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Don’t Miss Energy Efficiency Opportunities

July 28, 2014 By Lacey Miller

Lacey Miller

Remember when energy efficiency was just a whisper?

No, you probably don’t, because that was decades ago! Energy efficiency is not a new concept; it’s not a new idea that you get to use to “disrupt” the built environment. Building energy efficiency is a well-seasoned concept…now, somewhere along the way we decided that efficient meant complicated and expensive and we all got lost.

So, what did we do to get back on track? We began engineering our way out of bad decisions made in the 70s. (Honestly, do you know how old your chiller is?)

Energy engineering is a science and a learned skill. I emphasize “learned” here because we all need to understand that no matter how you chart it, slice it, or dice it, the only people who understand it are engineers. You want to disrupt energy efficiency? You want to change the way projects are proposed and won? Then get past the engineering math and start talking finance!

In a recent Noesis Energy survey, almost half (48%) of energy managers never include options for 3rd party financing – despite the fact that they said 64% of their projects do not get approved because of lack of budget.

You don’t speak finance? Most people don’t, which is why an entire industry is trying to get your attention and make sure your proposals get the green light!

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), along with the Investor Confidence Project (ICP), is literally setting the standard in EE financing so you have a template for that next energy efficiency project proposal. Check out this webinar with Matt Golden, where he details how standardizing the EE project origination process leads to more reliable savings calculations which translate to a higher degree of confidence for all investors, including, and especially for building owners and CFOs.

My company is working to standardize the proposal process, and with our Efficiency Business Proposal (EBP), we are making sure every hole is filled, every question answered, and every proposal complete…with financing! There is a reason the number of EBP’s Noesis has completed continues to grow month over month since we starting offering the service…consultants are starved for a formal, standard process that has more to offer than their old, tired proposals…and the CFO needs that kind of financial-based proposal in order to even consider the project.

The Association of Energy Engineers is now offering the Certified Performance Contracting and Funding Professional certification to “improve the practice of performance contracting and energy project funding and financing by encouraging professionals to partake in a continuing education programs…” The objective is to “raise the professional standards of those engaged in performance contracting and energy project funding and financing.” It’s not just about engineering anymore because you are rarely presenting to a fellow engineer. It’s about the numbers, the cost analysis and ROI because you are almost certainly presenting to the CFO or another decision maker who is more concerned with the bottom line.

Now, I’m not downplaying the need for intelligent engineering solutions. In order for any project to get financing, you must analyze and prove out the analytics. But as the industry grows more and more technical, data in a spreadsheet just isn’t going to cut it.

It’s been reported that since 1990, the number of full-time sustainability and energy managers has increased twenty-fold. There’s an assumption that can be made about the growing importance of energy management in an energy volatile time but what should catch your attention is that also means growth in competition.

Energy efficiency is an estimated $100 billion+ market. It’s not going away and the rapid growth demands that you stand out from the rest. So, toss out your tired proposals and next time you’re in front of the CFO, make an impression with your knowledge of energy efficiency financing.

Lacey Miller is a digital marketing specialist for Noesis Energy.

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