Tuesday, 22nd August 2017

Energy Conservation: Improving the Bottom Line

Posted on 01. Feb, 2012 by in TECHNOLOGY

Although companies have long sought to keep operating expenses low, the recession has upped the ante. Jeremy Rifkin, President of the Foundation on Economic Trends, tells us that until we wean ourselves off of fossil fuels and transition to renewable energy sources, we will continue to cycle through false economic upswings followed by steep downturns. Th e rapid, cyclical effect will further destabilize the global economy to leave us with less and less purchasing power after each sequence.

The only viable response that leads to domestic (and global) economic recovery, then, is the development of renewable energy infrastructure and distribution systems. Although we’ve begun the process of transitioning to green energy, the shift from a fossil fuel-based infrastructure will take 30-40 years to complete. Simply stated, our businesses (and the U.S. economy as a whole) cannot rely on a solution that takes decades to implement.

Buildings consume 74.5% of electricity and approximately half of the total energy produced domestically. In turn, this consumption rate produces nearly 50% of the U.S.’s carbon-dioxide emissions. At a 6% growth rate, last year’s carbon-dioxide levels outstripped the worst case projections put forth by climate experts as little as four years ago. Ecologically, this rate is unsustainable. A rapidly increasing greenhouse gas effect will have serious consequences with respect to food production and human health.


There is good news. Investment in new Cleantech infrastructure (wind, solar, and geothermal energy sources) leads to job creation, economic recovery, and reduction in the greenhouse gas effect. Even better: Creating infrastructure based on renewable energy sources will cost less than maintaining and repairing the old.

We have a long way to go. The carbon-based infrastructure must continue to function at an ever decreasing capacity as the transition occurs. As a point of reference, the development of wind energy has spawned 80,000 new jobs—the same number as the total jobs supported by the coal industry. Yet, coal still produces more than 44% of the total energy consumed in the US. Wind contributes a mere 1.9% to the domestic energy mix.

The experts do not dispute that we have passed the point of no return when it comes to dependence upon brown fuels. Although fossil fuel lobbyists and utility companies may recognize that the transition to Cleantech is inevitable, they’re trying to slow the uptake. Fiscally, their best interests are to maintain the status quo at least short-term.

As a result, today’s businesses face true economic hardship. Many companies overlook the most cost effective way to bridge the gap until renewable energy becomes a mainstream source of power. Th e solution comes in the form of energy conservation management services offered by companies like EnergySherlock™, which is located in Loudoun County.

Tim Reichert, CEO of EnergySherlock, gives insight into how energy conservation management services benefit companies of all sizes and across every industry segment.

“Technology has advanced to the point where we can help businesses actively manage and leverage energy as a strategic asset. Right now energy companies’ goals and businesses’ goals lie at opposite ends of the spectrum. Utilities want to continue to sell in volume and repair existing infrastructure. Companies want to improve margins by reducing operating expenses.” states Reichert.

“Businesses are starting to realize how much they can save by implementing practical energy conservation measures and strategies. Corporate leaders have the power to improve profi tability and sustainability without harming the company. Energy savings flow directly through to the bottom line,” concludes Reichert. EnergySherlock prides itself on a business philosophy that focuses on the clients’ best interests. In addition to off ering a full range of hardware, software, and reporting systems, the company takes a vendor-neutral approach to customize solutions based on each client’s needs. A project’s scope can range anywhere from addressing a single system, such as lighting, to functioning as the client’s energy department. Customers typically reduce their energy costs between 10-30%. Most clients achieve breakeven status within three years or less depending on the energy conservation plan implemented.

“We’re capitalists first, and environmentalists second. But, it’s not a distant second. Conserving energy means you’re also a good corporate citizen,” states Reichert. “Being vendor-neutral enables us to design and implement the best solution based on today’s technologies. We will not make a recommendation if the outcome won’t significantly improve the customer’s bottom line. We’re so confident in the technologies we use and our energy conservation plans that we’re willing to go at risk and return our professional fees if we don’t perform as expected.”

WE’RE CAPITALISTS FIRST, AND
ENVIRONMENTALISTS SECOND.
BUT, IT’S NOT A DISTANT SECOND

When combined with software applications, contemporary facilities management practices and building automation systems remove human error. Buildings that operate 24/7 or have equipment with high energy demands, such as quick serve restaurants, full service restaurants, and hospitals have the most to gain from energy savings programs. Improving energy cost controls helps early adopters gain a competitive advantage. Early adopters also establish a platform for compliance with existing and future regulatory requirements.

With respect to government mandates and oversight, Reichert says, “Companies will struggle to comply with future economic and environmental reporting requirements. The government will continue to issue unfunded mandates and executive orders with complex reporting requirements very similar to accounting regulations. Just like we have tax law and the IRS, there will be a governing body for energy and an industry that evolves to support it. We will be regulated in ways we haven’t even thought about.”

State and regional differences already make energy management extremely complex for companies operating across jurisdictions. For example, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia function as a tri-state business area, yet each locale has its own agenda, budget, mindset, initiatives, politics, and goals when it comes to energy.

The 2011 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard highlights the state-to-state variances. It measures each state on six criteria including building energy codes and state government initiatives.

Scorecard rankings show just how different the conditions are within the tri-state area. Maryland ranked 10, D.C. 22, and Virginia 34. These variances underscore why businesses need a way to see and manage performance on a site-by-site basis. Yet, regional and national companies frequently don’t have the expertise needed to optimize energy programs that use these inconsistencies to their advantage. For this reason, EnergySherlock developed Klarify™, a rules-based software application that gives clients the visibility they need to manage energy as an asset instead of an expense. This powerful tool links into building automation systems to help companies optimize energy consumption site-by-site, region-by-region, and as a whole nationwide. Klarify takes the complexities of industries, state and local differences, and reporting requirements into account. It is designed to adapt as the regulatory environment evolves.

By knowing which rebates and incentives are available regionally, EnergySherlock also helps many clients implement energy conservation projects in a budget neutral or cash positive manner. In these instances, energy savings outweigh the cost of building investments.

Reichert is proud to walk the talk so to speak. He uses the same high efficiency lighting recommended to clients, drives a car with a low carbon footprint, and recycles as much material as possible. “In addition EnergySherlock uses virtual offices so that employees can work from home. We believe in having the lowest carbon footprint in everything we’re doing,” concludes Reichert.

Post By Marcia Moran (314 Posts)

Marcia Moran

Marcia Moran

Marcia Moran helps organizations reimagine what’s possible and provides the framework for clients to achieve stellar, long-term results.

As a Performance Architect, Marcia uses the principles discovered through neuroleadership and positive psychology to deliberately design the employee experience and corporate culture. Blended with pragmatic systems design, these elements free people to play to their strengths while reducing strife in the workplace. As a result, people can push beyond their known limits as individuals, as teams, and as companies.

Marcia is also the Vice President of Marketing for Intelishift, a colocation company with operations in Ashburn, VA and Silicon Valley. Prior to moving to the Metro DC area, she worked as a business consultant for Up ‘N Running and advised startups and small businesses in the areas of management, operations, and marketing.

Marcia earned an MBA from Chapman University. She loves to travel, speaks Norwegian, and unwinds by kayaking and painting landscapes. Marcia recently co-founded Positive Business DC with Shannon Polly and Donna Hemmert. Positive Business DC provides resources to help people increase the levels of well-being in the workplace and at home.

Website: → Performance Architect

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