Active Efficiency Collaborative

The Active Efficiency Collaborative is a community of industry leaders, NGOS, and public sector institutions working to accelerate the adoption of Active Efficiency, which optimizes the use of energy by integrating the benefits of traditional energy efficiency measures with the opportunities presented by digital technologies.


Explore the Active Efficiency Universe

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Overarching Objectives

  • Reduced Climate Emissions
  • Equity & Social Justice
  • Economic Growth
  • Reliability, Resilience, & Adaptation

Digital Innovations

  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Advanced Analytics, Cloud-based Platforms, Edge Computing, Big Data
  • Predictive & Automated Controls

Enabling Infrastructure

  • Advanced Metering & Controls
  • Broadband


  • Distributed Energy Resources (DERs)
  • Traditional Energy Efficiency
  • Demand Response
  • Beneficial Electrification
  • Storage


  • Microgrids
  • Deep Energy Efficiency Retrofits
  • Demand Flexibility
  • Grid-interactive Efficient Buildings (GEB)
  • Vehicle-to-grid (V2G)
  • Performance-based Utility Programs
  • Dynamic & Customized Solutions
  • Automation
  • Evaluation, Measurement, and Verification (EM&V)
  • Other Programs & Policies


  • Systems Integration
  • Real-Time Energy Management
  • Integration/Optimization Across the Meter
  • Consumer-first Design
  • Steep Emissions Reductions
  • Equitable, Accessible Energy Costs
  • Better Quality of Life and Service
Enabling Infrastructure
Digital Innovations
Overarching Objectives

Explore Active Efficiency

Active Efficiency brings together a variety of technologies and practices to achieve a greater optimization of energy.

Click the categories in the web to explore the Active Efficiency universe, including the overarching objectives that shape its design, the technological tools and resources that can be combined into implementation strategies, and the results.

Reduced Climate Emissions

Decarbonization is a key policy strategy to reduce climate emissions. Active Efficiency offers a framework for harnessing the potential of digital technologies and renewable energy resources to optimize energy use and achieve this policy goal.

Case Study
Siemens “Living Lab” Microgrid Research Center

Equity & Social Justice

When implemented with a proactive strategy to ensure equitable outcomes, Active Efficiency can provide tools to improve affordable access and quality of service for all consumers, including frontline/underserved customers.

Economic Growth

Active Efficiency presents many opportunities for economic growth, including net bill savings for consumers, creation of new value streams in energy and capacity markets, better optimization of the grid, and job creation in numerous sectors.

Reliability, Resilience, & Adaptation

Active Efficiency strategies can improve the grid’s reliability and resilience by minimizing energy waste and deploying technologies and practices to enhance demand flexibility, resulting in a more responsive relationship between supply and demand.

Internet of Things (IoT)

This network of physical objects, embedded with sensors and software to connect and exchange data over the internet, can be coordinated to enable insights on usage patterns, ensure the more efficient use of energy, and support demand flexibility.

Advanced Analytics, Cloud-based Platforms, Edge Computing, Big Data

IT advances in advanced analytics and computing are accelerating, reinforcing innovations that produce a myriad of opportunities for Active Efficiency, ranging from distributed energy resource (DER) aggregation to digital twinning.

Case Studies
Kent State University Central Plant Optimization
NODES: An Independent Marketplace

Predictive & Automated Controls

As digital energy management tools and strategies become more complex, controls that have the ability to predict and automate energy use are critical for optimizing energy and providing a more streamlined customer experience.

Advanced Metering & Controls

An integrated system of smart meters, communications networks, and data management systems that enables two-way communication between utilities and customers. Such infrastructure is a critical foundation for Active Efficiency.


The consistent deployment of high-speed data transmission that provides constant, reliable internet connection is necessary to ensure all customers are able to benefit from digitalized Active Efficiency opportunities.

Bridging the Digital Divide

Distributed Energy Resources (DERs)

Resources sited close to customers that can provide electric and power needs. Deployment and coordination of DERs with Active Efficiency can reduce peak period demand and provide supply to satisfy energy, capacity, or ancillary service needs.

Guiding Principles for Next-Generation Performance-based Utility Programs

Case Study
Siemens “Living Lab” Microgrid Research Center

Traditional Energy Efficiency

The reduction in energy demand gained through strategies that are typically static and not digitalized, such as vehicle, equipment, and appliance replacement; weatherization; and behavioral change.

Energy Efficiency Impact Report

Demand Response

The voluntary reduction or shifting of customer electricity usage, often in response to financial incentives, to improve grid conditions during peak periods and/or optimize the dispatch of variable energy resources.

Case Study
Integrating Energy Efficiency and Demand Response

Beneficial Electrification

The transition from fossil fuel end-uses to electricity in circumstances where specific benefits are achieved. When combined with demand flexibility, it serves as an opportunity for wider energy optimization, and a clear example of Active Efficiency.

Beneficial Electrification Digital Report

Case Study
Efficiency Maine Trust


Systems that allow energy to be stored when plentiful, used onsite when needed, or returned to the grid during periods of low production or high demand. By reducing the need for backup generation, storage increases grid efficiency and reliability.

Case Studies
Siemens “Living Lab” Microgrid Research Center
Shaving Peaks & Energy Costs


A localized energy system that can disconnect from the grid and operate autonomously in case of energy disruptions. By implementing Active Efficiency strategies, microgrids can leverage DERs to enhance grid efficiency, flexibility, and reliability.

Siemens “Living Lab” Microgrid Research Center Case Study
Improving Resilience in Washington State Case Study
Microgrids For Resilience, But Don’t Overlook Their Efficiency Potential
The Department Of Defense Noticed Microgrids Benefits

Deep Energy Efficiency Retrofit

An upgrade that uses a whole-building evaluation of energy performance to optimize multiple systems and achieve significantly larger energy savings than retrofits focused on upgrading isolated systems.

Case Study
Energy Efficiency as a Service (EEaS) in Seattle

Demand Flexibility

The ability to shift electricity demand to times of day when power is abundant and low-cost, which reduces costly peak loads and makes energy more reliable and affordable. A fundamental tool of energy optimization and Active Efficiency.

Case Studies
Demand Response at Portland General Electric
Battery Energy Storage System at Fort Carson
Heating Electrification Program and Flexible Load Management Pilot

Grid-interactive Efficient Building (GEB)

An energy-efficient building with smart technologies characterized by the active use of DERs. GEBs enable demand flexibility and help optimize energy use for grid services, occupant benefits, and cost reductions.

GEB Initiative at the Department of Energy
Guiding Principles for Next-Generation Performance-based Utility Programs

Vehicle-to-grid (V2G)

V2G technology allows bi-directional charging between electric vehicles and the grid. Electric vehicles can serve as distributed energy resources for the grid, particularly during times of peak electricity demand or power disruptions.

Improving Resilience in Washington State Case Study

Performance-based Utility Program

A program that delivers energy savings and demand flexibility by incentivizing energy/demand reductions over a specified time period. Well-designed programs can ensure all consumers reap the multiple benefits of GEBs and other Active Efficiency approaches.

Next-Generation Performance-based Utility Programs

Dynamic & Customized Solutions

Smart and connected devices and systems enable consumers to take an Active Efficiency approach to energy use – customizing how they track energy performance, how much energy they use, and when they use energy.

Case Studies
Integrating Energy Efficiency and Demand Response
Strategic Energy Management at Bonduelle Fresh Americas
Johnson Controls’ Central Plant Optimization System at Kent State University.


Building automation systems – sensors and controls that are programmed to monitor and regulate building equipment and system operation – are a key technology for optimizing building performance and energy use through Active Efficiency approaches.

Evaluation, Measurement, and Verification (EM&V)

A set of processes to determine energy savings impacts of projects or programs. Advanced metering and other technologies improve EM&V’s accuracy at a lower cost. In turn, improved EM&V validates the efficacy of Active Efficiency approaches.

Case Study
Seattle City Light’s MEETS program

Other Programs & Policies

Programs & policies that support Active Efficiency approaches include incentives for smart devices, performance-based energy savings metrics, real-time energy pricing, and developing valuation methods for co-benefits of improved energy performance.

Systems Integration

The coordination within and between energy systems across multiple pathways and scales (e.g., buildings, campuses, cities, whole regions) to optimize energy in real-time, achieving greater energy savings than component-focused efforts.

Systems Efficiency Initiative Materials

Real-Time Energy Management

Real-Time Energy Management is the modulation of energy use according to real-time conditions on the grid, allowing for a more meaningful optimization of supply and demand, and creating benefits such as cost savings and emissions reductions.

Integration/Optimization Across the Meter

Active Efficiency tools and strategies can modulate both energy demand (i.e., “behind the meter”) and supply, leading to a more comprehensive energy optimization.

Case Study
Shaving Peaks & Energy Costs

Consumer-first Design

The prioritization of consumer needs – such as affordability, convenience, and a seamless user experience – in an efficiency program, project, product, or recommended practice.

Steep Emissions Reductions

If optimally deployed, the full suite of measures in the Active Efficiency toolbox will contribute to the steep greenhouse gas emissions reductions required before mid-century to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

Equitable, Accessible Energy Costs

Nearly one-third of U.S. households struggle to meet energy needs. Well-designed Active Efficiency strategies can support equitable and affordable energy systems that are critical for low-income, minority, and other underserved communities to thrive.

Better Quality of Life and Service

Integrating Active Efficiency strategies in energy management can deliver enhanced health, comfort, and other benefits to occupants as a result of improved indoor air quality, temperature regulation, and noise levels in the built environment.

Active Efficiency Collaboration cube illustration

Active Efficiency in Action

The best way to understand the value of Active Efficiency is to see it in action. There are many examples that demonstrate the potential of Active Efficiency. Between the economic, social, and environmental benefits, the hard work that goes into making these examples successful is something to be celebrated.

Beneficial Electrification

Beneficial electrification – transitioning end-uses powered by fossil fuels to electricity in circumstances where certain benefits are achieved – is a major trend that is accelerating in energy markets across the world.

Performance-Based Utility Programs

Performance-based utility programs are utility energy efficiency programs that deliver energy savings and/or demand flexibility by providing incentives for measured and verified energy and demand reductions over a specified time period.

Latest News

Alliance To Save Energy Pushes To Accelerate ‘Active Efficiency’

The Latest NewsKeep up-to-date with the latest in  Active Efficiency.12/02/20 Alliance To Save Energy Pushes To Accelerate ‘Active Efficiency’ WASHINGTON – The Alliance to Save Energy’s Active Efficiency Collaborative on Wednesday released a series of reports and case...

What Could Digitalization Achieve In The Power Sector?

The Latest NewsKeep up-to-date with the latest in  Active Efficiency.11/12/20 ~ Bryan Friehauf, EVP, Global Head of Enterprise Software, Hitachi ABB Power Grids What Could Digitalization Achieve In The Power Sector? Active Efficiency seeks to optimizes energy use with...

Saving Energy In Buildings When Nobody Is In Them

The Latest NewsKeep up-to-date with the latest in  Active Efficiency. 09/30/20 ~ Alan Meier, Adjunct Professor at UC Davis in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy and a faculty researcher at the UC Davis Energy and Efficiency Institute.  Saving Energy In...

Enabling Active Efficiency Through Digitalization

The Latest NewsKeep up-to-date with the latest in  Active Efficiency.09/01/20 ~ Sagarika Subramanian, Research and Strategic Initatives Intern, Alliance to Save Energy  Enabling Active Efficiency Through Digitalization In a matter of decades, digital technologies have...

Introducing The Active Efficiency Collaborative.

The Latest NewsKeep up-to-date with the latest in  Active Efficiency.09/20/19 We Need To Reimagine Energy Efficiency For The Evolving Digital Age. Introducing The Active Efficiency Collaborative. Wherever we use energy, we have choices that enable us to use it more...