Proper documentation is extremely important for maintaining a safe healthcare operation. Imagine doctors not having a proper trail of a patient’s medical history. No thanks! Proper documentation is also essential for smooth operation of energy efficiency programs. It ensures that implementation is consistent and helps evaluators focus on their main goal of improving the program.
It starts at the start
To run an effective program, regardless if it is custom or prescriptive, there needs to be estimates of energy savings. These estimates can be simple, or involve days or weeks of labor and engineering research. Detailed documentation, research, and calculations can be invaluable for custom programs as they provide useful teaching tools, a clear view of the project during internal reviews, and can even be used as templates for future projects. This saves time and money in the long run.
Additionally, documentation for prescriptive programs can be even more important. While simpler calculations and methods are used for prescriptive measures, they are replicated hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of times per year. Having records of where these estimates came from can be key for training new staff on measures, providing important technical details to program sales teams, and most importantly, can provide information to stakeholders outside of the program (i.e. The Commission or intervener groups).
It doesn’t stop there
Most programs are required to undergo some type of program evaluation. During program evaluation, third party engineers will verify the savings achieved by the program. This is where proper project documentation really shines. Having detailed calculation and equipment information for custom projects makes reviewing these complex measures exponentially easier. Additionally, having detailed calculations and references for prescriptive savings allows evaluators to expedite their review for these programs.
But completing the review quickly is only half of the benefit evaluators find with proper documentation. The second main goal of any program evaluation is to improve program performance. The more time that evaluators spend hassling program staff, tracking down documentation, and deciphering cryptic shreds of evidence, the less time they can spend concentrating on actually trying to improve the program.
So keep those calculation files, work papers, research articles, and program guidelines. They’ll provide useful information, cost savings, and increase the value of programs for all parties involved.