RCM Benefits

Resource conservation management can offer your organization short- and long-term benefits. A successful RCM program will:

  • Reduce energy, water, and solid waste costs through low- or no-cost measures.
    Low-cost projects and changes in operations can reduce costs by about 10 percent. Some of the funds that once went to pay for garbage disposal, energy, water, and sewer can be redirected to deferred maintenance programs, an RCM’s salary, and other needs.
  • Track resource use, costs, and revenues promptly.
    Using resource accounting software, your RCM can identify billing errors, select better rate schedules, track down inefficient equipment, locate water leaks, and institute efficient operational procedures. Once established, resource accounting can be used to set savings goals for your organization and forecast resource budgets.
  • Stimulate interest among staff and occupants.
    Efficiency thrives on good communication. RCMs use proven strategies to heighten efficiency awareness among operations staff, management, and occupants.
  • Identify cost-effective capital projects.
    Use resource tracking, facility audits, and an improved understanding of facility operations to identify future investments.
  • Demonstrate responsible resource use to the public.
    Almost everyone can use some good public relations. Use resource tracking tools to document that your organization is carefully and successfully managing resources.
  • Leverage resources.
    Utilities, local government services, state government, and federal agencies all have tools, services and, in some cases, funding that can be used to support your RCM efforts.

Essential Elements of a Successful Program

Successful RCM programs share the following elements. 

Management Commitment

The willingness of management to invest in a resource conservation program is vital to its success. This includes a strong policy that outlines program goals and responsibilities, and highlights management commitment. It is also essential to have a "champion" from the management team who shepherds the RCM's efforts through administrative channels.

Custodial and Maintenance Staff Involvement

The RCM program cannot succeed without the involvement of custodial and maintenance staff, who offer unique insights about how a facility operates. Give them a stake in the program's success by allocating a share of the RCM program savings for deferred maintenance projects, tools, and training.

Recognition of Achievements

The RCM should work with management to establish a program to reward good and results. When presented with appropriate fanfare, awards are powerful motivators.


Resource-use reductions and financial savings will not occur overnight. All involved, from the RCM to maintenance staff to managers, must have patience to allow the work to be done correctly and consistently. Depending on the size of your facilities and your commitment to the program, preparation could take anywhere from one to six months. After that, you can begin to reap the rewards.

Length of an RCM Program

A full-time RCM will have plenty to do for at least two years in an organization that spends a million dollars per year on utility costs. That level of involvement may decline after the resource accounting system is fully operational, facility audits and reports are completed, and facility operating guidelines are instituted.

After three years or so, the RCM's workload may be significantly reduced. By then, the work may focus on data entry and analysis, periodic reports, facility surveys, training/education refreshers, and ongoing occupant and management feedback. 

Sustaining an RCM Program

A sustained effort is needed to maintain the savings identified by the RCM program. At a minimum, this should include:

  • Consistent tracking and analysis of resource consumption and services
  • Monitoring energy purchases and facility operations
  • Monthly or quarterly monitoring of program components, such as recycling efforts
  • Promotion and communication of program status
  • Recognition of efforts