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How Companies Can Create A More Robust Energy Strategy

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Across industries, businesses are missing a major opportunity to mitigate risk, improve resilience and add new value. 

What's the missed opportunity? 

Energy management. 

According to a recent article in the Harvard Business Review — Energy Strategy for the C-Suite — businesses need to adopt and integrate a comprehensive energy strategy, based on the results from a recent survey of executives from 145 companies with $1 billion or more in revenue. 

From the research, the authors recommend five clear steps for creating a more robust business energy strategy. 

1. Begin with a C-Level Mandate

It's important that a company has a clear energy strategy directive and execution plan. As the article states, "The CEO mandate typically begins with a commitment—within the company, initially—to make energy strategy central to the firm’s mission and competitiveness. The CEO should signal the importance of this commitment by appointing a senior executive to serve as champion and shepherd." Of course, depending on the company, this directive could also come from the COO or CFO. 

We've put together a comprehensive guide to help executives and facility managers gain greater insight into their building's energy management. In the guide, we highlight some hidden truths about many facilities and demonstrate how energy management can help boost your bottom line, improve energy efficiency and optimize business operations. 

2. Add Energy to the Company's Vision and Operations

Before an effective energy strategy can be created, you first need to know the basics: how much energy does your business use and how much does it cost? After you've identified your gaps and opportunities, a clearer action plan can be created. 

Of course, you needn't do this alone. You can rely on a trusted energy supplier and/or strategic services to help guide you through parts of the process. 

3. Deploy Energy Monitoring Technology 

Businesses make sound decisions based off data and the same goes for effective energy management. As the article aptly notes, "Monitoring and analyzing energy use can reveal operating issues that affect costs, performance, and quality."

One technology, Panoramic Power — which analyzes 8 billion data points per month and counting — offers larger businesses a device-level energy management solution. The wireless sensors clip directly onto circuit wires, capture device level data in real-time and process data in an analytics platform. The technology's insights have been estimated to help save 12 percent for businesses on costs, allowing operators to see how they can become more energy efficient, how their equipment is functioning and how they can improve their overall operations.

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4. Adopt Renewables and Other New Technology 

The authors point out it's increasingly important for businesses to understand clean energy technologies and financing options. And many businesses are catching on: a recent Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) study found that 71 percent of Fortune 100 companies and 43 percent of Fortune 500 companies have now set renewable energy or sustainability targets. Moreover, 22 of Fortune 500 companies have now pursued 100 percent green energy goals. 

For businesses looking to join the growing solar trend, Direct Energy Business offers a number of commercial solar power options. In 2015, we unveiled a groundbreaking 1.2 megawatt rooftop solar project with H-E-B and SolarCity in Weslaco, Texas. More recently, we announced an innovative 13.6 megawatt remote solar project with Johns Hopkins University in Maryland and a new plan to install solar power systems at Whole Foods Market locations throughout the United States. 

5. Engage All Key Stakeholders

Companies need to connect with all relevant stakeholders on their energy strategy: customers, communities, governments, employees, investors and partners. Increasingly, customers and communities expect businesses to adopt cleaner forms of energy and sustainable business practices. Engaging employees can help maximize an energy strategy and employee satisfaction. Governments set regulations that can impact your energy strategy. 

Across the board, it's important to ensure your energy strategy isn't just executed, but that it is communicated to all stakeholders as well. 

There are three things most executives don't know about their company's energy management. Want to know what they are? 

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Posted: February 23, 2017