Energy Efficiency in the Small Business Sector: A Decade of Lessons Learned


Policies aimed at saving energy and reducing the climate impact of the commercial building sector are generally directed at the largest buildings. This is a vital approach for focusing frontline efforts where they will have the biggest impact, but there is a strong case to be made for concurrent efforts in the small and medium business sectors. The Community Energy Challenge is a non-profit program in Northwestern Washington that has tackled this by providing energy management services to a large portfolio of smaller businesses. Helping business owners access the information and resources that larger companies often have dedicated facilities staff to provide has allowed the program to achieve meaningful energy savings over 10 years operating in the region. Only 6% of the buildings in Washington are over 50,000 square feet and therefore subject to the new Clean Buildings for Washington Act. The Community Energy Challenge has spent the last decade learning all about the challenges, opportunities, and best practices associated with small and medium commercial energy management and the potential for such efforts to achieve meaningful greenhouse gas reductions while stimulating local economies.


Emily Kubiak, CEM
Energy Advisor and Program Coordinator
Sustainable Connections


Emily Larson Kubiak works at Sustainable Connections, a non-profit that connects, educates, and supports local businesses to create thriving communities. She has worked in the energy efficiency field since 2009 and achieved her CEM certification in 2016. In her current role as Energy Advisor and Program Coordinator, Emily performs commercial energy audits at local businesses and supports Sustainable Connections’ Energy Efficiency and Renewables Program. She is excited to help people find the sweet spot between reducing environmental impact and increasing well-being!