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Businesses 'getting strategic about energy consumption'

Businesses 'getting strategic about energy consumption'

Businesses 'getting strategic about energy consumption'

An increasing number of businesses are taking a strategic approach to their energy consumption, employing various methods and initiatives to maximise their efficiency and gain significant returns on investments.

That's according to the Environmental Defence Fund (EDF), a non-profit body that has more than 1.5 million members and a workforce consisting of hundreds of scientists, economists, policy experts and other professionals from across the globe.

In 2008, EDF launched its Climate Corps summer fellowship programme, which places trained graduates within organisations to drive clean energy strategy and projects. In a recent report, the group looked at the efforts of more than 350 large corporations and over 600 Climate Corps fellows during the last eight years.

The research highlighted five key trends, which could prove informative and inspirational for businesses of all sizes looking to improve their own environmental performance and green standards.

One of EDF's key conclusions was that energy efficiency "was just the beginning", with many firms pushing ahead with more ambitious projects designed to deliver bigger benefits.

In a blog post exploring some of the latest trends, Liz Delaney, EDF Climate Corps programme director, wrote: "Companies have become more strategic and sophisticated about energy management over the years. Equipment upgrades and retrofits have paved the way for higher-level energy analyses and plans, integration of clean energy technologies and more."

The report also noted that an increasing number of companies are realising the benefits of energy efficiency initiatives and stepping up their efforts to encompass more locations and properties.

Last year, 40 facilities included in EDF's analysis were covered by a single efficiency project on average, up from 22 in 2013.

If businesses want to make a serious commitment to improving their environmental performance and optimising their energy use, some investment is likely to be required. The firms that are willing to invest the most are likely to see the biggest gains.

"The days of the low-cost or no-cost energy efficiency improvement may be over," wrote Ms Delaney. "Projects now require substantial upfront capital investments, but they also deliver more value."

Of course, there are a number of positive, easy steps businesses can take that cost nothing. If you work with a cleaning company, for example, make sure it's one that can demonstrate solid green credentials and accreditations, as well as a strong commitment to environmentally friendly practices.

It can also prove beneficial to introduce positive practices and facilitate behavioural change in the workplace. Simply encouraging employees to switch off lights when they leave rooms, turn off electrical equipment at the end of the day and use recycling bins can make big contributions to your overall energy efficiency.

Once these basic foundations are in place, your business can shift its focus to bigger projects that could drive long-term change, such as increasing the amount of energy you derive from sustainable, eco-friendly sources.

 

Posted by Julie Tucker

Image courtesy of iStock/NicoElNino