With the end in sight for the Carbon Reduction Commitment the responsibilities of many Energy Managers have changed, as managing the risk – and the cost – of the scheme was a big part of their role.
Of course, the CRC was only ever intended to motivate energy efficiency and now the challenge is for Energy Managers to find their own ways to motivate their businesses to keep the energy management flowing.
An Energy Manager can have many different goals to achieve for their organisation, including complying with legislation and reducing carbon emissions to hit their carbon target, but for most organisations the most important function is simple – to save money.
Cost is King
Almost all organisations, private or public, have cost control as one of their most important issues, but for too long the cost of energy has been considered a fixed cost, unable to be managed by the business and so low down the list of priorities.
One of the first things any energy manager needs to do is convince the business that energy is a controllable cost, and more than that, it is a cost that must be controlled if the business is to remain competitive.
Here are 3 tips we have developed as part our approach to helping businesses manage energy.
1. Engage with your Finance team
Making sure the Finance team is engaged with energy management is a great way of getting people to recognise the importance of the topic. If even your finance team don’t think it is important to measure the cost of energy it is unlikely anyone else will!
Also important is getting the cost of energy recognised on an operational level – if a site can clearly see the cost of energy in their budgets they are more likely to take responsibility for saving it. Getting energy in the P&L as a controllable cost is important step in getting the business on board.
2. Talk the same language as your business
When talking to the general organisation measure in £, not kWh or t CO2e. Everyone knows what a pound is, but your audience is significantly reduced once you start talking about more technical things like units of energy or tonnes of carbon.
Further, you can translate your cost savings into a more useful metric to engage colleagues. Every £1 saved is equivalent to £20 more in sales – how many tins of beans do you need to sell to make that back? Turning the lights off overnight could save enough to employ another member of staff for 4 hours a day – which would you prefer?
3.Show the long-term benefit
Another powerful way of making the cost implications of energy clear is to put together forecasts for the future price of energy. With predictions for a 30% increase in price of energy by 2020, your organisation could be seeing a multi-million pound increase in operating costs even without any growth. Only by engaging with energy management can these increases be managed and even offset by reductions in consumption.
In the evolving world of energy management it is important to use the right messaging to keep the momentum going. By focusing on the cost of energy, and the value of the opportunities for energy management, we can ensure the importance of the role of energy managers is recognised.
This about making the business sustainable in every sense of the word, as a business which cuts energy consumption saves carbon and cost and is more likely to be successful in the long-term.