Why Your Organization Has its Own Unique Path
This blog was inspired by the following article: Navigant Research: There Is No Cookie-Cutter Approach to Energy Efficiency
Every decision in energy is unique. Your approach to efficiency needs to make sense for your company and your situation. Rather than looking at the best technology first, persistent savings can be more easily achieved by understanding future resources and direction helps guide and grow the organization. Unfortunately, in strategic planning, utility and energy costs are frequently overlooked as manageable resources, resulting in wasted expenses.
A challenge most organizations face is a lack of transparency in what constitutes their utility budget. A total utility budget may include utility bills, equipment purchases, maintenance, operations and other utility budget items. Frequently different departments are responsible for these different line items, resulting in double spending on some processes and underinvestment in others. Furthermore, external options — such as incentives, grants, loans and rebates — can take a lot of time to learn, understand the nuances of and incorporate into internal processes. Executives may feel at a loss to take control of these costs because there lacks a cohesive way to understand tradeoffs and priorities. The result: opaqueness in budgets create an inability to evaluate and make clear choices
One best practice to overcoming these challenges is to set prioritized goals that your entire team can use.
1) Begin with the mission, vision and values of your organization.
2) Your utility strategy should support the mission, vision and values. One common approach is to imagine how you would reinvest your 30% wasted utilities into your vision.
3) Create an action plan around deferred maintenance. Not only does this give you better tools to serve your community; well-maintained equipment consumes less energy.
4) Develop a list of new opportunities you wish to pursue. These determine where you should invest utility and energy resources.
5) List your vision-driven outcomes and ideals. This helps align your utility strategy to the organization’s goals.
Remember: setting goals is an important first step. They must be followed by execution plans, metrics for success and follow through.
At the end of the day, well-managed utilities means you can focus on what’s most important: meeting your mission and making an impact in the community. You can be good stewards of both the people you serve and the resources needed to accomplish your goals.