In the pursuit of environmental sustainability and commercial energy efficiency within any organization, it is essential to establish commitments, set goals, develop a strategic approach, and create a practical operational roadmap. As a result, companies have focused on adding specialized sustainability roles, teams, and task forces. However, some may face a significant challenge – a lack of awareness and expertise in strategically prioritizing Energy Conservation Measure (ECM) projects for effective energy-saving initiatives. This knowledge gap can be reduced when companies consider guidance and expertise from an Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) firm in the energy sector. This approach not only streamlines the process but also makes the sustainability program more appealing and accessible to internal teams.
EPC contractors can play a crucial role in helping companies prioritize energy conservation projects to achieve their climate goals as part of their overall Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) and sustainability objectives. Here’s a step-by-step guide outlining on how EPC firms can assist to prioritize energy conservation projects:
Step-by-Step Process Guide to Prioritizing Energy Conservation Projects
1. Baseline Assessment: Eco Engineering suggests starting the journey toward greater energy efficiency with a thorough baseline assessment. This assessment involves conducting a comprehensive energy audit, including an investment-grade lighting audit assessment of your facilities and operations. This audit can cover various aspects, such as analyzing your current energy consumption, assessing utility costs, and evaluating the potential for utility rebates. The initial focus of this assessment is on upgrading to LED lighting, marking the initial step towards achieving commercial energy efficiency.
2. Commercial Energy Efficiency Goals: Our approach can include close collaboration with sustainability leaders and stakeholders within your organization. We work together to gain insights into your current energy goals, assess any progress already made, and identify potential opportunities for improvement. Our goal is to help you establish clear and measurable energy objectives, along with the key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with these objectives.
If you’ve encountered challenges in gaining internal buy-in from various teams with differing priorities, we can assist in supporting a strategic business plan to effectively convey your message (read more about the Top 10 Challenges in our blog). By identifying both the goals you want to achieve and the obstacles in your path, we often find it beneficial to plan in reverse, crafting a robust business plan that appeals to cross-functional teams with diverse objectives. This approach ensures that your energy efficiency initiatives are appealing and align with the interests of different internal stakeholders.
3. Identify Energy Conservation Opportunities: Our approach can help you evaluate the potential of an overall building retrofit and prioritizing energy conservation measures that can contribute to achieving energy goals. These may include:
• Lighting Retrofits: Assess the feasibility and benefits of upgrading to energy-efficient LED lighting systems and controls.
• Building Envelope Optimization: Examine opportunities to enhance insulation, windows, and roofing for better energy efficiency.
• Renewable Energy: Consider the integration of solar pv as renewable energy sources.
• HVAC Upgrades: Evaluate improvements in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.
• Energy Management Systems (EMS): Explore the implementation of EMS for better control and monitoring of energy usage.
• Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Infrastructure: Assess the potential for EV charging stations to meet the needs of your customers and employees.
4. Prioritization Criteria: To develop a set of criteria for prioritizing projects, consider factors such as:
• Cost-Benefit Analysis
• Expected energy savings, operational savings, and emissions reductions.
• Alignment with ESG and sustainability goals.
• Regulatory compliance and reporting requirements.
• Ease of implementation and disruption to operations.
• Risk Assessment – Check out this infographic from Climate Group RE100 to mitigate common myths about renewable electricity.
5. Project Sequencing: Develop a roadmap for project implementation, taking into account the prioritization criteria, available budget, and timelines. Financing is one of the top challenges in the energy transition but there are options such as Energy-as-a-Service (Eaas) that can be considered. Determine which projects should be initiated first and create a phased plan for execution. This can be the most difficult part if sustainability leaders have limited knowledge and need the expertise of an EPC as a guide to strategically prioritizing Energy Conservation projects.
6. Monitoring and Reporting: Implement robust monitoring and reporting mechanisms with controls and metering to track the progress of each project. Measuring energy savings, carbon emissions reductions, and other relevant KPIs can demonstrate the ongoing impact on ESG goals.
By following these recommended steps, an EPC contractor can assist companies in identifying, prioritizing, and implementing energy conservation projects that align with their ESG and sustainability objectives. This collaborative effort helps organizations make informed decisions, maximize the impact of their investments, and demonstrate their commitment to sustainable practices and responsible governance.
For the past 30 years, Eco Engineering has been dedicated to prioritizing our customers’ specific goals and providing customized energy service solutions aimed at maximizing both energy and cost savings.