RCM Role

Typical Tasks of an RCM

An RCM is designated by an agency to help reduce the use – and associated costs – of energy, water, natural gas, and fuel oil, and reduce solid waste disposal. To accomplish this, the RCM must:

  • Track and analyze energy and water consumption data 
  • Analyze resource use trends (personal behavior and consumption): interview building managers and staff, survey facilities, collect baseline data
  • Establish and/or maintain resource accounting software: identify errors, institute efficient operational procedures, set savings goals, and forecast resource budgets
  • Identify efficiency opportunities
  • Carry out facility audits: document existing equipment, conditions and resource use patterns
  • Prepare energy audit report and develop action plan 
  • Cultivate management and staff support for plan
  • Provide information and training to facility operator and maintenance staff  
  • Develop recognition program that encourages conservation actions  
  • Work with representatives of local utilities, management, staff, and the public to implement all of the above
  • Periodically review and adjust plan

After two to three years in this role, an RCM’s responsibilities shift to monitoring, tracking, and evaluating the plan’s effectiveness. As technology changes, new retrofit projects may arise.

RCM Skills and Tools

A qualified RCM is self-motivated, observant, and thoughtful, and has excellent organizational and communication skills. Knowledge of the agency and broad credibility with staff increase the RCM’s effectiveness. Additional qualifications include:

  • Bachelor degree in environmental science, resource conservation or related field or Associate degree and two years of experience in conservation program or services
  • Understanding of utility rate structure, energy use costs and consumption patterns
  • Strong research and data analysis skills
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills, including report preparation
  • Ability to work with managers, building staff, utility company staff, and the public
  • Ability to motivate facilities and maintenance personnel
  • Strong computer skills, including ability to work with data management software
  • Strong meeting facilitation skills

The RCM needs adequate tools and a structure that supports this effort, such as:

  • An explicit schedule and authority for doing RCM tasks
  • A computer to write reports, build spreadsheets, operate resource accounting software, and communicate with other RCMs
  • Communication tools, including telephone, Internet access, and email
  • Access to tools for measuring performance of facility systems
  • Freedom to move throughout all buildings
  • Access to billing records and building architectural plans

Training Resources

The community colleges and organizations described here offer certification and degrees in energy management and related fields. To add a program to this list, please send a program description to janowitzk@energy.wsu.edu.

Edmonds Community College, Edmonds, WA
Offers a two-year Associate of Technical Arts in Energy Management for people currently working in the industry, seeking entry-level work in the field, or taking on new responsibilities in energy efficiency at their workplace.
Edmonds CC

South Seattle Community College, Georgetown Campus, Seattle, WA
Offers courses that prepare students for national certification programs and for energy and green building fields.
South Seattle CC

Building Operator Certification™ (BOC) is a nationally recognized training and certification program for building operators to improve job skills and develop more comfortable, energy-efficient facilities. Classes are held at various locations.

Northwest Water & Energy Education Institute (NWEEI) at Lane Community College, Eugene, OR
Offers two-year degree programs in energy management, advanced certification for current professionals, and other standard and custom learning opportunities in the energy and building fields.