Save Money for Your Company, and Save the World at the Same Time

Published on Friday, 19 December 2014 13:12:22    Written by Marc
With so many news headlines highlighting the pressing need to find ways to reduce global emissions, it is no wonder countries from around the world are providing incentives to their local industry to help implement energy efficiency measures in order to curb carbon emissions and meet targeted goals. Yet, just recently, we read that Canada, with all the good will and promotion going on is not even going to be close to meeting its current engagements. In addition, it is not the first time this has happened. This makes us think, "What is the point in even setting objectives if repeatedly not only do countries do not meet them, they do not even come close to meeting the objectives?" It feels like someone setting a personal target of running a mile under one minute and after failing for the whole year, the same person sets the same target for next year. Targets are good and motivate people when they are realistic, if not they become pure fantasy and actually can demotivate someone.

So why even do anything if a country’s target seems impossible to reach? The county is not the only one that benefits from reducing energy consumption, and the benefits are not only environmental ones. The benefits of reducing energy consumption directly affect the companies and organizations that work towards reducing their consumption. The first benefit is money, hard currency being saved. If your company pays for energy and you can reduce, the overall consumption by 10% that 10% of saving goes back to your company, and often it goes directly to the bottom line.

Yes, environmental benefits are great to have and yes, it all adds up towards the objective of a country. However, these benefits pale in comparison to the benefit of saving money right now. Money most companies need in order to continue (read survive) and/or grow their operations. Considering all the external components that put pressure on a company’s bottom line these days, few companies can actually afford not to reduce their costs and interestingly enough, few places of cost reduction have been as untouched as energy savings.

When we talk to companies and organizations, we are still constantly surprised by how little they have done when it comes to reducing their energy consumption. Most companies that manage a portfolio of buildings or leased sites do not even know their own energy cost per square feet (or square meter) and few can tell rapidly which building or site is the less performing of their group. Yet when we sit down with them and start to look into their buildings and sites, we immediately see how much potential for energy savings are available. They often find that they could reduce their energy costs by 15 or even 20% by implementing small to medium sized energy saving measures and could save even more with some projects that carry interesting payback periods.

Companies that truly understand their own potential for cost reduction normally do initiate processes or programs to get these savings, but most companies are still unaware of what they could save. When we compare the return on investment, many energy saving projects are the clear winners. If we consider a low risk energy saving retrofit that carries a one-year payback, this is equivalent to a 100% return on investment. Where else can companies invest and get that kind of return? Especially one that is recurring, because we need to remember that most energy saving measures continues to reap the benefits of saved energy long after they have repaid themselves. Over their lifespan, they can return many times their initial cost.

Bottom line, political people from a number of countries might sit down together on a regular basis and set all kinds of potential targets for years to come in order to help the environment. It is the companies and organizations; however, that by dedicating some of their resources to find and implement energy saving measures in their buildings and sites that get the ball rolling. While these projects can provide great benefits to the companies themselves directly, they also do help the environment along the way, and that is not a bad thing.