A recent paper by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy listed ten programs that spurred companies and customers to economize energy. The findings certainly show that behavioural programs can be astonishingly effective.
Improving energy efficiency is an important topic on the program of most organisations these days. The benefits are numerous, from lowering carbon footprint to the most outstanding of all cutting down on costs with energy. So million dollar question is: How to enhance business energy efficiency?
There are many ways to do so but this is not quite what I want to talk about in this column. I wont be recommending you change all the lights in your concern to LED lights, even though that is one the most cost effective ways to enhance your business’ energy efficiency.
In this paper I’d like to contest what is more effective consumer education or infrastructure updates. One could say that by bringing together both you could achieve greater results but that you will have to adjudge once you have finished reading this article.
Purchaser education has proven to be an effective way to better energy efficiency of households and businesses alike. When combined with programs that apply social science to energy conservation it can incite individuals to beat down consumption and make decisions that will enable their businesses to save as well.
Such programmes are an attractive way to reduce energy consumption since they have low upfront cost and require little change to existing business processes / lifestyles.
Nevertheless, simply relying on consumer/employee education might not be adequate. There is a real danger that energy efficiency gains seen from consumer/employee behaviour will go away over time.
That is when infrastructural upgrades come into the picture. Even though they require a greater upfront investment if evaluated properly and done right such upgrades could generate better benefits. The downside is that most of these benefits will only be noticed in the long term.
But there isn’t a better time to start upgrading your company with more energy efficient machinery. With many governments around the world creating funds to subsidise these changes. For instance here in the United kingdom the Government is creating the Green Investment Bank.
If you are unsure of which route to take in order to save energy. Why not ask for specialist help. Hire an energy consultant or an independent energy broker to inspect your premises and offer the best and most effective options for you company.