The NISE! Approach: M5 - A Comprehensive Pathway to Energy Efficiency

The NISE! Energy Conservation Methodology: M5

Energy conservation is about more than what happens to the buildings in which we live and work; it is also about what happens inside them as homeowners, renters, office tenants and others pursue their daily lives. NISE! has developed and is implementing a new, comprehensive model for energy conservation that combines traditional weatherization methods, emerging technology and behavioral science to advance energy conservation to a new level of efficiency. It has five components that work as an integrated energy conservation system and we call it M to the 5th Power: Mitigation, Measurement, Management, Modification and Moderation.

As indicated in the chart below, the NISE! approach advances energy efficiency by going beyond the sole use of technology and integrating it with advances in behavioral science to change energy consuming behavior.

The NISE! M5 Model - Going Beyond Technology
Mitigation. Eliminate, substitute and add materials and devices

Measurement. Collect, analyze, report and share data

Management. Efficiently control and adjust devices and appliances

Modification. Change energy consuming behavior

Moderation. Maintain and extend energy saving behavior
  Mitigation1 Measurement2 Management3 Modification4 Moderation5
  • To reduce the severity of energy use.
  • To collect and process data.
  • To efficiently control energy consuming appliances, devices and systems.
  • To change energy consuming behavior.
  • To maintain and improve energy saving behavior.
Focus and Methods
  • Elimination of unnecessary appliances and devices.
  • Substitution of less efficient appliances and devices with more efficient ones.
  • Addition of new energy saving appliances and devices.
  • Collection of data.
  • Reporting of energy use.
  • Sharing of information.
  • Controlling of energy using appliances, devices and systems.
  • Adjusting usage to be more efficient.
  • Improve energy saving behavior:
    • Homeowner
    • Renter
    • Office Tenant
  • Maintenance of new behavior.
  • Expansion of behavior to other applications.

NISE! and Residential Energy Usage

The initial objective of our Energy Conservation Initiative was to find the most effective and low cost solution for conserving residential energy usage. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts helped us do it.

We studied consumer behavior, available technology, changing life styles and environmental factors. This led to the development or our innovative solution for homeowners who want to gain better control of their energy usage and lower their energy budget.

As part of its effort to be a national leader in renewable energy and energy efficiency, Massachusetts launched the Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) to further innovative thinking in these areas. In the search for the most promising new business models to tackle energy conservation in residential homes MassCEC found NISE! and awarded a grant which was used to further our Energy Conservation Initiative.

NISE! and Property Management

Our partnership with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that began with the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center has also helped us to develop new business models that go beyond addressing energy conservation in owner occupied homes. The NISE! M5 Energy Conservation System has been further developed to be used as an effective property management strategy for reducing utility costs. As such it can be utilized to reduce energy costs in buildings where people control the use of energy, but do not directly pay for the cost of most or all of it. For example:

  • Publicly Assisted Housing. In Massachusetts, as in many other places, tenants who live in publicly assisted housing often do not directly pay for their utilities when they do control the settings on their thermostats.
  • Multifamily Rental Housing. As in the example above, many renters living in multifamily housing control the use of their energy, but pay for only some or none of its costs.
  • Commercial Office Buildings. In commercial offices employees of tenants consume energy through the use of office lighting, computers and other equipment at their own discretion. However, in many cases the variable costs of these uses of energy may not be borne by the tenants.

In these cases, we help property managers reduce energy costs by utilizing the components of the M5 Energy Conservation System that focus on modifying human behavior to support conservation and maintaining such behavior over time.