People are best energy management resource
Technological solutions have their place but without the workforce on board, energy efficiency programmes are doomed to failure.This was the central message of energy consultant Trevor Floyd speaking at the Nemex exhibition on Tuesday, May 16.
Mr Floyd, from the Tenby Consultancy Group, reiterated the huge waste an organisation can leave itself open to if it does not look at energy as it would any other resources, and the substantial financial implications that can come from such a mistake.
Simple practices such as switching off unused machinery, flicking the light switch, turning down the thermostat and not having the radiators blasting out heat while the windows are wide open can have a huge impact on bills, he said, and in this world of rapidly rising energy costs and the environmental impact of our emissions it is an issue we cannot afford to ignore.
"If your energy bills double you can do one of two things," he said.
"You can do something about consumption, or else you can pass the costs on, and that's a great way to lose customers."
While the solutions are often staring us in the face, the key difficulty is often persuading the workforce that saving energy is relevant to them.
"There are black box solutions and widgets you can install, but these can become outdated and it doesn't matter how energy efficiency your building is if the staff leave the lights on and the windows open," he said.
"People need to know they can make a difference as an individual and need to be involved."
Letting the workforce know how much energy is costing a company, and how that reflects on the organisation's performance, can help them put the issue in the context of job security and profitability.
But large energy bills can also seem abstract and detached from any one individual's actions, so breaking things down to let people know what each person should save to meet targets is also vital, said Mr Floyd.
"Motivating and encouraging our staff is a normal part of business," he said.
"We just need to apply that to energy efficiency. It's the people that make things happen and if they are not working with you, your plans are not going to work."
Explaining energy use in an easy-to-absorb manner is the starting point, he said, and if people can use what they learn at work to make savings at home, so much the better.
"At the end of the day, it's no different to anything else in business," he said.
"You're asking people to increase value and reduce waste. Once you get across that it is relevant and the individual can make a difference you're getting somewhere.
"You need to make it easy and part of the routine, do it and keep doing it.
"Because we are creatures of habit and once you have people interested, you can keep making savings."
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