Department of the Environment

About us | Contact us | Publications

Settlements Header ImageSettlements Header ImageSettlements Header Image

Publications archive - Human settlements

Disclaimer

Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

Implementing Energy Management in Business

WAYS TO REDUCE GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS
For Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)

Cartoon Image - Greenhouse Challenge Plus Fact Sheet 12 - Implementing Energy Management in Business

Climate Change

Climate change caused by greenhouse gases is one of the most serious challenges facing our community. Human actions–particularly burning fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) and land clearing–are generating more greenhouse gases. These additional greenhouse gases trap more heat and raise the earth’s surface temperature. This is called the enhanced greenhouse effect–it causes global warming and is changing our climate.

The impacts of climate change will have social, environmental and economic consequences that will affect all communities across the globe.

Implementing Energy Management in Business

Whether you wish to undertake just one task or implement a comprehensive strategy to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions across all areas of your business, the steps set out below will assist you to make the most of your ideas and optimise the energy and dollar savings that will flow from them.

Gain senior management support. Achieving support from senior management for the development of a robust energy management plan will ease the way when seeking the required funding to implement energy management actions. When presenting the case for energy management to your managers and other staff you should explain how energy efficient practices increase profits, boost competitiveness and have associated benefits; such as increased productivity, customer comfort, equipment longevity and often improved staff morale and public relations benefits.

What are your energy costs? By gathering both energy consumption and cost information from previous bills you will gain a better understanding of energy consumption opportunities. Remember to consider all the energy bills from your energy providers, any utility bills, transport costs and bills for waste treatment and removal.

Conduct an energy audit. An energy audit establishes where and how energy is being used in your business. It identifies the potential for energy and cost savings. You can either engage an environmental professional to conduct an audit of your business or have your energy audit conducted by a staff member with a good working knowledge of the energy demands of your business. Conducting a walk-through energy audit of your business allows you to identify areas of energy loss or over-consumption that might be corrected by relatively inexpensive actions. Engaging a professional to conduct an audit is likely to deliver more energy saving options and is the preferred option especially for companies with energy costs greater than $20,000 per year. The Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts website at http://www.environment.gov.au/settlements/challenge/members/ energyaudittools.html provides information on energy audit standards as well as information on increasing the energy efficiency of your business.

Develop an action plan. Once an energy audit of your business has been conducted you will be able to develop a list of actions that can be implemented to reduce your energy costs by increasing the energy efficiency of your operations. Your action plan should be your company’s energy efficiency blueprint. Your action plan should include a list of tasks, a timeline for implementation, cost requirements and staff responsibilities.

Develop an energy management policy. Incorporate energy management into your company’s operational policy. Achieving this may be as simple as developing a statement of your company’s commitment to energy efficient practices and to managing its energy consumption. You could present the statement to staff and to your customers and display it publicly via reports and media statements your company releases. Alternatively, you could develop a detailed energy management policy document for your company that includes information on your energy efficiency aims, your energy and energy cost reduction targets, the areas in your company that you will target to increase your company’s overall energy efficiency, and measures and methods you will use to track and report on energy consumption.

Gain staff support. Support for energy efficiency actions from your staff and their understanding of energy and greenhouse cost issues is critical to your business achieving its energy efficiency goals. Staff can provide great insights into how your business functions and staff members are often able to contribute practical energy saving ideas and solutions. It is therefore important to create a high level of awareness among staff about your energy management action plan and to involve staff across all levels of your business in its implementation. Providing staff with information, training and incentives to save energy are some of the ways by which you can achieve this.

Allocate responsibility. Assign responsibility for particular energy efficiency actions to particular staff members. This may involve appointing an energy manager or a team of enthusiastic staff members to monitor and track components of your energy management plan. You may also want to incorporate energy saving tasks into the job descriptions of various staff members, as this will ensure that your energy management actions are monitored and reported on regularly. This will also give ownership of your company’s energy management plan to your staff and increase their enthusiasm and motivation to work towards achieving your company’s energy efficiency goals.

Track savings. Develop and use a system to track the energy and cost savings that are generated as a result of implementing your energy action plan. The system should be able to help you collect and analyse energy consumption information and identify areas in your business where you may be able to achieve energy savings. Tracking your savings will both justify the implementation of your energy management plan and provide encouragement to staff to continue positive behaviours.

Report results. Report energy saving results and progress to management and staff on a regular basis to maintain enthusiasm about your energy management plan and keep energy management a priority in budget and planning considerations. Reporting results will also provide you with an opportunity to promote your energy saving achievements to your suppliers, to the business community and to the public. Promote your environmental credentials and raise your company’s profile by reporting energy saving activities in your local newspaper, in marketing brochures, in trade journals or magazines, on your company website and by nominating for energy saving awards.

Review. Remember to review your energy management plan at least once a year. Ensure that your action plan includes information on any relevant business purchases and takes into account any changes in your business practices. Keep up to date with new advances in energy saving technology and techniques whenever possible to ensure that your business is continuously minimising energy costs and consumption.

Additional Benefits

Equipment longevity. Using equipment efficiently can help improve the lifetime of the equipment.

Fewer breakdowns. Regular preventive maintenance means less equipment failure and associated business down time.

Safety. Well-maintained and efficiently operated equipment provides a safer working environment.

Improved sales. Research suggests that retail and commercial consumers are more informed and are reporting that environmental and social factors are strongly influencing purchasing decisions.

Increased staff morale. Equipment operating optimally means reduced staff discomfort commonly associated with heat loss, noise or odour produced by inefficient equipment. Research has shown that staff morale can be boosted when companies demonstrate strong environmental and ethical leadership. This can lead to an increase in productivity and improve the stability of your workforce.

Case Study

Toowoomba Metal Technologies has set in place a framework to implement effective environmental control and has established an ongoing continuous improvement program for energy management.

Its energy management program is structured to ensure there are accountabilities at all levels in order to address all the opportunities for CO 2–e reduction, energy efficiency and energy savings. The program includes staff education, energy monitoring, reporting and recording systems and installation of controls for lighting, air conditioning and heating systems throughout the plant.

Upgrading to energy efficient furnaces and other more productive processes have taken place across the site.

Training was implemented to establish environmental awareness within the workplace and to educate staff about procedures such as turning off lights and machinery when not required. Training was also given to security staff so that they would turn off lights and other power sources on their rounds.

The training and energy management program is expected to save energy and reduce wear and tear on machinery.

Implementing Energy Management in Business Fundamentals

Download PDF