Lean Operations an Energy Management Perspective

Kristen Parrish1 & Michael Whelton2

1Assistant Professor, Del E. Webb School of Construction, Arizona State University, [email protected]; +1-480-727-6363
2Research Associate, Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub), Pennsylvania State University, [email protected]


The plan-do-check-act (PDCA) cycle underpins many lean principles and offers a paradigm for continuous improvement of design, construction, and operations processes. For the operations phase, the PDCA cycle has traditionally been used to improve operations and maintenance (O&M) processes. As part of these O&M process improvements, facility managers are beginning to implement PDCA as a framework for managing building energy consumption. This exploratory paper discusses the application of PDCA and other lean principles--including transparency, alignment around a common goal, and cross-functional teaming--to energy management. It begins with a discussion of how energy management fits in to the Lean Project Delivery System. It then presents the international standard for energy management, ISO 50001, which is underpinned by PDCA. The authors illustrate the effectiveness of the PDCA cycle for energy management through examples from the literature and their own experience, citing how the PDCA could be implemented in various building types in different markets to achieve energy savings goals. The aim of this paper is to begin a discussion within the IGLC community about how energy management fits into lean operations; the authors explore data required to effectively implement PDCA for energy management and discuss work structuring issues related to energy management. Finally, the paper presents best practices for integrating energy management and PDCA into existing O&M processes.


Sustainability, Energy Management, Lean Operations



Parrish, K. & Whelton, M. 2013. Lean Operations an Energy Management Perspective, 21th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction , 865-874. doi.org/

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