In this article I will discuss the fundamentals of energy efficiency and "where to begin". I have been blessed, truly blessed, to have a role where I literally travel the United States and Canada meeting with companies around their need to reduce energy consumption. The consistent theme seems to be inconsistency. Now stop and think about what I just said there. The industry, in regards to Energy Efficiency is fragmented.
On one side you have the energy managers, hard working folks who genuinely are trying to make a difference but who are in an industry overwhelming them with quick fix solutions that do not offer a much needed strategy and approach.
On the other end of the spectrum you have the dealers, companies providing solutions that are guaranteed to do x,y,z.
Now don't get me wrong, my intent is not to be sarcastic. Most of these offerings work, and work quite well I might add. The dilemma is that these offerings only fill part of a great need.
Finally, we have everyone between these two roles, the COO, the constituent, the tenant, and so on. Each with their own specific wants and needs. If you really stop to think about everyone involved in the energy efficiency sphere it can be overwhelming. Heck for me sitting it's almost enough to make me want to stop writing when I realize how many directions this article could branch off into.
Like anything, if we are going to define a holistic strategy then we need a framework. A lot of people come to me and want quick fixes, what can I do to meet my 20% energy spend reduction, give me three steps I can do now to lower my utility usage, ect. ect. Here is the problem with that thinking, one if you simple focus on utility spend reduction you miss the impacts this has upon the rest of your "ecosystem".
I can give you a quick answer but I will be doing you a disservice, truly I will be leading you into fixing one thing but potentially breaking others. Ok, if your like me at this point your screaming for some resemblance of strategy.
Step 1: Why am I doing this?
Ever have someone tell you the why is more important then the how? It's an annoying little question but if you think about it, it actually has merit. If your company came to you and said we need to reduce utility usage so that we can produce more units of x at a lower cost then the why has immediate impact. In this case you probably would not want to reduce utility spend by shutting down your manufacturing line, but you could procure equipment and process elements that are inherently more efficient.
See it's not black and white, the why truly defines the how. So first off understand Why am I doing this.
Step 2: Who am I doing this for?
Step 3: Know thy business
Beginning with "Identify", we will layout our key stakeholders, how to create a fundamental data collection platform, and how to create, communicate, and engage around a business process.