At first, bringing a business plan to life can seem like an overwhelming process; especially a plan that includes changing the way a company uses energy. This is one of the reasons many executives abandon the idea of an energy efficiency plan.
The daunting question of “Where do we even start?” can be enough to scare executives away from even looking into making the transition to be more energy efficient.
But one of the main reasons executives begin to see energy management as an important part of business is that it can increase cash flow for them. And while there are several other great reasons to consider being an energy efficient company, increasing cash flow is something that every executive can identify with.
Once the process begins, executives will begin to see that planning out a strategy really involves only a few steps.
1. Do a current lifecycle analysis
A lifecycle analysis weighs the cost of execution, operation, maintenance and replacement of the current equipment within the company. In an energy plan, the lifecycle costing equation will give two or more possible approaches and allows the executive team to choose the best approach depending on the goals of the company.
2. Develop key performance indicators (KPI)
Measuring the results of an energy plan is key to successful management. How can you know if something is successful without having something to measure it against? There are several methods of measurement to consider.
The first is benchmarking which includes measuring your progress with energy staror other tools. Benchmarking can compare you to your peers and show you where you can adjust and improve your plan.
The second is with assessments, which involves bringing in a professional energy consultant that can help you assess your current energy usage and help you determine what your goal should be moving forward.
The third and final method to measure KPI’s is with rating systems. By using analytic software, such as Green Globe or LEED, a business can effectively compare expectations with results. The process of predictive analytics tracks the history of energy usage over time to measure effectiveness.
3. Bundle projects together
By monitoring other functions already in place that are using energy, a term called bundling, you may be able to reach more consumers of energy. For example, monitoring HVAC systems can help a business operate at peak efficiency (reducing costs in the process), maintain equipment, and diagnose potential drains on energy. Many smart monitoring systems can be bundled to save up-front costs and expenses later on.
4. Use big data that’s currently available
Much of the big data collected through smart grids, smart meters, and analytic software goes unused by the consumer. However, this data can contain information about how well equipment is performing or whether there are energy efficiency opportunities. Putting the data that is readily available to good use can help turn energy expenses into revenue which can be used to invest in the operation of your business.
When implementing an energy management system, it is important to take a big picture approach. By understanding the operational goals of the company, an energy management professional can recommend the right products and systems to meet the energy goals of the organization as a whole.
This article was originally published on AL.com