North American SEM Collaborative

ACEEE is excited to introduce a new professional membership and outreach initiative called the North American Strategic Energy Management Collaborative (SEM Collaborative).  The SEM Collaborative is a project of ACEEE that will operate in accordance with the Charter of the Strategic Energy Management Collaborative developed and approved by the SEM Collaborative Board. Many organizations, including the U.S. Department of Energy and Natural Resource Canada, consider the systematic management of energy by large energy consuming facilities – a practice known as strategic energy management, or SEM – to be one of the largest opportunities for energy efficiency programs to save energy. A recent study by ACEEE determined that a robust expansion of SEM programs could reduce energy use in the industrial sector by 16 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity and 218 trillion British thermal units (TBtu) of natural gas by 2025. Companies could save $4.6 billion and carbon emissions could drop by 26 million metric tons (MMT)[1].  

To realize SEM’s game-changing potential, the SEM Collaborative’s goal is to improve the effectiveness of existing SEM programs, grow the number of programs in the US and Canada, and enhance the skills of thousands of workers. The SEM Collaborative will establish a community of practice by carrying out the following activities: 

  • Holding training and networking events 
  • Creating and disseminating informational materials on best practices  
  • Providing on-line educational resources 
  • Convening working groups to share best practices and insights on priority topics 
  • Conducting research and publishing the findings in white papers and reports 

The SEM Collaborative will also engage policy makers and other stakeholders to encourage them to support SEM programs in general and effective program design in particular. The SEM Collaborative will coordinate with the regional collaboratives (see Related Items) and other organizations on research and engagement projects. It will also serve as an international clearinghouse for information on energy management programs and practices. The SEM Collaborative will be a resource that utilities and other entities can access when setting up new SEM programs. 

To learn more about the SEM Collaborative, and to get involved, become a member today! It’s free and you’ll receive information on upcoming conferences, webinars, and working groups. Plus, you’ll be able to participate in our research activities.

Join Us! 

[1] Unger, L. 2018. “Doing Our Part: The Contribution of Energy Efficiency Policies to Meeting US Climate Goals



NASEMC Webinar - Wednesday Oct 30, 2019 1 PM PST/4 PM EST. REGISTER NOW!

4th Annual SEM Summit, Pacific Grove, CA

The 2020 SEM Summit will take place alongside ACEEE’s Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings and provide a platform to understand how NASEMC efforts are contributing to commercial and institutional markets throughout North America.

Building on the success of past summits, this event will maintain the momentum that introduced the North American Collaborative’s activities and provided opportunities to become involved with targeted efforts.

Agenda items may include:

  • Updates on regional SEM collaboratives
  • Presentations of successful commercial SEM implementation practices
  • Research paper result on Cost Effectiveness in SEM, including persistence of savings
Become an Event Sponsor: show your commitment to SEM, become an event sponsor! If you’re interested in sponsoring an event, please contact Neal Elliott.

Past Events

August 12, 2019 3rd Annual SEM Summit, Portland, OR

Strategic Energy Management (SEM) programs are changing the way utilities and program administrators interact with large industrial, commercial, and institutional customers. To seize on this development, dozens of stakeholders have collaborated to launch a new initiative, the North American SEM Collaborative (NASEMC), to create a community of practice to advance the success of energy management programs. The third annual SEM Summit was their first official event and it introduced the Collaborative and its plans to the public.

The Summit took place at the same hotel as the ACEEE 2019 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Industry. This event introduced participants to NASEMC leadership, the Collaborative’s activities, and provided opportunities to become involved.

The Summit built on the success of prior summits, addressed participant’s key needs, and advanced SEM program efforts throughout North America.

Agenda items included:

  • Discussion of collaboration between NASEMC and regional SEM collaboratives
  • Presentations of successful implementation practices
  • Barriers and opportunities for more success
  • When and where to include ISO 50001 and DOE’s 50001-Ready program
  • Measurement and verification (M&V), and persistence of energy savings
  • Strategies to get customers and corporate leaders to act

Check out our blog post summary of the event, and view our photo gallery

August 15, 2018 SEM Summit, Pacific Grove, CA 

August 15, 2017 SEM Summit, Denver, CO 

We want you to be involved in our organization! We depend on you to fulfill our mission: to accelerate adoption of Strategic Energy Management (SEM) and enhance the effectiveness of SEM offerings across the C&I sectors by providing leadership, strategic direction, and innovation to collaboratively develop solutions to SEM expansion, implementation, technical, market or policy challenges.  

Your input, participation, and expertise will help guide us and ensure that we provide the most value to you and your organization. There are many ways for you to get involved:

Becoming a Member:

Just sign up for our mailing list or participate in an upcoming event! It’s free and you’ll receive our newsletter and all information on upcoming conferences, webinars, and working groups. Plus, you’ll be able to participate in our research activities.

Join Us! 

Seed Funding:

The systematic management of energy by large energy consuming facilities is one of the largest opportunities for energy efficiency programs to save energy and help their customers reduce their energy intensity. By focusing on this opportunity, the NASEM Collaborative will improve the effectiveness of existing programs, grow the number of programs in the US and Canada, improve the quality of instruction, and enhance the skills of thousands of workers. To do this important work, the NASEM Collaborative needs seed funding for its first program year. 

As the administrator and fiduciary agent, ACEEE has opened a call for seed funding and seeks to raise US$65,000. We anticipate that the two main expenses for the first year of operation will be organizing events and administering routine activities. Subsequent years will be funded through membership fees, event registrations, event sponsorships and grants.  

ACEEE is seeking financial support in the amount of US$25,000. These Seed Funders will have an opportunity to shape the development of the Collaborative and contribute to its success.  



# of employee memberships for 2019 program year (see member benefits listed below this chart) 


Logo on NASEM Collaborative informational materials (webpage, brochure, member eblasts) 


# of mentions in social media posts on NASEM Collaborative 

Recognition as sponsor of 2019 SEM Summit 

Gold level 

# of registration waivers for 2019 SEM Summit 

# of exclusive consultations with leadership team 

Attend a pre-Summit leadership breakfast 



For the first program year, Seed Funders will have all the benefits of the highest level of membership – Leader. These benefits include:  

  • Voting rights for Collaborative leadership  
  • Voting rights on selection of research projects 
  • Participation in project design committee 
  • Receive pre-publication embargoed copies of research reports/whitepapers 
  • Participation in project peer review 
  • Access to primary research data  
  • Participation in working groups 
  • Access to performance reports from Administrator 
  • Listed as members on Collaborative webpage 

As a Seed Funder, you have the option to take advantage of any or none of these benefits. There is no obligation to participate or implicit commitment to future funding of the Collaborative.   

Help us realize the potential of SEM to save money, reduce energy intensity, and cut emissions. To learn more about how you can support the NASEM Collaborative, please contact Neal Elliott (202) 507-4009; 

The SEM Collaborative is led by a board of SEM leaders who are committed to elevating and accelerating how SEM is practiced across North America.  This group is interested in increasing our representation from diverse perspectives, including from different organization types, different regions, and other forms of diversity.  We welcome other persons potentially interested in supporting SEM Collaborative efforts as board members.  Please reach out to Neal Elliott to express interest.

Wendy Gibson, LEED APCLEAResult 

Wendy has been a commercial SEM coach since 2015 and is currently in charge of training and mentoring new coaches and developing curriculum and tools to support the needs of CLEAResult’s participants. Wendy Gibson has worked in the facilities and sustainability field for over 12 years and has been passionate about SEM ever since 2012. 

Wendy has a BS in Sociology and is an expert in identifying O&M efficiency opportunities by focusing on the people side of buildings. She enjoys supporting organizations through the change management process as they integrate SEM best practices into their company to ensure persistent savings. Wendy believes that SEM can work in any organization regardless of size, industry, or culture. She is also a skilled presenter and facilitator and enjoys all aspects of bringing people together to learn from one another.    


Greg BakerVEIC 

Greg is an Engineering Manager in VEIC’s Engineering Division and has more than 16 years of experience in the energy efficiency field. Greg has worked both in a technical role as an energy consultant and in sales as a key account manager. He has worked almost exclusively with large commercial and industrial customers. 

In addition to his Engineering role, Greg is also leading VEIC’s Strategic Energy Management (SEM) program efforts in the states of New York and Vermont. He also serves as a lead advisor to Hawaii Energy on effective SEM program design and delivery. Greg holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.


Debbie DriscollNorthwest Energy Efficiency Alliance 

Debbie is a Strategic Market Manager and leads the development of the overall strategy and infrastructure to support transformation of the northwest’s commercial building market. Among her responsibilities is NEEA’s SEM Infrastructure program which recently launched the SEM Hub website (, a clearinghouse for world-class SEM tools and resources.  

Debbie also coordinates the NW SEM Collaborative, a community of practitioners dedicated to saving energy through Strategic Energy Management. She earned her Electrical Engineering degree from NC State and Master of Engineering in Product Design at Stanford. Before joining NEEA, Debbie served as a Manager with Ecova’s Research and Policy Team.  



Chad GillessStillwater Energy 

Chad leads Stillwater Energy, a firm focused on SEM design and delivery.  He led the turnaround of NEEA’s foundational SEM program and since then has led SEM programs and workshops across the North America and elsewhere.  Chad chairs the US ISO Energy Management Committee, and he was a principal author of ISO 50001 as well as other international energy management standards.   

Chad served on the leadership team for the Northwest SEM Collaborative, a group he has been actively involved with since its inception.  Chad co-chaired the 2017 ACEEE Industrial Summer Study in Denver. 



John NicolLeidos 

 John has designed and implemented Strategic Energy Management (SEM) programs since 2004. He has more than 35 years of experience in energy engineering and energy program management.  Mr. Nicol has designed, launched, and directed four large energy efficiency business programs in Wisconsin, Illinois, Massachusetts and Hawai’i. He also has worked with industrial facilities to improve their energy efficiency in Romania, Lithuania and Belarus.  

Mr. Nicol is currently on the board of the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance and the Compressed Air Challenge. He has a M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois. He has specialized in the design and implementation of programs that have met the needs of the Industrial Sector, including developing the Practical Energy Management© tool and Energy Efficiency Best Practice Guidebooks for Paper, Metal Casting, Plastics, Ethanol, Dairy Processing, and Water/Wastewater industries.


Walt Tunnessen, CEMU.S. EPA  

Walt Tunnessen is the National Program Manager for the U.S. EPA’s ENERGY STAR program for Industry where he leads initiatives with manufacturing sectors to identify energy management best practices.  He has managed the development of the first sector-wide energy performance benchmarking tools for multiple industrial sectors that now provide the basis for ENERGY STAR certification.  Walt has also created numerous ENERGY STAR strategic energy management resources, contributed to the ISO 50001 standard, designed the ENERGY STAR Challenge for Industry recognition program, and helped developed the ENERGY STAR Energy Treasure Hunt guide.  

Walt earned a MS from the Lally School of Management at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a MSEL from Vermont Law School, a BA from the University of Pennsylvania, and is a Certified Energy Manager (CEM) by the Association of Energy Engineers. 


Brian AlbertNexant 

Brian Albert is a Vice President in Nexant's Utility Services business unit and a licensed Professional Engineer in the state of Wisconsin. As a VP for Nexant, Brian oversees the Energy Efficiency Delivery teams in Nexant’s Wisconsin, Iowa, Indiana, and Colorado offices where he provides program oversight and technical support to major demand-side management (DSM) programs Nexant administers out of those offices.  

His expertise includes designing DSM programs, managing the implementation of DSM programs, managing and motivating trade ally networks, and commercial and industrial strategic energy management. Brian received both his Bachelor and Master in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Peter BassettEnergy Performance Services  

Peter is President and owner of Energy Performance Services (EPS), a company which has specialized in industrial energy efficiency and energy management for over 27 years.  Working with companies in North America, Asia, South America and Africa, Peter has extensive experience with the development and implementation of energy efficiency projects, development of markets for energy efficiency services, design, and delivery of EE programs and EE training.  

Peter has expertise in the implementation of energy management systems such as ISO 50001 and 50001-Ready, energy management information systems (EMIS) and Strategic Energy Management (SEM).  


Martin Lott,  Cascade Energy 

Martin Lott is an SEM practitioner at Cascade Energy. He is a founding designer of strategic energy management (SEM) programs throughout North America. He has led dozens of commercial and industrial SEM projects, and in so doing, has worked with hundreds of utility customers. Martin excels at mentoring executives and energy teams through the process of organizational change management to achieve sustained energy savings.  

Martin holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineer and a Master of Business Administration.