Energy efficiency: when sustainability is dictated by costs

Cost control motivates companies but still lacks a strategy “holistic”

Moved by the need to control costs, companies undertake energy efficiency yes, but most remains on the surface, not capturing the potential. These findings emerge from international survey conducted by the certification body DNV GL – Business Assurance, in collaboration with the Institute GFK Eurisko, about 1,557 professionals from different sectors in Europe, America and Asia.

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MANAGEMENT OF ENERGY EFFICIENCY

Energy efficiency is a key issue not only on a personal level (77%) and social (81%), but also from the point of view of the dynamics of business (69%). 57% of companies have adopted an ad hoc strategy, and 55% were given measurable targets, with rates increasing by about 10 points in the companies belonging to the sectors with high energy consumption.

However, energy efficiency is still ambition generic, with targets set mostly at the enterprise level in a comprehensive manner (37%). Very few businesses that give concrete objectives related to individual activities; even among companies with high energy consumption.

SUSTAINABILITY IS JUSTIFIED BY THE COSTS

67% of companies have invested in energy efficiency initiatives in the past three years. Sustainability is dictated by the cost: 46% have invested in more efficient or initiatives aimed at reducing fuel consumption and costs. Companies are making real efforts to optimize energy management, but without a long-term vision. Only 26% has adopted a plan of management. More sophisticated initiatives such as staff training (21%), appoint an energy manager (20%) or audit and assessment (20%) play a minor role.

Lacking a clear strategy and a systematic approach: fewer than half of the companies that after undertaking energy efficiency activities are able to quantify the savings.

OBSTACLES AND BENEFITS

Awareness by the management is not lacking; only 18% of the companies calls it a problem. The obstacles that prevent companies to make progress in energy efficiency are mainly economic in nature: other priorities require resources (36%), achievements expensive (33%), lack of economic returns (25%) and focusing on short-term results term (24%) top the list.

A systematic approach to help companies make the right decisions and get an adequate return on investment. However, the benefits are felt to outweigh the costs (59%), especially with regard to savings (54%).

A LOOK TO THE FUTURE

In the future it will increase the commitment and the approach will be more mature. Activities related to the reduction of costs and consumption remain the most common actions, but will also assist in a significant increase of strategic initiatives such as staff training (+ 13% compared to today), the identification of potential energy savings (+ 8%) and the preparation of management plans for energy (+ 7%).

Crisciotti Luca, CEO of DNV GL – Business Assurance said: “Unfortunately, most companies do not adopt a holistic approach. The criteria of energy efficiency are not yet applied in all organizational levels. Companies are focusing primarily on reducing costs and consumption – which is certainly a good thing – but lack a comprehensive approach that would allow to fully grasp the potential of efficient energy management. Adopt an energy management system help to define a strategy and translate it into action. Address the issues of energy efficiency only at the operational level is not enough.”

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METHODOLOGY AND SAMPLE SURVEY

The survey was conducted in April 2015 on a sample of 1,577 professionals who work in major companies in the fields of primary, secondary and tertiary sectors in different industry segments in Europe, America and Asia.

The sample consists of customers DNV and GL is not statistically representative of the population of the world companies:

  • 22% of the companies involved have fewer than 50 employees, 35% between 50 and 249 and 43% over 250
  • 4% of the companies operating in the primary sector, 54% in the secondary sector and 42% in terziary
  • 18% of the companies belong to sectors with high energy use:

mining and quarrying; supply of electricity, gas and water; woodworking and other products from wood and cork; production of articles of straw and woven materials; production of pulp, paper and paper products; publishing, printing and reproduction of recorded materials; coal production, refined petroleum products and nuclear fuel; manufacture of chemicals and chemical products; production of rubber and plastic products; production of other non-metallic mineral products; production of basic metals of recycling.

The sample includes 67 companies defined “leaders”

The classification of a company in the category of “leaders” is based on a set of specific requirements defined by DNV GL: have an energy efficiency strategy; establish measurable targets for energy efficiency; setting reduction targets at company level, at the level of function, area-wide; We have invested in energy efficiency initiatives over the past three years; quantify the amount of energy savings from these initiatives; be able to evaluate the overall relationship costs / benefits of the actions taken.

The questionnaire was administered using the CAWI (Computer Assisted Web Interviewing).

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