One canâ€™t get a highly sought after medal for completing the Two Oceans marathon by wishing you had one and watching the race on television. Now letâ€™s face the difficult questions:
- What does EE mean to you?
- Where does it score on your priority meter and what do you want to achieve?
- Do you purely want to save money i.e. spend less on energy â€“ especially now that times are tough â€“ or do you want to reduce your environmental footprint on a sustainable basis?
- Are you looking at reducing your total energy consumption or are you also looking at productivity â€“ getting the same value while using less resources?
- How much of your drive to achieve EE is driven by external circumstances, like the changes in your environment, the increase in electricity tariffs and the pollution caused by your misguided use of energy?
- Are you also driven by internal values like wanting to be carbon neutral, aiming for optimal operational efficiency or the need to do the right thing?
- Why do you look for renewable energy sources and are you willing to pay the short term price for long term benefit?
- Do you even know what they are?
energy efficiency policy
If we are really committed to being energy smart, we will be willing to state our EE goals and values on paper. You know the saying, ‘If you donâ€™t write them down, theyâ€™re not realâ€. This is the first step. What you put down on paper is equally important. We often see EE policy statements that are so vague, it renders them useless. A proper EE policy will have measurable objectives, milestones and clear strategies.
energy saving strategy
Before you can actually formulate your EE policy, you need to determine sustainable ways in which you can save energy. If I drive my 1400cc car less by planning my routes better, avoid stop-start driving and keep below 100km/h on the highway, I might be able to save 15-20% on fuel and cost. If I stop using my 3 liter SUV in town and use the 1400cc as above, I may well save 50%. Always determine what the scope is for saving and which methods would work best in your personal circumstances. Why not test yourself?
energy consumption baseline
Last time we mentioned the importance of determining a benchmark of your current energy usage, to compare with the best practice or where you want to be. Only now can you consider the low hanging fruit opportunities and strategies to ensure your efforts contribute to a sustainable improvement that will benefit the overall operational efficiency of your business. Can you save 10% on your Oct 06 â€“ Sep 07 baseline? Government calls this the PCP (Power Conservation Programme).
Although the finer detail is still not finalised, the aim is to incentivize electricity consumers to save 10% (against their 06/07 baseline) through a penalty system. The envisaged penalties are steep. Are you on track? Do you know your baseline? Do you have a strategy to meet your new consumption target? Do you know what it will cost if you donâ€™t achieve the prescribed saving? Donâ€™t wait until the penalties hit you. Get fit before the marathon starts!
Many people consider EE to reduce their carbon footprint, especially those in the export value chain, tourism and listed companies. Most companiesâ€™ energy consumption is the main culprit of their fossil fuel guzzling and carbon emissions. What is your carbon footprint? Do you have an integrated strategy to reduce it?
efficiency is not enough
A trainee fireman could be highly efficient and set the class record for running up a ladder in the quickest time. However, if the ladder was leaning against the wrong wall, he would not be very effective in fighting the fire. That is why we must rather focus on being energy smart. Efficiency on its own is just not good enough. We need to look at sustainable improvements. Next month in this regular column we focus on the most important bottom-line goals (people, planet, profit) to consider in your quest to become energy smart.
Carel Venter is a business strategy and enterprise development adviser with CSD. For an Energy Smart Health Check call him on 083 440 9640 or Koos Bouwer on 082 887 8425 or mail email@example.com