We’ve reached the point where the question should be when and not if companies should start looking into optimizing their energy consumption. However, an alarmingly small amount have begun to make the change.

How to Build a Business Case for a Smart Energy Solution
How to Build a Business Case for a Smart Energy Solution

Branislav Safarik | FUERGY

We’ve reached the point where the question should be when and not if companies should start looking into optimizing their energy consumption. However, an alarmingly small amount have begun to make the change.

Currently, Microsoft is leading the way when it comes to using renewable energy in the workplace. They recently announced an investment in 1.5 GW of renewable energy in the form of solar power plants and water conservation, becoming one of the most environmentally conscious tech companies.

More companies need to start looking to Microsoft as an example. However the decision to switch is more than a simple yes/no question and will take significant hurdles to overcome in the boardroom. Companies need to stop wasting resources and get smart about their energy consumption.

Smart energy systems are vital for businesses of all sizes to use in order to cut costs and more efficiently run their energy system. Of course, management will remain an obstacle for any major company-wide change. Here is how you can approach the higher-ups in your business and convince them to make the switch to become smarter about energy usage in your office.

 

Straight to the point: what are the direct benefits?

The savings from full adaption of a smart energy solution are myriad. They include significant improvements to a business’ overall cost, efficiency, finances, revenue growth, customer and vendor relationships, and most importantly, the ROI. 

1. Cost savings

With a switch to a smart energy, a company can save up to 66% on their electricity bill from the get-go, with the system optimizing the way in which a company spends its electricity, learns from company-wide habits, powers down inefficient appliances, and stores power for later use.

2. Efficiency of job tasks and functions

In addition to general cost savings, efficiency will be massively improved with any smart system. The system provides the company with a comprehensive overview of energy savings, leaving the AI to perform the tedious tasks typically done by workers. Therefore, an employee responsible for energy management has more time to focus on other more valuable tasks.

3. Streamlined financial processes

An automated billing system provides the detailed break-down of the invoices and fees regarding energy-optimization service, making everything clear and organized for managers to view.

4. Revenue growth 

With smart energy solution, the savings on energy will start to be generated instantly so the investment starts to pay off right after installation. Once the investment is paid off, the generated savings will transform into a new revenue stream entirely.

Savings from energy optimization might have a significant influence on the company’s OPEX. The company can either keep the savings or invest them in a different way: helping local communities, offer new benefits for employees, and much more. By doing so, the company can improve its public image, gain competitive advantage, and eventually become a leader of its specific industry.

In order to achieve this revenue growth, a company can develop pragmatic cost optimization initiatives that are impactful and implementable. Generally speaking, there are three types of these initiatives: Do Less, Do Better, and Do Cheaper. Smart energy systems combine these three initiatives in order to reach maximum energy efficiency.

5. Enhanced customer and vendor relationship management 

Besides general lowered energy costs, a customer might appreciate being a part of a sustainable and innovative solution. Customers can claim to be a supporter of sustainability in their communication strategy – and as we tread further through the 21st century this will continue to rise in importance.

6. Effect on ROI

Let’s be realistic. At the moment, switching to renewable energy sources doesn’t offer attractive ROI. The payback period is usually something around 15-20 years. Only large companies such as Microsoft, who have the available funds to finance initiatives supporting the transition towards sustainability, typically can afford to do so. 

However, smart energy systems are able to shorten the payback period to as little as 3 years using the newest available technologies such as AI, better prediction analysis, big data, and blockchain. The sharing economy may also play a future role in the energy industry as it makes the company an active participant in the process of energy supply. In fact, thanks to energy storage, your company can participate in energy trading and sharing without even being a producer of energy. Working together with microgrids and supergrids, smart energy systems offer amazing synergistic effects which can benefit not only your company but also your company’s environment.

 

Solar may not be the present, but it’s the future

Even though the current ROI is not feasible, it is nonetheless still a good time to invest in renewable energy sources – Mother Nature will thank you for doing your part. 

We need to look at this issue from a global perspective. According to new findings, global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the energy sector can completely phased out by 2060 with a net positive economic outlook. Be part of the change and switch over to renewable energy sources.

In terms of finances, the cost of batteries is constantly dropping while efficiency is going up. In the long term, it seems to be worthwhile to invest. Even more, renewables have already become the cheapest source of energy. Renewables, therefore, have room for improvement compared with fossil fuels. 

Investing in renewable energy, could also be used in the public relations strategy of a company. With scientists continuing to tell us the world is on the precipice of disaster, the ability to lower carbon footprints is a good way to gain positive PR for your company.

The energy sector also the strongest potential when it comes to emission reduction. With a little work, we can reduce emissions substantially by 2030.

Source: https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2018/12/UNEP-1.pdf

 

How should companies go about changing their energy systems?

To be sure the company uses green energy, the best way is to invest in your own renewable energy source – especially because energy providers can’t guarantee that the energy comes from green energy sources. Green energy is hard to identify in the whole energy load. 

Also, implementing a virtual microgrid that saves and provides all the information about all shared green energy on the grid is the only way how the company can claim pure green energy usage.

Government can be a hindrance or a partner in this process. The mass adoption of renewables requires either a change in legislation or offering financial rewards and incentives. If your government isn’t helping out, it’s time to take matters into your own hands.

Making the switch to more efficient energy usage can be a difficult one in a world that doesn’t think that it’s needed – especially for businesses. However, as we trend closer to environmental-induced disaster, it becomes more essential to optimize energy output. The time is now to get smart about energy consumption in the business setting.

 

 

The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of AltEnergyMag

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