- Posted by Pam Hoddinott
- On September 15, 2020
Program Management: The Key to Strategic Energy Management –
Strategic planning – what is it? BusinessDictionary.com defines it as “A systematic process of envisioning a desired future, and translating this vision into broadly defined goals or objectives and a sequence of steps to achieve them.” What does this mean for organizations that have goals to reduce energy use and improve sustainability? These organizations must have strategies in place that can be translated into an executable plan if they wish to reach their desired energy efficiency goals.
Today, energy, operations, facility, and sustainability professionals are challenged to create energy reduction strategies and executable plans to achieve set goals. Yet, 90 percent of organizations fail to execute their strategies successfully, according to The Balanced Scorecard (Kaplan & Norton).
Why is it so difficult for energy managers to execute a strategic plan? The plan may be far reaching and cover areas such as supply-side management, demand-side management, and sustainability. Energy managers might not be well-versed in all areas of the broad scope covered in the plan. A Program Management expert can be the key to effectively tie together all goals and successfully execute an energy optimization strategic plan.
What is Program Management?
Program Management is a way that energy management companies help their clients by translating strategic energy efficiency and sustainability goals into desired results that can impact their clients’ organizations in a big way. It includes areas such as prioritizing strategies to defining expected results and bridging and scaling multiple projects with numerous vendors at various facilities. Program Management experts coordinate and implement various projects for increased efficiency and results, reduce overhead and production time, but, more importantly, help their clients execute strategic initiatives.
Let’s be clear – Program Management is NOT project management. Think of it this way – Program Management will help create an executable plan – a roadmap – covering all areas of energy management and sustainability and then prioritize those projects and resources necessary to help reach set goals. As part of this, it is crucial to understand how one project may impact another project within the same facility or building optimization as a whole.
Here are some things to consider:
1. Identify the problems to be solved and goals to be reached
The first thing an organization needs to do is set energy efficiency and sustainability goals. Without definable goals, a solid plan and process cannot exist. There are a few ways to identify energy inefficiencies, how to fix them, and what results to expect.
Benchmarking – is often considered the first step to energy efficiency. We’ve all heard the adage, “you can manage what you don’t measure.” Benchmarking sets a starting point for goals and calculating progress.
Energy Audits or Energy Assessments – Audits or Assessments will provide information on where improvements can be made, what type of savings to expect if improvements are implemented, and any suggested capital needed for larger projects.
2. Form an internal energy team
This team will be central in helping to reach the organization’s energy reduction goals. Form an inclusive group with high-level staff so there is executive buy-in on the benefits of this program. Don’t forget to include sustainability managers and even IT staff if technology is part of the energy efficiency solution.
3. Find a Program Management partner
It is also important to consider assistance from an outside organization. For example, look for an energy management company that provides Program Management. They can provide expertise in aligning energy efficiency and sustainability goals with the organization’s practices and streamline the process. Look for a company that can execute a strategy – not just projects. Energy Management companies have the knowledge and resources needed to plan, coordinate, and manage multiple energy savings plans at the same time. There are benefits to working with a company that provides Program Management, such as dealing with only one point of contact when complex projects are being implemented simultaneously. Another is having a partner who can balance the right mix of resources, provide finance options, and manage risk all while having the end goal in mind.
Take a New Approach
Today, organizations are beginning to view energy management as part of the core business and is considered when forming long-term business decisions. These forward-thinking organizations believe in Making Energy an Asset®. Energy is no longer thought of as a cost of doing business, but rather, when managed correctly, energy can advance business efficiency and add positive value back into the organization. According to Carbon Trust, “a 20% cut in energy costs represents the same bottom line benefit as a 5% increase in sales in many businesses.”
Communicate the value that energy management can bring to your organization. Executive level engagement is vital in this strategic commitment. Program Management can play a big part in the new operational excellence to come.