More companies are establishing corporate-wide programs for coordinated energy reduction and improved capital allocation. The execution of these programs is often by lead by a Corporate Energy Manager along with his or her direct and extended team. This role requires new skills and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Look for more companies to staff this position in upcoming years.
Corporate energy management programs are increasing. Despite flat energy prices, companies continue to see opportunities that energy efficiency affords for margin expansion while meeting manufacturing production or occupancy comfort goals. Improved energy efficiency is also needed to meet publicly stated carbon or energy reduction goals and to demonstrate top customers the commitment to operational efficiency. 3M, Alcoa, Applied Materials, AT&T, Best Buy, Briggs and Stratton, Cinemark, Eastman Chemical Company, General Electric, Genzyme, Niemen Marcus, Millipore, Pfizer, Staples and hundreds of others have established corporate energy management programs lead by a Corporate Energy Manager.
These companies are realizing 5-20% energy savings through coordinated capital allocation for retrofits, no or low cost operational changes, utility incentives, shared best practices, and shared corporate services.
While some specific job responsibility differs, for the most part these positions are responsible for shepherding increased energy efficiency company-wide, across all sites and plants and ensuring alignment between company goals and local execution.
Most corporate energy management program are in their infancy as companies establish an understanding of their total energy spend across facilities, identify top energy consuming assets, leverage any energy procurement and demand response opportunities, develop software tools for monitoring energy costs and ensure energy accountability with senior management, line managers, and facility managers.
An energy management program and role require new skills. Organizations are traditionally staffed to optimize manufacturing production ("don't slow down the line") or occupancy comfort ("keep the hotel guest, office works or students happy"). Facility management and operations teams are skilled at ensuring operational reliability. But they often may not have the time, skills or corporate mandate to focus on energy management across all corporate operations. New skills are also needed to act upon the flood of new data from the increased use of energy management software that pulls together energy cost and use data from utility bills and submeters.
Ten years ago very few companies had a Corporate Energy Manager. Today perhaps twenty percent do, and in five years we expect the vast majority of large companies will have staffed this position as the profit enhancement from energy efficiency is simply too great ignore and the return on investment for the program is often less than one year.
For those just starting a program, the Energy Star has a decent framework.
What do you think about this new role? If you are involved with energy management, consider taking our Corporate Energy Manager survey (info below).
Take the GreenBiz/Groom Energy Corporate Energy Management SurveyWe have partnered with GreenBiz on a survey to better understand the role of the Corporate Energy Manager. If you involved with energy management, please take this 10 minute survey. In return, we'll send you summarized results so you can benchmark your program (no individual company information will be shared). Take the survey here.