How to Build an Energy Efficiency Roadmap
For more insights from IGS Energy, visit our Energy Resource Center.
As energy has become a global commodity, increasingly volatile energy markets have led to price fluctuations that can be difficult for businesses to manage. The cost of keeping your business running can be significant, making efforts to run things more efficiently all the more important.
Much has been said (and written) about energy efficiency in the last decade, but the reality is, taking the first step toward improving the efficiency of your facility or facilities is simple: Figure out where you are today.
Only after establishing a benchmark for your current energy usage can you successfully implement an energy efficiency strategy for your organization.
Here, I’ve outlined a roadmap for building a foundation for energy efficiency – a plan I’ve seen implemented effectively at large and small businesses.
Step 1: Gather Insight from the Right People in Your Organization
To get started, bring the right people to the table. Organizations are most successful in implementing energy efficiency efforts and controlling costs when operations, maintenance, finance and accounting teams work together.
While your operations team may have insight into your energy usage, they’re usually not reviewing and paying your company’s energy bills. You need both perspectives here.
To successfully benchmark your energy data, involve both internal and external resources. Bringing an expert in managing and analyzing energy data is especially helpful for organizations with small teams and few internal resources. Consider implementing a real-time monitoring program to highlight opportunities for efficiency improvements, benchmark usage before improvements, and verify the impact from the improvements.
Step 2: Get Familiar with Your Energy Bills
It’s important to note that about half of your energy bill is driven by your energy demand, the measurement of your largest interval of power used during the billing period. Consumption, meanwhile, is a measurement of the total quantity of power you used during the billing period.
The demand you’re billed for is the peak amount of power used at any one time during your billing period. Because you aren’t charged for demand when using less than the peak amount, efficiency efforts typically help you save money by lowering the demand required to run your operations.
Tip: Review a year’s worth of interval meter data to identify if the peak demand you’re being billed for happens often. If peak demand is infrequent, you can work with your operations and maintenance teams to determine what equipment and processes are causing the demand.
Step 3: Craft Your Efficiency Strategy
Once you have data that shows how (and when) your facilities use energy, you can develop your efficiency plan. For some businesses, the result is an obvious upgrade, like replacing outdated and energy-intensive lighting with LEDs. For others, a more significant strategy is needed.
Once you’re tracking your usage, your energy supplier may be able to help your business better understand when your energy usage is costing you the most. There are peak times of the day during which energy is more expensive due to higher demand.
Whether the goal is purely to cut costs or tied to a broader sustainability initiative, energy efficiency efforts benefit every business – especially as energy costs rise.