Managing energy consumption to improve forecasting checklist
Managing energy consumption to improve forecastsEnergy cost, like the cost of any commodity, depends on two fundamental economic factors -- supplyand demand. On the supply side energy markets, regulations and your own procurement practices allaffect the price you pay per unit of energy. The first two of these are mostly outside your control orinfluence; procurement is the only one you can influence.On the demand side, energy consumption is the sole determinant of your energy cost. Withcommitment, you can manage it very effectively from day to day. You can achieve greater energyefficiency and budget certainty through small improvements to daily operations.The following ideas are likely to involve some level of investment, but you can achieve all of them formuch less money than you would spend on construction projects.Do you:1. Understand the energy efficiency of all the equipment and services in your buildings?2. Have sub metering installed?3. Monitor energy consumption in real time?4. Collect data about variables such as weather, occupancy, footfall, units of production?5. Benchmark energy use across your operations?6. Understand the effects and implications of energy trends?7. Understand the effects of facility and equipment maintenance activity on energy cost?8. Understand the changing relationship between energy demand and cost?9. Capture and analyze complete and accurate data from your utility bills?10. Use energy-use data from the past to reduce future needs?11. Have an intense curiosity about the workings of the political-economic world12. Have an intense curiosity about the workings of the human mind13. Have cognitive crunching power ("fluid intelligence" and a capacity for "timely self correction")?ConclusionEnergy costs appear likely to continue rising and they may even do so at alarming rates. Energy use iscentral to the health of your business; rising energy costs can pose significant risks.You can mitigate some of these risks by planning now to increase your energy efficiency in the comingyears. Your best opportunities involve the application of thoughtfully designed new buildings and/orsystems and in the retrofitting and remodelling of existing ones, but you can achieve cost savingsthrough applying simple operational changes. The decisions you make for these projects will affectyour company’s energy efficiency for many years to come.In addition to the risks posed by rising energy cost and changing tariff structures, sharp managers willalso find big opportunities. If you correctly anticipate the coming changes and plan well for them, youcan achieve powerful cost advantages over competitors that have not. Your best ally, besidesimagination and vision, is good information. To gather and analyze useful data from your complexoperations, you need information technologies that are vastly more sophisticated than spreadsheets.