Energy management

8 Free Sources of Energy Management Ideas and Advice

By Megan Erwin

There's no such thing as a free lunch, as the saying goes. And that goes double for business advice. Just ask a six-figure industry consultant for some free guidance and see what you get.

But when it comes to energy management, there are some free resources that allow California businesses to access the latest ideas and expertise in energy efficiency, sustainability, and business codes and requirements. Here's a look at some reputable places that businesses can turn to for help in achieving their energy efficiency goals, and it's all gratis.

  1. California Lighting Technology Center (CLTC)
    This not-for-profit research, development and demonstration facility is part of the University of California, Davis, and is dedicated to accelerating the advancement and commercialization of next-generation, energy efficient lighting and daylighting technologies. The center includes full-scale laboratories for research and development, as well as prototype and product testing. Long-term funding for the work done at CLTC is provided by private and public agencies. Learn more about the CLTC here.
  2. Food Service Technology Center (FSTC)
    The Food Service Technology Center opened in 1987 as a fuel-neutral scientific testing facility for benchmarking the energy performance of equipment used in commercial kitchens. Operated by Fisher-Nickel, Inc., FSTC has developed more than 40 standard test methods for evaluating commercial kitchen appliance and system performance. Its knowledge and expertise can help businesses take advantage of available rebates and enjoy substantial savings.
  3. Business Energy Checkup (BEC)
    The Business Energy Checkup from Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is the ultimate online self-assessment tool for small and medium-sized businesses. It provides highly customized recommendations that can lower your operating costs and assist with energy management. The BEC is also your source for products that offer financial incentives to implement energy savings in your business. Use the BEC to compare your energy costs to those of similar businesses and energy efficient businesses.
  4. Business Resource Center
    PG&E's Business Resource Center is the place for small and medium-sized businesses to go for a library of helpful eBooks and an archive of articles detailing ways they can save money and energy. You can also go there to sign up for PG&E's monthly Energy Advisor for Business eNewsletter to stay informed of the latest news and tools for managing your business's energy use and costs.
  5. ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager
    The ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is an online tool businesses can use to measure and track energy and water consumption, as well as greenhouse gas emissions. You can use it to benchmark the performance of one building or a whole portfolio of buildings, all in a secure online environment. All you need are your energy bills and some basic information about your building to get started.

    When you do, you'll be joining the 40% of U.S. commercial building space that's already benchmarked in Portfolio Manager, making it the industry-leading benchmarking tool. More than half of the Fortune 100 companies and half of the largest U.S. healthcare organizations are using Portfolio Manager, along with major league sports teams, colleges and universities.
  6. My Energy from PG&E
    The My Energy online tool at offers many ways you can manage your PG&E accounts online. By logging on to My Energy, you can view usage, pay bills and set up alerts, notifications and more. You can also see balances and activity for all of your accounts, bulk-pay multiple bills from different payment accounts and even choose different payment dates.

    My Energy's Green Button lets you download your detailed energy usage with the simple click of a button. You can also share data with third-party service providers who can help you find ways to save energy and money. And with My Energy's energy tracking feature, you can analyze your energy use and find ways to save. If you have a SmartMeter, you can even view hourly usage.
  7. PG&E's Business Rebate Catalogs
    PG&E has rebate catalogs available for a wide variety of business categories. For a complete listing of rebates available, go here. You can download individual business product catalogs here.
  8. PG&E Training Centers
    To keep your business running efficiently, PG&E offers a full curriculum of energy efficiency classes. From renewable energy to food service technology, PG&E industry professionals help you learn everything you need to stay competitive with successful energy management. Businesses can learn more about available classes, workshops and webinars on everything from solar energy to daylighting technology here.

    PG&E's training facilities include:
    • Energy Training Center-Stockton: This training center in Stockton provides state-of-the-art energy efficiency training for residential and small commercial building professionals.
    • Pacific Energy Center: This San Francisco facility offers a variety of educational programs, design tools and support services to help you create energy efficient buildings and comfortable work environments. Among its offerings is the Tool Lending Library, a Public Goods-funded program that loans building measurement equipment free of charge to people working on short-term energy efficiency projects in California.
    • PG&E Academy: The Livermore Training Center is where PG&E's crews learn how to operate and repair natural gas pipelines or climb power poles safely during a storm. The center is also open to businesses and public works departments, space permitting, offering technical training in utility system construction, operations and maintenance.

Finding other ways to be more energy efficient and earn rebates from PG&E is simple. Download the free eBook, “20 Sustainable Products to Help Businesses Save Money and Energy.”

  1. California Energy Commission
  2. U.S. Department of Energy
  5. California Solar Initiative

8 resources that offer free ideas and advice on energy management.
  • SMB Blog Author
    Megan Porter
    Senior Program Marketing Manager at PG&E, is a recognized leader in solutions marketing for small and medium-sized businesses. Megan uses her proven and practical expertise to bring energy efficiency education to businesses in every industry. In this vital role, she develops and oversees highly successful initiatives that result in the adoption of more efficient long-term energy management behaviors.

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