EDF Climate Corps fellow | August 14, 2012
Fellow: Michael Norbeck, 2012 EDF Climate Corps fellow at Cummins Inc., MPA Candidate at Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs
Opportunity: Energy use and CO2 emissions from a global portfolio of over 600 facilities
Summary: You’re a multinational engine manufacturing company that has set ambitious enterprise-wide targets for energy intensity and CO2 emissions reduction. Facilities are a key component of your energy footprint, and therefore your carbon footprint as well. How do you drive the energy management performance you need to meet your targets? Start by understanding how your facilities are using energy, and why.
As a 2012 EDF Climate Corps fellow, I developed an energy management scorecard for Cummins that will provide site-level energy and performance data for Cummins facilities all over the world. It also provides standardized metrics for analyzing that data, helping to track site-level energy use and drive progress toward Cummins' recently-adopted energy intensity and greenhouse gas reduction goals.
Cummins takes energy management seriously, keeping careful records of energy expenses and related greenhouse gas emissions at its sites. Specific information on how its sites are using energy, however, is hard to get, often because the right people or tools aren’t in place.
Cummins has also compiled a wealth of information on standards and best practices in facilities energy management, but it's unclear if this backlog of knowledge is factoring into the energy management decision making.
The company's scope and scale are also challenges in this project. Cummins operates in countries across the globe, from Australia to Zimbabwe, in sites ranging from 50-staff office buildings to manufacturing plants employing thousands.
I developed an energy balance framework and accompanying scorecard to tackle data collection and best practice implementation. I also worked with my manager to convene an interdisciplinary team of company experts to provide critical input as we refined the tool, ensuring buy-in from key stakeholders now and their cooperation when the tool is rolled out.
The facility energy balance tool I created is an adaptable, user-friendly interface that will help sites large and small identify their major energy users and improve their energy management. Site managers simply plug in energy meter data or energy use estimates and the tool produces metrics on greenhouse gas emissions, cost and aggregate energy use, all categorized by operational process or equipment category.
The scorecard will help Business Unit and Corporate-level decision makers understand how effectively sites are managing their energy use and shed light on site-level personnel or funding gaps. These services will provide a roadmap for future capital allocation, driving site progress toward key performance standards.
These results will play a key role in moving Cummins toward its aggressive energy intensity and greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals.
This project yielded a number of valuable lessons, but I found that asking this question and following these mantras streamlined my work at nearly every turn:
- Can employees use the tool and see its value?
What are the stakeholders you're trying to work with already accountable for, and how much will your tools add to their workload? How can you maximize their value per unit of time spent using your tools?
- Don’t reinvent the wheel.
How can lessons from the successes and failures of similar, past projects be applied to your own? How can existing structures and content be leveraged effectively?
- Synchronize with existing tools to reduce redundancy.
Is company culture driven toward quantifiable results and performance assessment? Cummins culture certainly is! How can you structure your tools to tap into resources already available at your company?
EDF Climate Corps places specially trained MBA and MPA students in companies, cities and universities to develop practical, actionable energy efficiency plans. Sign up to receive emails about EDF Climate Corps, including regular blog posts by our fellows. You can also visit our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter to get regular updates about this project.