Since it's inception, the RTF, as directed by Congress, has provided the Northwest region with consistent and reliable quantification of electric and natural gas energy savings estimates for specific technologies or actions. In support of this mission, the RTF adopts a set of formal Guidelines by which to judge the quality and reliability of savings estimates, costs and benefits, and the lifetimes of RTF measures and protocols. The goal of this guidance is to ensure that various methods of savings estimation will produce savings estimates relative to consistent baselines and of comparable reliability sufficient to meet the needs of regional energy planners. 

The RTF revisits these Guidelines at regular intervals to ensure they are still serving this goal and supporting the region. At it's October 2020 meeting, the RTF approved updates to its Guidelines. You will find the latest version below. Also linked below is a workbook where staff will continue to track outstanding guidelines questions and topics to revisit at a later date. 

Current Guidelines Guidelines Updates Tracker    


Since 2010 the functions and analysis of the RTF have been conducted in accordance with a set of formally approved Guidelines. These guidelines dictate the course of RTF decision making, and have evolved over the years as new topics and problems have come under RTF consideration. 

Past guidelines iterations and related materials can be found here:    RTF Guidelines Archive page  

Recent Changes

In October of 2020 the RTF approved the latest version of its Guidelines. These updates were focused on ensuring consistency in savings reliability across methods including the following significant changes:

  • Custom projects: Emphasized complete and clear documentation to allow replicability of savings estimates, identified guidance documents with more detail on methodologies, underlined the importance of impact evaluations, and provided consistency in baseline approaches with other measures. 
  • Impact evaluation: Provided specific guidance around coverage, frequency, portfolio level confidence and precision, etc. framed around RTF measure types. 
  • Natural gas additions: Expanded to reflect the addition of natural gas efficiency into the RTF charter. This primarily required minor language updates, but also developed a small saver threshold for natural gas measures. 


In January of 2018 the RTF approved a new version of its Guidelines, that included a variety of updates from previous versions primarily centered around RTF decision making. These updates included the following significant changes:

  • Reorganizing the Guidelines for clarity
  • Redefining the term "measure" 
  • Refining the descriptions of savings analysis, with a focus on baselines
  • Updating reliability standards
  • Adding a threshold for small saver measures
  • Refining requirements for remaining useful life
  • Removing the concept of "Provisional" and "Out of Compliance"
  • Revamping the Standard Protocol section
  • Creating a stand alone Impact Evaluation section
  • Clarifying non-energy impact guidance

Related Work

The RTF is always working to evolve and expand upon these Guidelines documents. This has included work around non-energy impacts of energy efficiency and the current practice baseline. The latest focus for the most recent Guidelines update was concerning associated capacity benefits of EE. This updated was prompted by the 7th Plan, which identified energy efficiency as a key resource for meeting the capacity needs of the region and directed the RTF to develop guidelines on a standard methodology for calculating capacity benefits from energy efficiency measures and informing on the quality or reliability of those estimates. 

In 2018 the RTF published a series of memos assessing the load shapes used for the evaluation of the capacity contribution of RTF UES measures. These memos contain a qualitative review of the load shape currently in use for each measure, as well as recommendations for improving the relevant analysis. Those memos and the accompanying presentation are available below. The 2020 Guidelines update included a section focused on these benefits as a result of this work.

Presentation Capacity Load Shape Recommendation Memos 


Check out the subcommittee to get involved in this work and keep up with future guidelines updates.

RTF Guidelines Subcommittee

Individual supporting documents