Looking for ways to optimize energy use can be challenging for many organizations. To help them reduce energy waste, maximize efficiency, decrease operating costs, and lower carbon emissions, Prism Engineering has developed a “Treasure Hunt,” also known as an Energy Scan process, as part of our Strategic Energy Management (SEM) framework. The goal of a Treasure Hunt is to empower staff to identify operational opportunities for energy savings or Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs) through an on-site walk of processes and systems, as seen in Figure 1.

“During the Treasure Hunt, the team looks for new energy savings ‘treasures’ to implement and opportunities to reduce energy costs. It can be a great way to identify and implement quick wins to kickstart or re-invigorate the organization’s energy savings journey,” explains Shannon Hardman, Strategic Energy Management (SEM) Coach at Prism Engineering.

“Participants are encouraged to ask why processes and procedures are completed the way they are and if changes could be made to reduce energy and costs. The output of the Treasure Hunt is a list of low-cost opportunities to implement as a team in the short to medium term,” she adds.

The Treasure Hunt activity also offers companies the opportunity to:

  • Better understanding of energy use
  • Engage staff in conversations about energy use
  • Drive a culture of continuous improvement and cross-team collaboration
  • Help drive energy and carbon reductions

Graphic illustrating a Treasure Hunt Map

Figure 1: Prism coaches facilitating a Treasure Hunt at an industrial facility in Vancouver.

How does it work?

The Treasure Hunt activity has three phases: Preparation, the Event, and Follow-Up.


The organization’s Energy Team and Prism coach work together to confirm the scope of the activity and logistics for the day of the Treasure Hunt and review any data that could inform the process, such as site maps, equipment registers, process flow diagrams, and previous energy studies.

The Event

The Treasure Hunt is typically designed as a 4- to 6-hour on-site activity, including a Kick-Off Meeting, a Site Tour, and a Tour Debrief. When touring the facility, the team follows a 3-step Strategic Energy Management (SEM) process to identify ECMs that includes:

Step 1: Minimize Waste.
Step 2: Maximize Efficiency.
Steps 3-6: Optimize the Supply.

Prism 6-Step Deep Retrofit Approach Diagram

Here is a snapshot of some low-cost opportunities identified in a Treasure Hunt:

  • Fix compressed air leakages in the plant.
  • Close doors in the plant during winter.
  • Upgrade lighting and controls in offices.
  • Utilize welding fume extraction snorkels in welding bays to minimize overall ventilation.
  • Insulate pipe for hot water tank lines.
  • Update the procedures for equipment that is to be turned off during idle or non-production times.

As a passionate advocate of Treasure Hunts, Shannon acknowledges that participants typically come into the session slightly unsure and reserved. However, as new saving opportunities are identified, the atmosphere quickly shifts into excitement.

“They value seeing their facility with a new and focused lens. The total number of opportunities that get identified often surprises the client,” she says.

Prioritize and Follow Up

After the Treasure Hunt, the organization’s Energy Team works with one of our Prism Coaches to prioritize ECMs for implementation. A refined list of prioritized potential projects is delivered at the end of the day.

“The Treasure Hunt can be completed annually as a way to continue to get buy-in and engagement on identifying and eliminating energy waste,” recommends Shannon.

SEM Programs

Prism is uniquely qualified to run SEM programs. From design to implementation, we work with organizations to develop energy teams and leadership engagement strategies. Our holistic approach to energy management is focused on technical initiatives and organizational and behavioural change to achieve energy efficiency.

Learn more about some projects developed by our Strategic Energy Management team:

Colliers | Operators Training Results in $140,000 in Energy Savings
Thompson Rivers University | SEM through ISO 50001
Vancouver Community College | Energy Management and Upgrades