Guidelines for Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting, Verification, and Certification of Energy Efficiency Projects for Climate Change Mitigation

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Because of concerns with the growing threat of global climate change from increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the United States and other countries are implementing, by themselves or in cooperation with one or more other nations, climate change mitigation projects. These projects will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and may also result in non-GHG benefits and costs (i.e., other environmental and socioeconomic benefits and costs).

Monitoring, evaluating, reporting, verifying, and certifying (MERVC) guidelines are needed for these projects in order to accurately determine their impact on GHG and other attributes. Implementation of standardized guidelines is also intended to: (1) increase the reliability of data for estimating GHG benefits; (2) provide real-time data so that programs and plans can be revised mid-course; (3) introduce consistency and transparency across project types and reporters; (4) enhance the credibility of the projects with stakeholders; (5) reduce costs by providing an international, industry consensus approach and methodologies; and (6) reduce financing costs, allowing project bundling and pooled project financing.

These guidelines cover the following items: (1) a description of seven methods (engineering methods, basic statistical models, multivariate statistical models, end-use metering, short-term monitoring, and integrative methods) for evaluating energy savings; (2) an explanation of key issues influencing the establishment of a credible baseline (free riders) and the calculation of gross energy savings (positive project spillover and market transformation); (3) a process for verifying and certifying project impacts, based on an interpretation of the Kyoto Protocol; (4) a discussion of the importance and value of including environmental and socioeconomic impacts in the evaluation of energy-efficiency projects; (5) reporting forms for estimation of gross and net energy savings and emission reductions (Appendix A), for monitoring and evaluation of these savings (Appendix B), and for verification (Appendix C); and (6) Quality Assurance Guidelines that require evaluators and verifiers to indicate specifically how key methodological issues are addressed.

The next phase of this work will be to develop a procedural handbook providing information on how one can complete the monitoring, evaluation and verification forms contained in this report. Next, we plan to test the usefulness of these guidelines in the real world.

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