For every $1 of energy cost saved, a typical US business would have to make $10 worth of extra sales
to make the same additional profit.
Energy costs will continue to
rise. (Of course they will fluctuate
over time but the overall trend is upwards.) This means that energy is likely
to become an increasing burden and an increasing proportion of total costs. If
energy costs are not important to you now … just wait!
All energy usage involves
waste. We all know about hot pipes producing
warm spaces but waste occurs throughout all energy systems. The best systems use measures to minimise
this waste but it occurs nevertheless.
This waste reduces your business profits. All businesses should be
striving to ensure that the percentage of energy that is wasted is as small as
it can practicably be.
Energy usage, as we know,
also contributes to CO2 emissions. The regulatory regime relating to carbon
emissions will get tougher …. So, as part of your energy management activity,
it makes sense to address your ‘carbon footprint’ … though the main reason is
to save money and increase profit!
So, how do we set about
establishing an energy management strategy … that works!
The first stage is to
commit! All approaches to business
improvement suggest that commitment from top management is crucial … because it
is. Managers have to commit if they
expect otherwise to commit. So …
policy which you mean – and share that policy widely
make a senior
manager the ‘energy champion’
management to the agenda for key meetings.
The sayings “You get what you
measure” and “What gets measured, gets done” reflect a universal truth. If staff know their results in certain directions
are measured and noted, they are much more likely to strive to move those
measures in the right direction. So,
find out what measures you currently have (and are not using) and then work out
what measures you need to:
your significant energy costs are incurred
unexpected or exceptional usage
and costs against previous years
Compare usage and
costs across different sites, plants or offices
When you decide what measures
you need, construct a plan to make them available and to make sure they are
presented regularly and in easily-accessible and understandable form.
Energy costs do vary from
different suppliers and with different tariffs from the same supplier. Find out
if you can buy and/or use fuel at times which make it cheaper. Similarly, work
out if your pattern of business creates peak energy demands which affect what
Consider alternative forms of energy
Is it technically and
financially feasible to use fuels or energy sources that can reduce your
liability to pay the Climate Change Levy.
These would include renewable energy sources and, where sufficient heat
demand exists, Combined Heat and Power systems.
Walk the Talk
Make senior – and middle –
managers take a regular ‘energy walk’ around the parts of the business for
which they are responsible … to see what happens ‘on the ground’ (as distinct
from on the plan) and identify energy management issues or opportunities. Do this at different times of the day and
week so that you see things which happen occasionally.
Combine all the above (having
taken external advice and help if appropriate) into an energy management
strategy and action plan with clear targets and with clear processes for
execution, monitoring and review … especially checking your (lower) energy