Last month I hosted an energy optimisation roundtable discussion at X Energy - an industry event that brought together leading energy management professionals for an afternoon of keynotes, leadership panels and peer-to-peer dialogue.
With a diverse range of organisations participating, it was unsurprising that a number of different views emerged about what energy optimisation involves, and what its relevance is. For some it's about cost reduction and energy efficiency, for others it's about optimising usage to create the best possible working environment to improve productivity - or the best possible product production. And for some, carbon reduction and sustainability considerations were major drivers.
However, there were also a number of key themes that emerged with regards to the barriers to implementing optimisation measures, and how to successfully make the case internally that optimisation is worth further consideration.
Cost and complexity
CAPEX scarcity is a major barrier across all organisations and limits the opportunities for optimisation projects. Issues around data were also cited. In some situations there is a significant amount of data available but no way to analyse and visualise what is relevant, and in others there isn’t sufficient data. Both are problematic when it comes to moving things forward.
Cyber and data security have also become more significant concerns given recent events. Lastly, the complexity of schemes and/or opportunities can make optimisation a tough sell internally.
The commercial case for optimisation
It was noted that the highest returning energy investments are often within energy optimisation - granular data together with advanced analytics packages to optimise usage can lead to significant benefits for organisations.
However, as noted above, a major barrier for businesses is being able to get funding and support to go ahead with these investments in the first place. A proof of concept project, which shows tangible benefits, is therefore seen as a key enabler to getting senior management buy-in. Savings can then be reinvested into other projects creating a virtuous cycle of positive change.
A number of organisations have science based carbon reduction targets and optimisation is an important way of achieving these. Introducing targets can therefore overcome more traditional barriers. It was agreed that the more granular targets are, the more effective they are - particularly if they are linked to financial incentives.
Within an organisaton there are often a number of energy optimisation initiatives in progress, and some of these can stall. It's therefore important to actively track the initiatives across multiple sites; which initiatives are progressing and which have stalled, and the reasons for this.
Awareness needs to be raised from the top of the business to all staff of the importance of energy saving. Energy consumption should be visible to all, so that it’s not ‘out of sight, out of mind’. Setting goals at team/department/company level can also help to engage staff and maintain momentum to succeed with your energy optimisation goals.
Overcoming the barriers
If your organisation is struggling with some of these barriers to energy optimisation, we can help you.
Our Business Energy Intelligence software brings all your data together effortlessly and uses a number of different techniques to make sense of it all - identifying opportunities to save time, energy, carbon and money. You can also use our League Table report to compare sites and buildings and identify best/worst performers - creating friendly competition across the business and driving staff engagement.
An Energy Performance Contract can help you overcome the CAPEX barrier - we'll create a bespoke contract that tackles your energy efficiency challenges and give you guaranteed energy savings - all without the need to make an upfront capital investment. It’s a solution that minimises your risks and will improve the performance of your buildings and equipment while giving you a guaranteed return.
Ultimately we can help you develop your energy optimisation strategy and guide your journey with the latest technical innovations, funding and advanced analytics.
Get in touch today to find out more.