Overview of the planning process
This chapter will describe all the actions you need to take to create your own customised energy reduction plan. In brief, the main actions are as follows:
- Set a baseline: Firstly, you need to set a baseline for your annual energy use. By adding up the amount of electricity, gas and fuel that you have used over the previous 12-month period, you’ll be able to assess the effectiveness of the changes that you’ll be making. This is also necessary to be able to calculate the payback period of any energy reduction investments you’ve made.
- Prioritise your actions: You’ll then need to identify and prioritise the energy reducing actions that best suit your business in the short, medium and long term.
The steps in this book detail the immediate no-cost and low-cost actions that the average small business can easily implement straight away. When it comes to investing in energy efficiency upgrades, many small businesses have had an excellent ROI by prioritising their initial investments into energy efficiency lighting upgrades. You may want to do the same.
- Set a target: By setting an energy reduction target – and a date by which to achieve your target – you’ll have a concrete goal that your team can work towards.
Setting realistic targets increases the likelihood of their success, so incorporating the above information into your plan is critical. Additionally, if you don’t measure and monitor your energy use, you won’t be able to assess the effectiveness of your plan.
Set realistic targets
When making a plan, make sure that your targets are ‘SMART’:
Specific: well-defined and clearly understood
Measurable: measure your progress against a baseline
Achievable: ensure that your target is attainable
Realistic: don’t set the bar too high – set a realistic target
Time-bound: have a deadline by when your target should be reached
Many of the companies highlighted in case studies in the dark orange boxes in this book have taken this SMART approach. In the process, they’ve become more efficient and saved money.
Could you do the same?
Alchester Village Quality Meats, VIC
Alchester Village Quality Meats saved $500 a quarter by planning their approach to implementing their energy efficiency actions.
“The shop is very old so we looked around and thought there’s a lot we need to do here,” said co-owner Gabrielle Hopkins. “So we wrote down what we needed to do and prioritised what we should do.”
Why not do the same? Use our ‘Energy Reduction Plan’ template to map out a list of actions that will reduce your energy consumption and save you money. You can download it from EnergyCut.info/erp-template.