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Project Launch: 04/01/2021

Partner: E Source

This market and technical potential study helped ComEd develop a plan to improve energy efficiency in small and midsize businesses (SMBs) by identifying energy management systems with the greatest energy-saving potential that are best suited to meet the needs of these customers.


SMBs make up the vast majority of commercial customers in the United States and currently many do not have adequate control systems in place to manage their operational energy usage. However, the market for SMB-focused control technologies is growing. The goal of this project was to analyze the SMB energy efficiency technology market and identify energy management systems (EMSs) that have the greatest potential to provide cost-effective savings. The project team also conducted market research to understand the needs and barriers of SMB customers and inform an implementation strategy and program design for the identified EMS products.

Results and Outcomes

Findings of this study suggest there are approximately 108 gigawatt hours of potential energy savings associated with energy management systems in buildings under 100,000 square feet through 2025 in the ComEd service territory.

However, the following barriers exist:

  • Initial expense and access to capital
  • Lack of understanding of energy issues
  • EMS complexity
  • Low cost-effectiveness
  • Uncertain system persistence
  • Absence of relationship between business owners and their utility

At the same time, EMSs offer several critical benefits to customers, including:

  • Lowering operating costs
  • Enhancing occupant comfort
  • Improving productivity
  • Identifying failing systems early
  • Increasing sales

Because the benefits and potential downsides are both significant and compelling, a pilot study was recommended to better understand all the factors at play in EMS installation and operation for SMBs and determine whether a full-scale offering is right for the ComEd Energy Efficiency Program portfolio. Several key recommendations for developing a pilot or eventual ComEd Energy Efficiency Program offering can be found in the executive summary and full report.

Read the executive summary and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. from the Emerging Technologies Team.