Improving the energy efficiency in buildings is an important element of Canada’s federal and provincial energy policy. In Quebec, commercial and institutional property owners and managers are currently going through unprecedented governance, technological and managerial transformation. Many energy management systems and guides are proposed to provide organizations with a framework to improve energy management such that it can increase energy efficiency, reduce costs, improve the building’s energy performance while at the same time reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, many questions persist, such as: how can energy management be integrated into the core organizational management and strategy of an organization? What specific energy management processes can be implemented in an organization? How can the energy function be added into the general building management system?

The aims of this research were: to identify and analyze exemplary energy management practices associated with the implementation of energy management programs by the owners or managers of Quebec’s commercial and institutional buildings; to identify and produce five case studies describing the process of implementing an energy management program in building in Quebec. 

To achieve these aims, we started our research with a review of contemporary approaches for managing energy and a review of published literature. The theoretical framework for this study is the process studies of change in organization and management. We were inspired by the process for explaining development and change in organizations recommended by Van de Ven, A. and Poole S. (1995) and the process for studying organisational change and development recommended by Pettigrew, A., Woodman, R., & Cameron, K. (2001). 

Our paper differs from current studies as we applied the methodology of case studies research (Yin, 2013) with many sources of evidence. It is an opportunity for Quebec’s government as well as for the building owners and managers to learn from case examples, to better understand how to overcome energy management barriers, how to better capture benefits and identify or adopt new energy management practices in order to improve their current energy management system. Finally, this research provides guidelines for building managers in implementing energy management in a context where the improvement of energy efficiency is important but the energy cost is inexpensive and renewable.