The Journey to Energy Excellence – Part 3
By Treena Hein
Step 3: Developing a Sustainable Energy Plan – Many companies believe the procurement of energy is the only viable option to control energy costs. Although an effective purchasing strategy is important, this is only part of the equation.
Once the energy is purchased, if usage is not carefully monitored and controlled, the initial purchasing savings disappear quickly through preventable, wasteful consumption.
In addition to the cost savings and environmental benefits that result from minimizing energy usage, ‘a culture of conservation’ can certainly enhance corporate image.
To begin managing energy effectively, start with a Sustainable Energy Plan (SEP).
What is a Sustainable Energy Plan?
A SEP is a company-wide strategy, with both a business and technical focus, for reducing costs. These cost savings are achieved through simple management practices, often requiring little to no investment.
A successful plan typically incorporates customized strategies for procurement, conservation & demand management, and perhaps most importantly, making links with all organizational activities.
Historically, energy has been addressed within organizations as strictly a technical issue. Although technical insight is absolutely essential when making energy decisions, decision-making has lacked a business acumen and focus through this exclusively technical approach.
A strictly technical approach will also lead to strictly technical solutions, usually requiring capital investment. However beneficial the proposed solutions might be, this capital hurdle can be insurmountable and can effectively stall progress. Even if capital projects are approved, the projected savings are not necessarily proven or continual.
The key to success is involving a variety of technical and business personnel in the energy management process, ensuring the organizational integration of energy and the achievement of sustained results.
Yes, a SEP can be bought or you can simply copy a competitor’s plan, but for the plan to have any value, it must be created internally. Creating the plan in-house ensures that all team members take ownership of the plan and subsequently, energy awareness is raised throughout the organization.
With a variety of people involved in energy initiatives, measurable savings are achieved, energy usage is minimized and organizational objectives are met. To put an end to the excuses for inaction and failure to implement energy initiatives, remember the optimal place to begin.
The starting point for this team approach is the development of your SEP; your site-specific, internally-created, sustainable plan for managing energy.
David Arkell is the President and CEO of 360 Energy.