Increasingly companies are looking to set more ambitious targets to become climate neutral, to reduce their carbon impact and to remain competitive with their peers.
Targets are great, but once they have been set, emission reduction activities are required to reach the target and maintain momentum. Energy emissions are often among the easiest to reduce as the business has a direct influence over energy consumption. An effective energy management strategy provides a series of checks and balances to ensure success and to build on any projects that the company has already undertaken. Defining an energy management strategy allows ways to present ideas internally and build a business case. It also means measures can be prioritised to provide the greatest benefit to the business.
An effective energy management strategy provides a defined process to enable energy emissions to be reduced. The key stages are as follow.
Set an energy policy
An energy policy sets the basis for the rest of the strategy. At this stage it is important to get board level approval and understand requirements such as payback periods. This helps later on when measures have been identified. It can also set requirements for purchasing energy, refurbishing/buying buildings and purchasing products. This helps ensure that key areas are not missed.
Collect data for each site
Strong data collection, through an internal system, or using half-hourly meters enables robust data to form the basis of the strategy. Without this, it is difficult to identify areas to target, or calculate potential and actual savings. It’s also important to consider collecting data for other things that may affect your consumption, such as number of employees, total tonnes produced or operating hours changes.
This identifies the preferred measures to be implemented. Dependent on the size of your portfolio, you may focus on high energy consumers, worst performers or aim to audit all sites within a set period. Audits may identify new technologies to be installed, existing equipment to be replaced, settings to be altered or behavioural changes to be made.
Provide a business case
Having a strategy means that key requirements have already been established. It also enables sites to compare identified measures, to see whether they can be implemented at other sites. By looking at business cases on a portfolio basis, businesses can begin by targeting low-hanging fruit or balancing measures to provide stronger incentive in later years.
Implement the measures
Clearly, savings can’t be made unless the measures have actually been implemented. It’s important to make sure the requirements are met by suppliers and that new settings are maintained or that behavioural programmes are carried out effectively.
Verify the savings
Verifying the savings means that you can track your progress towards carbon neutrality, and identify which measures have over- or under-performed and use that feedback to inform the decisions for implementing further measures.
Identify new measures
The energy management strategy provides an on-going basis for reducing your emissions. Once one set of measures have been installed, it’s then time to be considering what to do next in the pathway towards carbon neutrality.