Every industry has a set of “must-follow” rules that require adherence (more or less) to achieve better performance. And the corporate sustainability industry is no different. In fact, in an expanding industry, these rules may change slightly due to the evolving business as it pertains to emerging energy technology. Analytics is usually the stepping-stone towards moving towards a successful energy management program that results in better efficiencies to optimize your building (and team) performance. So let’s take a look at your “Big Three Golden Rules.”
1. Find your energy baseline. How can you succeed without knowing where to start? After all, any journey starts with the first step, right? But accuracy (true accuracy) is key. So follow these steps to get an accurate assessment of where you are now. This requires team building, consensus, and yes, probably quite a few meetings. Your to-do list:
a. Designate a team – get the stakeholders involved
b. Institute a formal energy policy. And publicize it
c. Collect current energy data and establish benchmarks. You need to know your current situation.
d. Assess performance. How are you doing now?
e. Determine scope. What can actually get done, realistically?
f. Estimate potential for improvement. As always this requires achievable improvement, set to a timeline.
g. Set the goals. What can get done based on company horsepower – both systems and personnel wise?
2. Plot your journey, (And it’s a good journey!) As we said above, any journey starts with a first step. Here’s what we recommend:
a. Appoint a leader. Every team needs a coach, or the team goes in different directions and responsibilities get muddied. That costs time.
b. Give them authority to lead. A leader is just that – a leader. Buy-in from the team to adhere to directive and make commitments to follow instruction is what makes a leader effective.
c. Give the team bandwidth to perform. Anything that’s made a secondary priority gets secondary-style work performance. A specific amount of time and resource will accelerate end-goal and performance. This is one of the most overlooked parts of a work strategy. Time not only equals money, it equals quality as well.
d. Set members across the organization. Working in a bubble will cause unnecessary “misses” and will overlook important factors. A full-scale oversight team – from corporate, line-level, building management, and even contracted workers, should at least be in the know, if not actively involved.
e. Consensus. Buy-in must be total. Enough said. Everyone on the same page.
3. Set goals and stick to them – no matter how difficult. Here’s where the journey begins. But your first step is setting your goals and timeline, and working backwards to give plenty of time to make these deadlines. Remember – rushing a deadline means shoddy work. Garbage in, garbage out.
a. Set the scope. How wide reaching will your energy plan be? Will you start in one facility and location and grow sideways? Implement all at once? When will the purchase/analysis for equipment and software happen? How will progress reports be done? What is the first marker for success? What do you do first? All these tasks need to be set to a timeline and distributed to? But most important? Know your parameters.
b. Estimate potential for improvement. Let’s face it. Being realistic can be an eye opener. Improvements can be done incrementally and can help prioritize upgrades and success metrics. “Hey, we got from A to B ahead of schedule!” is a good refrain to hear.
c. Establish clear (and achievable) goals. What is it you plan on accomplishing? Is it a numeric or qualitative goal? Knowing your current baseline will help you determine an achievable goal to work towards. One main goal can be comprised of many smaller goals to get there. Look at it as an inverse pyramid. The base is the smaller goals that lead to achieving bigger goals, which lead to the top-line achievement – usually a new benchmark for efficiency, etc.
d. Announce and post these goals! The more top-of-mind, the better the performance.
There is much, much more to learn – and you should learn it! Data collection, action, benchmarking, observation, teamwork, leadership task force creation, group buy-in, timeline, implementation…nothing happens in a vacuum. Energy management can provide huge savings and can profoundly affect not only the bottom line, but employee performance too.