Making Energy Efficiency Work for You

November 5, 2014 By Christopher Gleadle

Christopher Gleadle

I do not believe there is anyone in business that would deny the potential financial benefits of energy efficiency that can accrue within an organization. Yet, time and again, experience shows suboptimization of the multiple cost-reduction and growth opportunities available, due to poor understanding of measurement, its analysis and connectivity. What gets measured (badly) gets managed (badly).

Indeed, it is universally acknowledged that getting cost cuts to prevail over the long term has always been a problem, as well as a struggle to apply maintenance to any reductions over time. Additionally, there is a lack of motivation to conduct a robust examination of which costs can, and should, be cut. Other times, severe measures are taken to cut costs with unrealistic targets set and no accountability of which cost cuts add or destroy value. Lastly, other cases show the use of inappropriate or incomplete data for tracking costs, leading to missed opportunities and throwing confusion into accountability.

Therefore, to maximize the opportunities from energy efficiency, it is important to think of it as a three-dimensional process. Indeed, energy efficiency must be orchestrated through a sustainably viable focus making efficiency accountable, and treated with the same level of transparency as the financial metrics to make efficiency effective. Also, while investment in low-carbon technologies, or more fuel-efficient fleets, will help reduce energy consumption, resource input and greenhouse gas emissions, the procurement of such technologies must be connected to the sustainable viability of the firm’s primary objectives in order to optimize such investments. This creates greater visibility, inclusion and accountability of sustainable viability across functions and units: it evokes the ability to apply whole life cost analysis of asset ownership, and initiate post project measurement and verification, critical to delivering confidence in current and future energy and resource project savings claims.

Moreover, driving energy efficiency in a holistic manner illustrates the interdependence of all functional areas and units, and shows how they can react with one another to destroy value. Seeing this largely hidden cost and waste allows you to elevate both asset and operational optimization. Hence, it allows ambitious organizations to capture, create and deliver more value and serve customers better.

So to make energy efficiency work for you:

• Understand what the future horizon looks like in terms of accountability life cycle

• Develop clear, material and contextual key performance indicators

• Protect the organization from random efficiency projects

• Create refined communications to capture, create and deliver more value

Christopher Gleadle is author of Sustainable Growth Through Sustainable Business and founder & CEO of the sustainability performance agency  The CMG Consultancy.

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