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ENERGY EFFICIENCY IS JOURNEY, NOT A DESTINATION

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Change in general is a challenge for most individuals. How do you approach it? What is the strategy? What are the desired outcomes? What if I fail? These are just some of the questions that start coming to mind for individuals. Now, imagine change on a much grander scale at the corporate level, where the wrong move could cost you your career, or even worse, the companies entire business. The facts are also not in your favor, as the data shows more than 70% of change initiatives fail, validating all your emotions and questions.

Currently, corporations are in the midst of major change and reform with regards to their energy spend and consumption. Many leaders are slowly discovering the benefits of energy efficiency to their organization such as bottom line improvements and cost reductions. As we continue to see the movement grow, more and more CFO’s are paying attention to the financial impact being driven by managing their energy like a business unit, one that tracks KPI’s and efficiency of the consumption in general. As a new initiative for most senior executives, the real question has become how do you approach this change strategy and set your organization up for success. Below are some key energy efficiency change tactics to get control over your organization’s energy expenditures and generate financial benefits.

You Can not Change What You Can not Measure
Too often I see organizations with major energy change initiatives, but they can still not answer the most basic question “Are you efficient?” Most tend to say “yes”, but there is no data to support this. As with any change initiative, it is important to establish real-time metrics to track, measure, and drive your change. Energy efficiency does not reside with new hardware alone; it is the measure in place to ensure your building is performing at its Peak Performance level.

Energy Efficiency is Not Achieved Overnight
There is no shotgun approach to any change initiative, but especially energy efficiency. The facts are that the majority of the buildings in the United States, 75%, are over 20+ years old. This means that there is a lot of old and very inefficient equipment in the majority of our buildings. In order to begin the energy efficiency journey, a corporation must first build a vision and strategies to manage change. Your building has years and years worth of equipment so it is important to understand what are the exact costs associated with the inefficiencies, but also protect your budget from hardware vendors who will propose upgrading your entire environment. You would be surprised to learn how much the lifespan of equipment can be extended through minor tweaks. Get efficient with what you have first!

Reduce than Replace
Extra dollars wasted on energy are lost forever and the facts are that it is cheaper to reduce than replace. My stomach cringes when I read of organizations spending millions upon millions of dollars to reduce their energy consumption by a fraction of the total costs. You must first get control over your energy consumption and spend, before addressing any change. Understand your efficiency levels and then plan your budget accordingly based on the most inefficient pieces of equipment which cost you the most, validated by data. Organizations are always surprised to see how much they can save just by getting their facilities from an inefficient state to an efficient one, without replacing any equipment. There are millions of dollars in savings across your portfolio just by getting control of your existing efficiency before any capital improvements.

Business Intelligence Management Layer
Business leaders could not imagine managing their business without the necessary analytics needed to drive insight and strategy. The current reality is that most organizations do not leverage any analytics to manage their energy consumption. With recent technological advancements and the emergence of cloud based applications for buildings, organizations now have the ability to tap into their energy-consuming systems to collect and interpret real-time data 24/7. This data can provide you the necessary insight to take actionable measures to drive efficiency, costs savings, and sustainability initiatives.

In conclusion, change is disruptive for everyone — employees and managers alike. After all, change implies doing things differently. As with all change, there is an inevitable learning curve, but if you put in place the necessary measures and strategy, there is no doubt you will be successful.

– Xavier Navarro