Energy Management – A Board Issue (Part 2) – Strategy
In Part One I discussed bringing energy management to the board and why you should (for a review click here). Of course the board won’t listen if you don’t have a plan. You need a strategy and a plan to implement it.
There are steps a company can take to make energy reduction a key strategy in business today.
1.Employ a qualified energy manager or engage a specialist company to assist in developing your energy strategy
Developing energy efficiency solutions needs to be carefully overseen. If you can’t employ a dedicated energy manager, at the very least energy management should be outsourced in order to plan and maintain any energy reductions and efficiencies. There are often ongoing support programs too from local state and federal government.
2. Understand the energy use of your company
Understanding the use and mix of energy (electricity, gas, fuel etc.) in your organisation is important if your procurement strategy is to be effective. It is also critical in improving energy productivity. Remember Part 1? What’s your energy use or cost to revenue?
3. Develop an energy management plan
An energy management plan is critical in driving efficiencies, cost reduction, sustainability and realising energy productivity gains and it must be linked throughout the organisation. Procurement, Operations, HS&E, Facilities and even an appointed Board member should be involved in the development and understanding of an effective energy management plan. Not sure where to start? Engage an organisation to assist in its development. The plan however must eventually be owned internally to be truly effective.
4. Understand the energy use of your supply chain
Energy is much more than a simple number on a P&L or hidden property cost. It is an input cost to your business. In every link in the chain energy leaves its mark. Your suppliers may be exposed to energy cost rises and these costs will be passed on to customers – is that you?
5. Provide training in energy consumption across the organisation
Energy efficiency can often be based around 40:20:40 ratios. 40% of energy efficiency is achieved by technological asset upgrades, 20% by control systems and 40% by behaviour change. Of course this may vary from industry to industry and company to company however many companies ignore behaviour change even though it is the simplest and cheapest option. Every employee uses energy in some form or another. Energy use is not hierarchical.
An energy management plan is more than just a piece of paper. For engaged and progressive organisations it is a path to continuous improvement. It’s adopting the Plan Do Check Act philosophy of the ISO 50001 Energy Management Standard. Isn’t it time you did too?
Again my thanks go to Lord Redesdale of the Energy Managers Association of the UK for the permission to use and reproduce portions of The Board and Director Guide to Energy Reduction used in this article. Further articles of interest can be found at http://www.theema.org.uk/.
Article written by Robert Nicholson – Technical Director (Energy Services)