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State Spotlight: Maryland

A Comprehensive and Centralized State Energy Database Helps Maryland Reach Its Energy Efficiency and Conservation Goals


Maryland centralized energy data tracking and contracted with a third party to create the State Energy Database with a dedicated energy data program manager position to oversee the contract and manage data tracking and analysis. As a result, Maryland achieved a cumulative energy reduction of 25% from 2008 to 2019 and leveraged the State Energy Database to establish block and index pricing contracts that resulted in $5.65 million in savings for the state in Fiscal Year 2019.[1]

Goal: Achieve a 15% reduction in per capita electricity consumption and peak demand by 2015 and reduce energy intensity by 20% by 2020 from a 2008 baseline across the state agency building portfolio.

Barrier: Disparate management of energy and assets across organization.

Solution: Centralized energy data tracking, contracted with a third party to create the State Energy Database with a dedicated energy data program manager position to oversee the contract and manage data tracking and analysis.

Outcomes: Leveraged the State Energy Database to achieve a cumulative energy reduction of 25% from 2008 to 2019 and established block and index pricing contracts that resulted in $5.65 million in savings for the state in Fiscal Year 2019.[2]


The State Buildings Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act of 2006 (SB267) committed the Maryland State Government to reduce energy consumption 5% by 2009 and 10% by 2010. The Act required the Department of General Services (DGS) to track and report on energy reduction across all state government facilities. Consistent with SB267, the EmPOWER Maryland Energy Efficiency Act of 2008 (HB 374) established a statewide goal of achieving a 15% reduction in per capita electricity consumption and peak demand by 2015. It also committed the government to lead by example and improve transparency. In addition, Maryland voluntarily joined the Department of Energy's Better Buildings® Challenge and committed to reduce energy consumption by 20% by 2020 from a 2008 baseline across 9 million square feet of state properties.

With energy procurement dispersed across 16,000 utility accounts, 58 state agencies, and 120 accounts payable departments, simply gathering all of the utility information into one place presented a challenge. Maryland chose to develop a centralized approach to utility management, which allowed it to not only identify energy efficiency opportunities, but also allowed it to track success in achieving its goals.

Implementation Strategy

DGS centralized energy data tracking under the purview of the Office of Energy Performance and Conservation. DGS contracted with a third party to create the State Energy Database and created a dedicated energy data program manager position to oversee the contract and manage data tracking and analysis.

Organizational Structure

Given the size of the state's portfolio and the number of accounts payable offices responsible for utility billing, compliance with statewide tracking and reporting requirements placed a significant burden on the 58 state agencies and 120 accounts payable offices. To improve compliance with reporting, DGS created a centralized structure for collecting and tracking utility bill data, which also facilitated the state's ability to employ a data-driven approach to energy efficiency and conservation. In 2008, DGS commissioned a Comprehensive Utility Records Management Services contract with a third-party vendor, BITHGroup Technologies, Inc. (Bith), to implement the central energy database. In 2013, DGS renewed Bith's contract for an additional 3 years.

In Maryland's organizational structure, the bulk of energy data management is performed at the executive branch level (DGS), releasing the individual agencies from the burden of data entry. To streamline data entry, 16 large utility vendors send 87% of the state's invoices electronically to Bith, and then Bith uploads the data into the central energy database. Other utilities send the state's remaining invoices (13%) to state agencies using paper billing. State agencies retain the responsibility for receiving, approving, and paying these invoices (Figure 1). DGS requires individual agencies to track and confirm their own data. Each agency has an appointed agency energy coordinator who is the main point of contact for all energy-related issues.

Flow chart showing Maryland's energy data flow from utilities to a third party contractor to an energy database to the energy coordinator and account payable offices.

Figure 1. Maryland's energy data flow and management structure (graphic provided by Maryland)

Third-Party Services

As the third-party vendor, Bith provided the manpower to create and populate the extensive State Energy Database. Work on the Comprehensive Utility Records Management Services contract began in January 2008 with three full-time and additional part-time staff dedicated to servicing the contract. In the first phase of the contract, Bith was instrumental in assisting the state in creating a comprehensive list of buildings and other infrastructure to include in the database. It implemented electronic utility data access with the state's largest utilities. In addition, Bith developed and maintained a transparent web-based database, which was available to 300 staff across state agencies. Under Bith's $1.1 million annual contract, it processed about 12,000 invoices per month. The State Energy Database includes more than one million invoices for over 22,000 utility accounts.

Comprehensive Utility Records Management Services

  • Compiled and maintained the State Energy Database
  • Streamlined access to data through implementation of electronic data transfer of utility billing data from large utility companies
  • Provided, maintained, and hosted a web-based, internal and public-facing energy management platform, including user training, quality control services, and a database.

Compiling and Maintaining a Comprehensive Energy Database

The contract with Bith began with a push to compile the state's energy-using assets and populate the tracking database. Bith worked directly with energy coordinators in individual state agencies to reconcile account information under their purview, organize the hierarchy of buildings and other energy-using assets, and populate the database with at least 2 years of baseline cost and consumption data.

Streamlining Data Access

Bith managed the data for all of the state's utility accounts, which include electric, natural gas, fuel oil, propane, domestic water and sewer, district steam, and district chilled water accounts. Bith received 87% of the state's total utility data directly from 16 of the largest utility vendors via electronic data interchange (EDI) and consolidated billing. An average of 16,360 accounts per month received electronic billing data directly from the vendor. The remaining 13% of bills are received in hardcopy or scanned copy directly from the agencies and require manual processing; the majority of these are from water and sewer vendors. Invoice records in the database also included scanned PDFs of agency invoices.

Providing, Maintaining, and Hosting the Energy Management Platform

The State Energy Database uses EnergyCAP software that has the capability to run audits to identify billing errors and usage anomalies. The tool is accessible via a web portal to individual agencies for tracking asset energy use. To ensure database security, Bith maintained a disaster recovery plan. In addition to daily system back up, the plan provided for recovery at an offsite location in the event of a disaster. The public-facing portion of the State Energy Database was also built using EnergyCAP and displays energy consumption and cost data for the entire portfolio of state-owned assets.

Energy Data Program Manager

After initial implementation of the contract, DGS realized that the size and complexity of the project necessitated a dedicated data manager. In 2013, DGS hired an energy data program manager to oversee the contract and serve as the main point of contact for the State Energy Database.

Energy data program manager:

  • Main point of contact between central office and state agencies
  • Manages contracts and recommends improvements
  • Bill audits, data analysis, and follow up on identified issues
  • Creates opportunities for engagement with the database and raises public awareness of the state government's accountability.

The data manager served as a liaison between the central office and state agencies. The manager's responsibilities included oversight of reporting across all agencies, maintaining contractor accountability, resolving issues with new contracts, and facilitating staff training on the energy management tool.

The data manager also worked with Bith's Quality Control services to contact the appropriate agency promptly to address any billing issues and usage anomalies. The manager met biweekly with Bith to review all current action items the team had identified. Any audits were reviewed quarterly. Audits included flagging accounts that fell outside of an acceptable monthly variance in usage or cost and missing bill reports that resulted in gaps in billing periods (Figure 2).

Flow chart showing Maryland's bill validation process.

Figure 2. Maryland's bill validation process (graphic provided by Maryland)


The State Energy Database supports a number of initiatives and business functions for the state, including:

  • Comprehensive tracking of the state's energy consumption and progress toward meeting state goals
  • Targeting and prioritization of energy efficiency opportunities
  • Increased operational efficiency
  • Measurement and verification of the efficacy of energy projects
  • Agency engagement through the Maryland Energy Cup
  • Cost savings due to more efficient electricity and natural gas procurement for the state.

Comprehensive Tracking of the State's Energy Consumption

The centralized State Energy Database houses asset-level monthly energy cost and consumption data that facilitates evaluation of the energy performance of assets in Maryland's portfolio.

Maryland's Centralized and Comprehensive State Energy Database
  • Public-facing interface displays facility-level energy and cost data
  • Tracks commodities from 124 vendors (e.g., electricity, gas, oil, propane, water, sewer, steam, and chilled water)
  • Tracks energy-using facilities for 58 state agencies (e.g., buildings, traffic lights, stadiums, hospitals, fisheries, university campuses, and so on)
  • Includes over 22,000 accounts (16,128 active) with over 1 million total invoices
  • Contains 6 years of monthly consumption data
  • Gathers data from 120 accounts payable offices
  • Provides access to data to more than 300 users with log-in rights.

Using the State Energy Database to identify energy efficiency projects and monitor its progress, the Maryland State Government achieved its Better Buildings Challenge goal in 2015, 5 years ahead of schedule. Since that time, Maryland has continued to make progress. As of 2019, Maryland reduced its cumulative energy consumption by 25% from a 2008 baseline year (Figure 3). The State Energy Database has become integral to day-to-day operations. Staff have indicated they can no longer envision success without it.

Line graph showing Maryland's energy usage reducing over eight years.

Figure 3. Maryland Better Buildings Challenge energy savings

Operational Efficiency

The Bith contract achieved the complex task of centralizing energy data management for Maryland. Given the magnitude of the data collection task alone, the state would need a significant number of additional support staff, including technical experts and IT support, for data management without the Bith contract. The third-party service has allowed the state to devote more resources toward energy efficiency projects and renewable energy contracts and has led to improved decision-making around deregulated energy purchasing and demand response.

Energy Projects Measurement and Verification

Internal measurement and verification on 21 energy saving performance contracts demonstrated savings of $21.3 million and 130,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually, with an estimated total savings of $310 million throughout the life of the contracts. To confirm actual savings through these contracts, DGS used baseline data from historical data housed in the database.

Agency Engagement Through the Database and Maryland Energy Cup

DGS used the State Energy Database to engage 16 of the state's top energy consuming agencies in annual energy competitions. Former Governor O'Malley recognized a number of agencies for their efforts to reduce energy consumption at the 2014 Maryland Energy Cup. The State Highway Administration (SHA) was recognized for the highest total reduction in electricity use (28%) since 2008. To reduce energy consumption in its buildings, SHA used a combination of an energy-saving performance contract and an individual energy efficiency project (Figure 4). In addition, SHA converted all of its highway signs and 3,000 traffic lights statewide to light-emitting diode (LED) lamps. Other agencies were recognized for demonstrating the highest level of participation with the database. Agencies were ranked in terms of energy reduction from 2008 to the end of Fiscal Year 2013. The ranking allowed DGS to assist agencies with strategies that would realize additional energy savings.

Bar charts showing four building's electricity usage over four years.

Figure 4. Maryland State Highway Administration annual electricity consumption in four buildings from July 2011–June 2014

The transparency of the state's energy usage and consistency in reporting to the governor were two major incentives for agencies to improve their energy performance. The combination of the database and the agency competition was an effective strategy for tracking performance and recognizing success.

Cost Savings Due to More Efficient Electricity and Natural Gas Procurement for the State

In conjunction with the University System of Maryland, DGS developed an electricity purchasing strategy for the state government using the historical usage and rate class information on utility accounts in the State Energy Database. The information in the database allowed DGS to leverage the combined purchasing power of the state (1.5 billion kWh per year) and group similar rate classes for block and index pricing contracts. This resulted in $5.65 million in savings for the state in Fiscal Year 2019[3] (Figure 5).

Bar chart showing 2013's electricity and natural gas savings.

Figure 5. Fiscal Year 2019 block and index commodity purchasing savings (Millions $)

In addition, electricity is purchased through periodic reverse auctions. A successful auction in summer 2011 saved the state approximately $11 million over the 3-year term of the contract.

Eliminating DGS's dependence on accounts payable for timely delivery of utility billing data has significantly reduced the burden on individual agencies. Uploading data into a central database has provided the ability to "roll-up" data for the entire state and has improved transparency and accessibility for other stakeholders. The State Energy Database facilitates timely oversight of energy data and maximizes energy and cost savings for the state.

Note: The information in this case study is based on primary research conducted in 2013-2014. Learn more about the guide's research and development.

To learn more about optimizing your organizational structure for energy data management, see see Step 6.