For most companies, the first step towards going green is improving their energy consumption. Not only does this address their environmental responsibility, but it can also help to optimize their operating revenues. Unfortunately, many are going about this transition the wrong way.

Most look to their utility expenses in order to determine the energy efficiency of institutional and commercial facilities. However, such statements are really only the reflection of inefficient energy use. Ultimately, they fail to pinpoint the root cause of the problem. Energy inefficiencies tend to originate in the following manner:

  1. Regular wear-and-tear leads to minor system issues
  2. More energy is needed to compensate
  3. Utility costs increase

In his article “Why has carbon footprint management become so important for today’s organizations?” Jean Paquin from Carbon Consult Group states that:

Carbon footprint management is becoming more and more important for today’s organizations. There are many benefits of managing effectively carbon footprint[1]:

 

  • Increased profitability

Many studies have demonstrated that companies who manage their carbon footprint efficiently perform better than the ones who don’t. Indeed, lots of savings can be identified with a better management approach to energy consumption or transportation of goods; for instance, looking at the supply chain (scope 3) – where a large majority of carbon emissions originate – reveals that consolidating suppliers can reduce the pass-through costs while limiting the overall carbon impact.

 

  • Improving reputation

Since reputation surely matters to your organization, taking a step towards integrating your carbon emissions into your corporate sustainability strategy sends out a message of leadership to the rest of your organization and the outside world. It also prevents your organization from being seen as a lager by ranking institutions (such as CDP, Dow Jones Sustainability Index).

We’ve noticed in many instances that financial institutions and investors are seriously considering the degree of environmental impact of companies as an important criterion in selecting their portfolio.  Therefore, a company keeping status quo runs the chance of being left out of the lead pack.

 

  • Stakeholders satisfaction

Managing GHG emissions enables an organization to meet expectations coming from their stakeholders (shareholders, employees, customers and partners alike). Indeed, shareholders are now imposing clear environmental performance objectives and guidelines on organizations. Potential candidates are now looking to work for organizations that have a clear and well-established environmental approach. Investors are re-defining their investment portfolio to take all carbon-related risks out. Those are just a few examples of the new strategies taken by stakeholders to mitigate their exposure to what they now perceive as unsustainable practices.

 

  • Risks mitigation

Being proactive in anticipating regulatory & political requirements at an early stage allows organizations to avoid costly solutions down the road and reduces their exposure to fossil fuel price volatility.

 

  • Innovation

The new low-carbon economy slowly leads to new patterns in consumer’s behavior. Understanding how activities are affecting the carbon footprint along a value chain will help organizations identify which constraints might apply most severely, and also guide them in making the necessary product or service adjustments.

 

Be Proactive, Not Reactive

 

Using a computerized maintenance management system, to track energy use and output within a facility offers a more proactive solution.

Monitoring the operation and output of facility components such as an HVAC system using a CMMS allows issues to be identified before their results are reflected in an energy bill. The data output from the CMMS can help to identify the need for inspections and repairs, as well as to assist in building a preventive maintenance schedule to ensure consistent system output.

 

[1] Jean Paquin. (2016). Why has carbon footprint management become so important for today’s organizations? [Blog] Carbon Consult Group. Available at: http://www.carbonconsultgroup.com/blog/carbon_footprint_management [Accessed 2/28/2017].

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