Business leaders often ask “How can I be confident that the energy savings I am expecting will be achieved in practice” when working with energy management partners who recommends investment in energy efficient solutions. It is a fair question. In today’s world of marketing gurus, it is all too easy to be hoodwinked into extravagant claims about what different products and technologies can deliver. And it is complicated by the fact that to maximise energy saving opportunities, all too often requires combining technologies (e.g. LED lighting with sensors or timers).
For many businesses, utility costs are one of the largest expense lines on the P&L. Minimising energy costs in a way that is consistent with your business strategy requires careful selection of the right partner to work with. After all, if you don’t get your energy strategy right the impact on your business could be extremely damaging. Equipment failure, high maintenance costs, power outages, lost production, and staff wellbeing issues are all symptoms of an incoherent energy management strategy. As are the inevitable higher energy bills. You wouldn’t choose your financial or legal advisers out of the yellow pages. Given how important energy is to the efficient operation of your business, why wouldn’t you put the same effort into choosing you energy management partner as you would into choosing your accountant or solicitor.
Our 6 Top Tips for choosing your Energy Management Partner
1 – Work with a partner whose focus is on maximising your energy savings not maximising their sales.
As in most market places, there are many reputable suppliers to choose from. In this context, they largely fall into 2 camps: those whose focus is on selling their chosen technology and those whose focus is on maximising your energy saving potential in line with your business strategy. Which would you rather work with?
2 – Take a holistic approach.
Energy is invisible, and as a result the energy saving opportunities available to a business are not always readily apparent. Some opportunities might seem obvious, however, the obvious ones are not always the ones that give you the best return on investment. In fact, by not understanding the shape of the whole jigsaw, you could end up making unwise investment decisions. Through developing a holistic energy reduction strategy for your business, you can be confident that the energy efficiency investment decisions you make are in-line with your overall business needs and strategy.
3 – Build your strategy on real data.
An effective energy management strategy is built around an in-depth understanding of energy use in your business. Smart metering and utility bills do not provide the granularity of information required to truly understand consumption, loading and energy quality in your business. The difference between half hourly and second by second energy data is 48 verses 86,400 readings a day. Furthermore, smart metering is limited to consumption data whereas energy monitoring provides data across a wider range of electrical parameters. So choose an energy management partner with the experience and technology to conduct in-depth, real-time diagnostics down to individual circuit and machinery level if required. Energy consultants who do not back up their recommendations with analytics are asking you to make poorly thought through investment decisions.
4 – Work with a partner who is prepared to verify the savings achieved.
Going back to the question posed at the start of this blog, the technology exists to both quantify and verify the energy savings arising from any investment you make. By using real-time energy monitoring equipment to measure energy consumption before and after the implementation of any energy saving solutions, provides you with accurate, unbiased, analytical information to prove the energy savings achieved. So remove the risk of investing in solutions that may sound good, but don’t ‘cut the mustard’ and work with a partner who is prepared to use the technology available to verify savings achieved. Click here to read about how Octavian, the world’s leading fine wine storage specialist, had the confidence to invest following a verification exercise on a proof of concept scheme of works proved an 81.3% energy saving.
5 – Do your due diligence.
You wouldn’t appoint an unqualified accountant or solicitor so why would you choose an energy management partner who wasn’t suitably qualified (for example an ESOS approved assessor or Carbon Trust Accredited Supplier). Ask for case studies and references. Check out their previous works. Ask if they have won any awards?
6 – Get the right relationship?
Ultimately, your energy management partner is like any other professional advisor. You need to trust them, to be able to rely on them, and to be challenged by them (do you want to spend your cash on advisors who say “yes” to everything you say?). You want your advisors to know your business, to be excited by your vision, and to be flexible and innovative in their thinking. Whilst they are unlikely to become your best buddy, you do need to get on with them as a person. Spend time with them, get to know them and look for partners who are willing to invest their time in getting to know your business.
Our case study on our work with Octavian tells the story about how SMARTech energy partnered with Octavian to develop and prove a strategy to reduce their energy consumption. If you want to take action to reduce your organisation’s energy consumption, boost profits and cut carbon emissions, why not contact us to find out more about our SMART Energy Management Service. As a Carbon Trust Accredited Supplier, we can also help most businesses access a 30% capital grant (up to a limit of £10,000) towards the cost of energy saving projects. Please contact us through our website or call us on 01225 635660.