3 Tips to Gain Support for an Energy Management Investment

You fully understand the potential benefits energy management could bring to your organization, and you’re ready to get the ball rolling.

But something is standing in the way.

Maybe key decision makers see the initiative as burdensome, or maybe stakeholders across other departments are concerned about how it could affect their day-to-day jobs.

Jennifer Rokasky, Energy Education Coordinator for the Prince William County School district, has lived this reality, navigating the energy needs and priorities of the second-largest school system in Virginia. Ultimately, Rokasky and her team spearheaded the implementation of energy intelligence software across the district, using the tools to integrate energy-efficient behavior throughout the organization and drive significant ROI in the years since.

Even though she works in an education setting, the lessons she shared at the EnergySMART 2016 Conference can apply to any industry.

1. Show How Energy Savings Could Affect Overall Budgeting

Every organization speaks the language of budgets. But how you contextualize the financial impact of an energy management investment can go a long way toward getting executive buy-in.

In Rokasky’s case, the staff who actually worked in the facilities was not responsible for paying the utility bills, so they had no idea how much money their energy usage was costing the district. More importantly, they hadn’t considered how the money spent on energy could be used elsewhere.

Targeting this dynamic, Rokasky said one question was particularly effective when trying to make the financial case: “Wouldn’t you rather keep that money in the school system instead of letting it go to the utility?”

Read our free guide for more valuable insight into making the business case for energy transformation at your organization

This can be an effective strategy for anyone trying to move ahead with energy management in any kind of organization. To illustrate the value of the potential savings earned through energy management, point to the areas where decision makers could apply the newfound budget.

Now, Rokasky said the question has shifted to, “where do the savings go?”

2. Point to Success Stories in Similar Organizations

Decision makers may see the potential financial value, but they’ll need to be confident that these savings are realistic.

Rokasky said her department referred to a school district in a neighboring county that had been using energy management tools for more than a decade. With very similar needs and priorities, this was the same kind of organization reaping the kinds of benefits her organization also wanted to see.

Of course, this is applicable to businesses of all kinds. There’s no shortage of case studies for companies that have integrated energy management into their operations. Their successes could be a strong part of your case for an investment in energy management.

3. Address Concerns Upfront

While advocating for energy management upgrades, Rokasky says her team saw pushback from employees who were concerned about how it would affect their work environments. This is a legitimate concern, as the value of any kind of investment is limited if it becomes a hindrance to productivity.

In Rokasky’s case, many of the concerns involved the productivity of custodial staff, who worked during off-peak hours during which the school district planned to adjust its heating and cooling strategy.

Introducing new policies and processes could cause unease within any kind of organization. It’s important to meet directly with those who may be affected and address their concerns head-on. Rokasky said she and her team communicated with the custodial staff and assured them that their working conditions would be a foremost consideration in the heating and cooling plan. This established an open dialogue and trusting relationship with the department, to the point that custodians embraced energy efficiency themselves, turning off lights and equipment that were left on when they weren’t being used, for example.

Similarly, Rokasky explained that her team had to accommodate the use of schools’ facilities during after-school activities and programs. To minimize the impact these programs had on overall energy usage, Rokasky’s team suggested that programs planned for different areas across a facility be held in the same zone within the building. This enabled the facility to shut off power in all other zones, while also allowing after-school programs to proceed as planned.

With this kind of planning ahead of time, you can show how your organization can integrate energy-efficient behavior seamlessly. That will only make the other benefits easier to embrace.

Learn how to make a case for energy management with our free guide to energy intelligence software.
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Authored By Colin Neagle

Colin is a marketing manager for Enel X North America and editor-in-chief of the EnergySMART blog.

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