Seven Elements of Effective Energy Management
- Comprehensive energy management is the best way to achieve sustained energy-cost savings.
- Successful energy-management programs also reduce waste and increase productivity.
- Key steps include assessing energy performance, setting goals and measuring progress.
An increasingly competitive marketplace has business owners and executives looking to cut costs and reduce waste in a variety of ways, including energy consumption. While short-term energy-saving measures can help, the best way to ensure sustainable cost savings that will improve your competitive position is to implement a comprehensive energy-management program. Effective energy management encompasses not only day-to-day operations, but also overall strategic decisions, such as equipment purchases and site location.
It is no secret that conserving energy will reduce utility costs, but the benefits do not stop there. Successful energy-management programs lower maintenance and labor costs, reduce waste and increase productivity. Moreover, organizations that conserve energy are regarded as community leaders concerned about the environment.
Elements of an effective energy-management program
Successfully implementing an energy-management program requires cooperation across your entire organization. For best results, the program should include a system for monitoring energy use over time, specific processes for assessing energy performance and a plan for continuous improvement. The following is a seven-step process for building an energy-management program that can provide long-term benefits in costs savings and operational improvements:
Make a commitment. A common element of successful energy-management programs is commitment. Allocate appropriate staff and funding to achieve continuous improvement. Leading organizations form dedicated energy teams and institute energy policies.
Assess performance. Understanding your energy use is critical to effective energy management. Log into My Energy to review your past and current energy usage. If you don't have a My Energy account, registering for one is easy.
Set goals. Setting clear and measurable goals is critical for developing effective strategies and reaping financial gains. In addition to guiding daily decisions, well-stated goals provide the basis for tracking and measuring progress, and promoting continuous improvement.
Create an action plan. With goals in place, your organization is poised to develop a road map for improving energy performance. A detailed action plan provides a systematic process for implementing energy-performance measures. This is even more important for customers on a Time-of-Use or Peak Day Pricing rate. Start by defining technical steps and targets, as well as individual roles and resources; update regularly to reflect performance changes and shifting priorities. PG&E's Business Energy Checkup provides you with the tools you need to analyze your energy use and create an energy saving plant.
Implement the action plan. Successfully implementing the projects defined in the action plan will require the support and cooperation of people across your entire organization. Communicate energy-performance goals and initiatives to all staff, making sure they understand their responsibilities. Training and incentives raise awareness and motivate employees to improve energy performance.
Evaluate progress. Evaluating progress includes a formal review of both energy-use data and the activities carried out as part of the action plan. Many organizations use evaluation results and information gathered during the review process to identify best practices and set new performance goals.
Recognize achievements. Recognition helps sustain momentum and support for your program. Motivate staff and employees by recognizing those who have helped the organization achieve results. Recognition from outside sources also validates the importance of the program and provides positive exposure for the organization as a whole.
Begin by assessing your current energy performance with My Energy. Next, use Business Energy Checkup for a detailed online assessment of your facility and energy-saving recommendations customized for your business.
By combining these resources with the seven-step process outlined above, you will put yourself on a path to reducing operating costs, increasing overall efficiency and making your business more competitive.