What do energy conservation and a personal budget have in common?
Well, a lot actually.
In both scenarios, you've got resources coming in, resources going out, and you're probably always looking for ways to cut back and save more. They both require a little give and take, a little number crunching, and the results can be completely satisfying.
Whether you're looking to save energy or just need another way to cut down on dollars at your organization, energy conservation is the way to go.
If you're wanting to start an energy management program, there are a few guidelines that can help you on your way to getting your energy use in order and conservation tactics ready.
1. Clarity – Get full visibility into your bills, meters and usage with energy tracking software. You've got to know where you are with energy use before you can see where you're going, so this means getting the data on how much you're using and spending. Just like with a budget, you may need to map out how much you're spending on each line item and even look at those numbers for a few months to draw some conclusions.
2. Cost Avoidance – Find billing errors and identify areas of cost savings. Once you can see all of those line items, it's time to start cutting. Maybe you can reduce your eating-out budget or shave some dollars off your entertainment fund. When you can look at all of your energy data together, you will be able to see patterns that will lead you to simple ways to save or even inconsistencies with what you've been paying.
3. Conservation – Discover ways to reduce your energy consumption. Now comes the fun, experimental part. You get to start spending less in your personal budget and likewise your energy usage and spending will go down as you implement smarter ways to save. This is also a good time to pull in others and get them involved in being good energy stewards. This can mean everything from turning off the lights to implementing a VFD (variable frequency drive) for your chiller.
4. Compliance – Ensure you have the right data and reports for regulatory compliance by choosing reliable energy tracking software. With budgeting, this may come into play as you need to share spending updates with your spouse, other family members or even a financial advisor. Similarly with your energy usage, you will need a way to produce simple reports to show how much you're saving, where and how. These will help you champion your cause to others in your organization, as well as keep compliant.
5. Communication – Gain buy-in and get your entire organization involved. Speaking of spreading the word, this is a critical step to your continued success. Just as you would share with others how budgeting has saved you money for your next trip or so you can buy a new car, you can find creative ways to share your story about energy savings and ways that each person in your organization can be an energy conservation champion. This may take shape as a regular meeting, campaigns around your success (posters in the hallway, energy initiatives projects on TV screens) or training individuals to create change within their teams.
Consider these 5 Cs as your roadmap to energy saving success (and maybe inspiration to work on your personal budget). No matter how big your energy goals are – you've got this!