Good businesses require smart business planning. The same planning should include energy use. The planning you use will depend on what is appropriate for your business and the environment that you work in.
All businesses need to think about energy; how you use it, how much you use and the forms of fuel you are consuming in your processes.
The larger your operation, or the more power you use, the more likely it is you'll need a dedicated energy plan, with measureable objectives.
Effective use of energy will need to be integrated to your business processes and operations. The appointment of an Energy Manager, or making this role part of the job description of someone in your business, is a great start. Evaluating your operations for possible energy savings and optimal use of energy is another step. Once you have ideas of the areas where you want to make improvements, identifying consumption and energy use patterns will allow setting of targets. Regular progress reports on achieving targets and involvement of staff in your energy planning will make a huge difference in meeting targets.
Often businesses will have a purchasing or procurement plan to get goods and services for the best cost, an energy purchasing plan can be part of that plan. Discussion with your electricity provider, or other companies, may highlight ways you can buy cheaper power. Timing and use of electricity can make a big impact on your costs and sustainable use of power.
You will be making greenhouse gas emissions through your operations, transport, production and waste and understanding your emissions is an important part of the energy equation. There are tools and assistance available and contracting professional advice can be a way to ensure you are making the most of your opportunities to save energy and operate sustainably. One such calculator is www.nzbcsd.org.nz/emissions/content.asp?id=418.
Energy use in your plant, premises or vehicles can be reviewed to see if what efficiencies you can make. It may be transporting goods at times when traffic is lighter can achieve fuel-use benefits, allowing staff to operate from home regularly will save everyone and the community energy.
We all know that better energy use will save money, that's a given, deliberate planning will also play dividends with your staff customers, and your community.