC-E certificate target renewal rate of 70 percent, which appears in the logic model associated with the 10th market progress indicator. The findings of this study indicate that Building Operator Certification renewal rates are slightly lower than for most other certifications targeting professionals in the energy and building trades sector. However, the report recommends a downward adjustment of the 70 percent target renewal rate as a result of a detailed analysis of how the target was selected, finding it to be inflated.
    PDF, 419.20 KB

Resource Spotlight

Commercial Building Stock Assessment (CBSA) 2012-14

CBSA is a comprehensive assessment of energy efficiency that provides critical information about energy use in the Northwest’s commercial buildings. The CBSA database includes more than 250 variables for each site including building type and functional use, building size, detailed information about building envelope, fenestration, lighting and HVAC equipment.  The CBSA has a profound effect on energy efficiency planning and programming around the region.

Hear a webinar discussing CBSA results

View the final report

View previous data here

Article Spotlight

Building Renewal - Montana Pilot


Northwestern Energy and NEEA are collaborating on a pilot project to demonstrate the viability of bringing existing older commercial office buildings into ultra-modern energy efficiency standards.

Learn more