Here are 10 recommendations of what greenhouses can do today to manage energy effectively.
1) Change in mindset. Energy is a variable cost. The days of treating energy as a fixed cost are over.
2) Be proactive. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure. Sound familiar? The same principles apply for energy but are often ignored.
3) Identify your needs. Determine the strengths and weaknesses of your energy management: are there any areas you should be addressing?
4) Prioritize. Companies that don’t are aimlessly throwing darts at their energy issues. How does that sound as a long-term strategy?
5) Develop a sustainable energy plan. Most companies have detailed finance, human resources, and marketing plans. How many of these companies have a comparable strategy for energy? This is a vital document for providing your company with direction, leading to ongoing cost avoidance and/or savings.
6) Education through energy training. Energy management strategies are most effective when all employees are on board. Organizations can successfully motivate their members by demonstrating the measurable benefits of company-wide involvement in energy reduction activities.
7) Study your current processes. A common misconception is that savings are only achieved through large capital expenditures. By evaluating the efficiency of your current project or process, you can determine many savings opportunities and of equal importance, avoid expensive outlays.
8) Improve data accessibility. A lot of companies have all kinds of energy information at their disposal. Unfortunately, it’s either a) inaccessible to the people that need the information or b) not useful due to incomprehensible formatting.
9) Determine your company mix. Just like most recipes consist of a mixture of flour, eggs, and sugar, your energy plan will consist of procurement, reporting, and efficiency strategies. The ingredients are the same for all companies; finding your company-specific blend is the key.
10) Revise and Revisit. There’s no value to an energy plan if it’s filed away and forgotten as soon as it’s completed. Your energy plan is a live document; it must be updated frequently to ensure continuous improvement within your organization.
Dave Arkell is president and CEO of 360 Energy, an energy management and procurement business based in Burlington, Ont., and a partner in the Energy Edge.