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Energy managers often underestimate the value of energy retrofits. Energy reductions save energy cost, but also avoid major business-as-usual capital upgrade costs, build enterprise leadership and reputation, drive down employee health and recruiting/retention costs, reduce risk, and sometimes drive revenue growth. A large body of evidence substantiates the existence of such value beyond energy cost savings, and is growing year-on-year.
The key to estimating this value — at least to an order of magnitude of enterprise value — is accessing more data than what portfolio energy managers are used to. Energy managers can gain access to or build databases that track employee absenteeism, insurance costs, promotions cost, sales revenue, tax subsidies, litigation risk, and other metrics that energy retrofits can affect.
In addition to building investment cases and creating tactical plans, managers can use their big data capabilities to verify the capital costs and energy savings of deployed energy projects. To do this effectively, managers will need to follow the International Performance Measurement and Verification Protocol, and reference weather data sets, occupancy information, and other data. Building this set of verified saving data will mitigate future risk and could create an avenue for attracting third party investment. Energy managers can build even more robust investment cases by tracking all of those aforementioned metrics that indicate the value beyond energy cost savings.
That is a lot of value available for energy managers right now, just by using their own existing system and a little ingenuity. If you are an energy manager that is already using one or more of these approaches, we would love to hear from you.
Michael Bendewald is a consultant with the Rocky Mountain Institute.
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