We are experiencing a movement where auto dealerships, franchises, business, and property owners are making strategic moves to align with evolving consumer preferences, environmental regulations, and the broader shift toward eco-friendly practices. One of the many impactful shifts taking place is within the automotive landscape, more specifically, the surge of electric vehicles (EVs) and fleet EVs. This has prompted businesses to reevaluate their strategies with many choosing to invest in EV charging infrastructure, and if applies, take advantage of various local and federal incentives and grant programs.

1. Increased Foot Traffic, Customer Loyalty, and Employee Appreciation

As the demand of EVs continues to rise, so does the demand for accessible charging stations or fleet vehicle charging. By embracing EV charging infrastrusture, it can introduce new ways for brands and business owners to connect with a broader customer base and further position themselves as a leader in sustainability. In addition, to attracting more customers, it also presents the opportunity to provide an advantage to current and future employees and their need for access to EV charging.

ROI: Increased foot traffic can lead to higher sales and enhanced customer loyalty and employee appreciation.

2. Positive Public Relations

Business owners who adopt EV charging showcase their commitment to environmental responsibility and innovation. This positive association can lead to increased brand loyalty and trust among consumers, as they align themselves with businesses that prioritize a sustainable future.

ROI: News of a business’s commitment to sustainability and investment in EV charging infrastructure is picked up by local media, creating positive public relations and community goodwill.

3. Additional Revenue Stream

While the initial investment of EV charging infrastructure may seem substantial, business owners should consider the opportunity to create additional revenue stream(s) to monetize their investment. Options can include subscription models like credit card transactions per usage, advertising, pay-per-use fees, or partnerships with EV manufacturers.

ROI: A business owner partners with an EV charger manufacturer to gain revenue through credit card transactions for each use of the EV charging unit.

4. Government Incentives and Grants

By installing EV charging infrastructure, commercial businesses may qualify for tax credits, grants, or other financial benefits from local or federal government programs. These incentives aim to support the adoption of EV technology, reduce carbon emissions, and promote environmental sustainability.

ROI: In regions with supportive policies, business owners may benefit from government incentives for installing EV charging infastrucure, reducing the overall financial burden.

1. High Initial Investment

Some business owners may not realize the upfront expenses involved in setting up EV charging infrastructure, including costs for engineering, design, materials, and labor.

Solution: Though the initial investment for EV charging infrastructure can be steep, partnering with the right organization can help business owners find federal and local programs that offer incentives or grants to significantly reduce costs. For example, Eco Engineering is assisting Ford Motor Company’s Blue Oval Charging Network, a recent initiative aiming to install over 84,000 EV chargers across North American dealerships. Through collaborations with local Ford dealerships in Pennsylvania, Eco Engineering is helping to cut project expenses using local grants and incentives.

2. Controlling Utility Rates

It can be common for a utility to raise the average rate for usage after EV charger infastructure have been installed creating an unexpected cost increase, impacting the ROI. An electricity bill could average around $200 per month, and unexpectedly increase to $500 without the proper contracts in place.

Solution: This can often be an oversight in the project cost and ROI, but Eco Engineering can help business owners negotiate with the utility to ensure more predictable and affordable pricing.

3. Technological Evolution

Rapid advancements in EV technology may result in charging infrastructure becoming outdated sooner than expected, necessitating ongoing investments to stay current.

Solution: Manufacturers such as ChargePoint, Blink, and EVMax powered by Lyncwell have dedicated expert resources to ensure ongoing maintenance support is available to their customers.

EV Charging Infastructure

4. Understanding Which EV Charging Station Levels Business Owners Need

Determining the EV charger infastructure and level you need to install onsite can come with challenges such as anticipating what consumers will require at your business. There are multiple factors to consider in your selection such as infrastructure, compatibility, safety, and cost. Here are the three primary EV charger levels to consider installing:

The rise of electric vehicles (EVs) is reshaping the game, and many businesses are stepping up to align with evolving consumer preferences, sustainability goals, and beginning to recognize the potential revenue advantages that come with investing in EV charging infrastructure.

For business owners looking for long-term success in a competitive market, the benefits outweigh the challenges for installing EV charging infrastructure and should consider partnering with proactive EPC contractors who provide end-to-end support and cost-saving solutions through leveraging federal and local incentives and grant programs.

Eco Engineering offers a range of services that can help companies meet ESG criteria by improving energy efficiency and implementing sustainable energy systems and resiliency. For over 30 years, Eco Engineering has been completing energy-saving LED lighting retrofits for commercial & industrial customers and ESCO partners. Learn more about our services, including EV Charging infastructure or contact us now to connect with our EVSE Expert, Ken Wirtz.

Environmental (E): Impact of energy efficiency on carbon footprints and resource depletion.

Energy efficiency strongly aligns with the ‘E’ in ESG, prioritizing practices that directly reduce carbon footprints and minimize resource depletion, positively impacting a company’s environmental scorecard in ESG evaluations.

Social (S): Indirect benefits of energy efficiency on communities & the positive social perceptions for companies prioritizing energy efficiency.

While not directly related to social aspects, energy efficiency indirectly benefits communities by lowering energy consumption, reducing pollution, improving air quality, and potentially lowering energy costs for consumers. Companies focusing on energy efficiency often gain positive social perceptions that support recruiting and retainment efforts.

Governance (G): Role of energy efficiency in responsible resource management & the contribution to operational efficiency within the governance framework.

In governance, energy efficiency contributes to responsible resource management and operational efficiency. Effective energy management demonstrates prudent governance by optimizing resource utilization, reducing operational costs, and promoting long-term sustainability within the company’s governance framework.

Environmental (E): Alignment of energy management with environmental objectives.

Energy management aligns with environmental objectives by holistically reducing energy consumption and emissions. Robust energy management systems signal a commitment to minimizing environmental impact, highly valued in ESG evaluations.

Social (S): Indirect impacts of energy management on social aspects & the importance of transparent communication in fostering stakeholder trust.

Energy management indirectly impacts social aspects. By reducing energy consumption, companies can allocate savings to social initiatives or community development programs. Transparent communication about energy management fosters stakeholder trust, positively influencing social perceptions.

Governance (G): Integral role of energy management in effective governance & the strengthening of governance credentials through transparent reporting.

Energy management is integral to effective governance, demonstrated through comprehensive energy policies, adherence to regulatory frameworks, and ambitious energy efficiency goals. Transparent reporting on energy management performance strengthens a company’s governance credentials in ESG assessments.

In the context of ESG criteria, both energy efficiency and management are pivotal, showcasing a company’s commitment to sustainability, responsible resource utilization, and efficient operational practices, contributing positively to environmental, social, and governance performance evaluations.

Now let’s explore how energy efficiency focuses on improving the efficiency of individual technologies or applications (what I refer to as measures), compared to energy management, which encompasses a broader spectrum, integrating behavioral changes, procurement strategies, and continuous improvement efforts within an organization’s energy-related practices.

energy efficiency focuses on improving the efficiency of individual technologies or applications.

Mechanical Examples – Energy Efficiency

energy management, which encompasses a broader spectrum, integrating behavioral changes, procurement strategies, and continuous improvement efforts within an organization’s energy-related practices.

Mechanical Examples – Energy Management

Solar Energy – Comparing Energy Efficiency vs. Energy Management

EV Charging – Comparing Energy Efficiency vs. Energy Management

Effective energy management not only demonstrates responsible resource management but also fosters long-term sustainability within a company’s governance framework. Energy efficiency, a crucial aspect of energy management, directly enhances governance practices by optimizing resource utilization and reducing operational costs, showcasing prudent governance.

In conclusion, prioritizing energy efficiency and effective energy management is pivotal for companies aiming to meet ESG criteria, and it can have its challenges. However, integration of these practices into corporate strategies signals a firm commitment to sustainability, responsible resource utilization, and efficient operations, ultimately contributing positively to environmental, social, and governance performance evaluations. Emphasizing this commitment is crucial for companies seeking alignment with ESG criteria and enhancing their overall performance.

At Eco Engineering, offers a range of services that can help companies meet ESG criteria by improving energy efficiency and energy management. Their team of nationwide experts can design, engineer, and manage turnkey projects from concept to construction. They provide innovative solutions tailored to match specific energy goals, ensuring projects are completed on time and within budget. With their expertise in sustainable energy systems and resiliency, Eco Engineering can assist with large-scale solar installations, behind-the-meter solar solutions, electric vehicle charging station installation, and more. For over 30 years, Eco Engineering has been completing energy-saving LED lighting retrofits and lighting control projects for commercial & industrial customers and ESCO partners. Learn more about our services and how we can provide guidance to achieve commercial energy efficiency with our proven and consistent processes for centralized project management or contact us now.

About Jenifer Parke. Based in New York, Jen has over 20 years of experience as a leader in the energy & services industry and is recognized for driving energy reduction focusing on sustainability, standardization, cost analysis, and the customer experience. At Eco Engineering, Ms. Parke is specifically responsible for identifying and deploying performance-based contracts, Energy Efficiency as a Service, single & multi-site program management, Electric Vehicle (EV) charging, and Renewable Energy Generation platforms across North America. Read more of her expert blog articles here.

Some companies dive straight into prominent sustainability projects like installing solar panels. While these initiatives have a role in the process, embracing energy efficiency projects, particularly LED lighting upgrades, as a foundational step toward achieving ESG goals holds immense strategic value. Here’s why:

Strategic Benefits of Prioritizing LED Lighting Projects Before Sustainability Projects

1. Minimizing Electrical Load to Maximize Solar Potential

Before considering solar installations, it’s critical to reduce the existing electrical load. Upgrading lighting systems to energy efficient LED technology slashes energy consumption significantly. This reduction not only minimizes energy wastage but also optimizes the potential output of subsequent solar projects. By beginning with an investment grade lighting audit and lowering the overall demand, EPCs can help optimally engineer the kW requirement of the solar PV system; hence reducing the project cost.

2. Speedy Returns with Faster Payback Periods

One of the remarkable benefits of lighting retrofit upgrades is their rapid payback periods. Unlike solar projects, which often involve substantial upfront costs and the potential need for financing support through Energy as a Service or PPAs, LED lighting upgrades demonstrate quicker returns on investment. This faster payback allows firms to swiftly reinvest the savings generated from these projects into other sustainability initiatives.

3. Using Energy Savings as a Catalyst for Further Sustainability

The annual energy savings achieved through LED lighting initiatives act as a financial catalyst for broader sustainability initiatives. Proficiently managing Energy Efficiency projects establishes a strong foundation, gaining leadership support for subsequent Sustainable Energy projects. An EE initiative functions as a valuable “proof of concept” for future reporting, funding, and the comprehensive design of SE programs. These savings directly offset expenses in larger-scale sustainability projects, like solar installations, ensuring a strategic and sustainable allocation of resources. Explore further insights on prioritizing energy projects in our blog post, A Guide To Prioritizing Energy Conservation Projects.

4. Leveraging Advanced Controls for Enhanced Efficiency

Integrating smart or networked lighting controls amplifies the efficiency gains achieved through LED upgrades. Features like daylight harvesting and peak load shedding further curtail electrical demand, maximizing energy savings. The DesignLights Consortium’s 2023 study emphasizes the immense energy-saving potential of networked lighting controls, especially when integrating HVAC controls via lighting system-based occupancy sensors. Demonstrating a 50+% reduction in LED energy consumption, these controls offer up to 5-10% total commercial building energy reduction. Arizona and Connecticut stand to gain $217 million and $1.2 billion respectively by 2030 through adopting these systems. Such integrated systems not only enhance efficiency but also demonstrate a commitment to harnessing cutting-edge technology for sustainability efforts and substantial energy savings.

5. Maximizing Utility and Tax Incentives

Embarking on energy efficiency projects allows a company to leverage a myriad of utility and tax incentives. These incentives serve as invaluable support in funding subsequent sustainability initiatives like solar projects, battery storage, and EV Charging Stations to amplify their financial viability and overall impact.

In essence, starting the ESG journey can have its challenges, but beginning with energy efficiency projects is key to laying a strong foundation for a sustainable future. These projects serve as precursors, not inhibitors, to larger sustainability endeavors. By strategically managing electrical load, maximizing efficiency gains, and leveraging financial incentives, companies can pave a smoother, more financially viable path toward achieving holistic ESG goals.

At Eco Engineering, we understand the pivotal role of commercial energy efficiency in driving sustainable transformations for commercial and industrial entities. Our 30 years of expertise lies in guiding organizations through the strategic implementation of LED lighting upgrades and facilitating the seamless integration of sustainable solutions like solar projects. Together, let’s illuminate the path to a greener and more sustainable future.

Learn more about our services and how we can provide guidance to achieve commercial energy efficiency with our proven and consistent processes for centralized project management or contact us now.

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.

Commercial Energy Efficiency: A Guide to Prioritizing Energy Conservation Projects

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.

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.

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.

Learn more about our services and how we can provide guidance to achieve commercial energy efficiency with our proven and consistent processes for centralized project management or contact us now.