Jake Hiller | April 23, 2013
There was such great interest in the webinar “Getting to the Bottom Line of Energy Efficiency Investments,” that we are sharing additional Q & A with Jake Hiller, Project Development Analyst here at Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). This post focuses on centralized energy management, a best practice many EDF Climate Corps participants have employed to cash in on energy savings.
Q: How do the organizations you have worked with coordinate the resources of money, time and tools for energy efficiency projects?
A: While there is no one-size-fits-all approach for coordination of resources, leading organizations tend to operate through dedicated energy management structures. These structures often include a centralized energy manager supported by a dedicated team. Centralized energy managers can help with:
- Interdepartmental collaboration: One role of energy manager is to connect the dots between energy use, operating costs and potential savings, helping to overcome silos and increase interdepartmental collaboration. Having a centralized energy manager can focus attention and change behavior from the C-suite to the factory floor.
- Aligning with organization-wide goals: Dedicated, centralized management also allows organizations to approach energy in a more holistic way, shifting to a systems perspective and encouraging broader, more consistent resource investment that aligns with the organization’s broader goals and priorities.
- Creating the business case: Property managers and building engineers have a lot of great ideas for energy-saving projects. The energy manager helps facility managers to take their great ideas and build the business case for investment.
- Staying current: Energy policies, technologies, and incentive and rebate programs change constantly (for federal government contractors in particular, energy policy is changing dramatically). Every company needs someone keeping a constant watch on trends in energy technologies, policies and financing opportunities. In 2010, EDF Climate Corps fellow, Graham Brown, blogged about finding a property tax incentive that could save The JBG companies as much as $175,000 over five years. No one had applied for it, because the program was barely a month old when Brown caught wind of it.
- Implementation: Analysis without implementation may be fine in academia but will not help businesses realize energy savings. In addition to analysis, companies need someone who will actually identify vendors, solicit bids and make sure that theoretical savings become real cash flow.
Does your organization take a centralized approach to energy management - or could it benefit from establishing one? Share your story with us!
EDF Climate Corps taps the talents of tomorrow’s leaders to save energy, money and the environment by placing specially-trained EDF fellows in companies, cities and universities as dedicated energy problem solvers. Working with hundreds of leading organizations, EDF Climate Corps has found an average of $1 million in energy savings for each participant. For more information, visit edfclimatecorps.org. Read our blog at edfclimatecorps.org/blog. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/edfbiz and on Facebook at facebook.com/EDFClimateCorps.