Procurement is a word that is often used when referring to just natural gas and electricity. In actual fact, most businesses are procuring various items at regular intervals every day. In dealing with energy, we not only have to look at procuring the various commodities, but also equipment and services that are needed to go with them.
During the process of procuring equipment or services, it is important to look at life cycle (operating) costs and not just the upfront capital costs of the equipment and related services. This is the holistic approach that any manager will want to see.
When deciding whether to acquire new equipment or not, you need to ask yourself what energy savings can be derived by installing an alternative to what you have now? Is there a premium associated with it, what impacts will this alternative have on your current maintenance costs and production reliability? What risks are involved and are there any incentives available from the government, utilities or associations we belong to?
Where possible, request or state what you are looking for as far as an energy performance requirement of equipment or target for service providers. When commissioning or re-commissioning equipment, confirm it meets or exceeds the performance requirements. If it does not meet the performance requirements, why doesn’t it? Is there something that you can do so that it does? What impact will this then have on the rest of your operations?
When installing or procuring new equipment and services, ensure you understand the impact this has on your energy consumption, so you can factor this into your procurement strategy and activity moving forward.
Keep in mind energy projects, such as new equipment and services, compete with other business opportunities for funding. Planning and preparing for changes will assist in demonstrating a financial return on your energy projects, allowing for them to be implemented quickly and for you to start seeing savings in short order.
Lisa Brodeur is Quality Assurance Supervisor with 360 Energy in Burlington, Ont.
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