More than 90% of organizations remain committed to (or are increasing) their commitment to sustainability, Lucid found with its spring Sustainability Outlook Survey. Energy management goals go hand in hand with sustainability. But how, exactly, are these organizations achieving them?
The energy management initiatives that are most highly prioritized are building upgrades like lighting, HVAC, and retrofits, the survey showed. These are often considered “low-hanging fruit,” and a good way to begin an energy management program. Much of the world’s existing building stock is decades old and in need of efficiency upgrades, Lucid points out.
The next most common energy initiatives for companies are those that improve data measurement and tracking. “Improving data accuracy and availability can inform and prioritize other energy reduction initiatives, and is therefore a strong starting point for many organizations when creating a formal sustainability commitment,” says Ralf VonSosen, COO with Lucid.
Following building upgrades and data measurement/tracking improvements, companies tend to focus on efforts that use existing infrastructure to figure out more efficient processes for both people and systems. These include improving scheduling, occupant engagement, and peak demand management. They are low-cost measures that don’t require upgrading or installing new systems, but the better use of existing data, Lucid points out.
Another popular area of focus is renewable energy generation, while at the bottom of the scale – in fact, the lowest priority of companies that responded to the Lucid survey – is energy storage.
How Are Companies Doing It?
About a third of respondents reported that a cross-functional committee is responsible for meeting reduction targets at their organization. At most organizations, a combination of energy management (52%) and facilities staff (62%) are involved. Sustainability staff (42%) tends to play a secondary role, with environmental health and safety (14%) as well as finance (12%) playing a role at only a handful of organizations.
Diversity within teams, however, seems to be less important than the alignment between those who set the goals and those responsible for reaching them. Teams responsible for setting goals should work closely with facilities and energy teams to make sure they are realistic, Ralf suggests.
Formal Commitments Help Make It Happen
As many as 85% of the companies surveyed that are working on energy efficiency improvements have commitments in place, whether they are formal or informal, believing that reduction targets keep them on track. Still, a significant 15% of survey respondents have no targets in place.
Establishing energy reduction targets can be a complicated process, which may be why many are still not pinpointing specific goals. So many elements contribute to a company’s energy reduction targets, and announcing specific goals when there are such a variety of factors to take into account can sometimes add complications to an already complicated mix.
Companies wonder: Should energy reduction goals be based on historical building performance information or energy audits? What about choosing science-based targets? For companies that have yet to set specific goals, there is a great opportunity – by formally committing to reduction targets in the energy management industry, says Ralf.
However reduction goals are chosen, teams responsible for setting such goals should work closely with facilities and energy teams to make sure they are realistic, Lucid suggests.
And Then There’s Prioritizing…
While a variety of factors inform the prioritization of energy reduction initiatives at the organizations surveyed, one stood out. More than 75% of respondents said that “business performance/ROI” had significant influence on their projects.
“Comparing this to the lowest ranking factors, brand loyalty and industry recognition, it’s clear organizations are undertaking energy reduction initiatives because sustainability is good for business, not because they seek positive press,” Ralf says.
From setting targets to choosing initiatives to prioritizing projects, the management of energy reduction initiatives can be a complicated matter, to say the least. By understanding how other organizations corral, control, and conquer their energy and sustainability goals, companies can go a long way toward reducing energy use and emissions while improving the bottom line.
Lucid is hosting a webinar to review the findings of its 2017 Top Energy Reduction and Sustainability Tactics Survey and will discuss the top tactics companies are undertaking as they strive towards their energy management goals. Click here for more info.
With almost 20 years in the technology space, Ralf brings leadership experience from small start-ups, as well as large companies such as SAP and LinkedIn. He was instrumental in establishing the energy/utilities vertical at Siebel/Oracle CRM, and most recently was a founding member of LinkedIn’s sales solutions business unit. Ralf holds a B.S. in Finance from Brigham Young University, and a MBA from the University of Utah.