The complex and rapidly changing world of energy management brings many challenges, but one common sentiment that we hear from our clients here at ENGIE Insight is that they all see opportunity. Opportunity to better manage their expenses, reduce their resource usage, and optimize and extend their existing resources to drive down costs and increase operational efficiencies. But, the journey to getting there can be unclear and full of complexities.
Whether you are just beginning on your energy journey, or you’re further down the path and looking for ways to achieve longer-term reduction goals, there are some tried-and-true approaches that can help you hit savings goals and give shape to longer-term energy and sustainability objectives.
Build a Foundation of Actionable Data
Big data is here, and you already have it—data comes into your company from your utility bills, electric smart meter, equipment meters, weather sensors, and energy management systems. The new Internet of Things (IoT) connects all of our devices – in fact, Gartner estimates that by 2020, 25 billion ‘things’ will be connected to the Internet and feeding you data. So, you have the data, but it’s imperative to develop a good system to collect, analyze, and normalize all of it. With this accurate site consumption data, you’ll be able to look for anomalies, assess significant usage changes, and determine where to focus projects for the greatest returns.
Leverage Benchmarked Data to Uncover Savings Opportunities
Good, normalized data allows companies to pinpoint inefficiencies and understand how they are using energy over time. Multi-site companies can compare sites to analyze trends and identify outliers. Pay attention to significant anomalies and ask questions. When there’s an outlier, determine if it’s rate or usage related. If it’s usage, was there a weather impact or is it due to operating procedures in the facility? This will help you determine if it is merely an anomaly or a trend that needs to be addressed.
Use Data to Overcome Internal Barriers to Cost-Savings Initiatives
It’s true that just finding where to start on the path to energy savings can be the biggest obstacle to an energy journey. GameStop, a global retailer of video games, pop culture, and wireless services, was in the same position.
In a recent webinar with the Institute of Management Accountants, Amanda Whitley, Buyer, Global Commodity for GameStop encouraged webinar attendees, saying that, “you don’t need experience in the energy field to get great results for your company—again, it starts with great data. ENGIE Insight helped me leverage our data to build a case for energy management and get people to listen.”
GameStop started by getting company-wide buy-in for energy savings under a unified message: “Power to the Planet.” Amanda found that cost savings were important to upper management, and she worked to make the data more meaningful by equating energy savings to profit (e.g., energy savings = number of video games sold). She also learned that field teams wanted the opportunity to make a difference in the company and have their voices heard.
The company soon established guidelines for energy saving behaviors and educated store associates on what to do in stores and even at home. They also invited associates at every level of the company to send in their ideas for how the company could do even more, and to date, they’ve received more than 300 ideas that could represent an additional 6 percent reduction in energy usage over the next three years.
GameStop has reduced energy usage by 3 million kWh year-over-year since the initiative launched. Organizationally, there is now a better belief in a corporate culture of sustainability at every level.
ENGIE Insight has developed an eBook, ‘The Energy and Sustainability Advantage: A Guide to Identifying Savings, Measuring Consumption and Driving Long-Term Impact’. This eBook provides you with tools to identify a starting point on your energy journey and how to drive powerful results for your business.
Patrick Jones is ENGIE Insight’s expert on everything related to expense management and complex payables. As the Expense Management Product Management Director, he draws on more than 15 years of industry expertise, including vast experience implementing operational software tools and services across telecom, waste and utility spectrums.