Energy Management Myths

Myth Breakers: How to Make Energy Management a Reality

By Megan Porter

When California businesses consider energy management programs, they often face a balancing act.

On one side of the scale are the positive outcomes. These include controlling costs, becoming more efficient and reducing energy use. All are smart objectives for any business, and implementing a systematic energy management program is a proven approach for realizing them.

However, on the other side of the scale are the skeptical concerns. Businesses may think the investment isn't worth the time or they may feel that their firm is too small to benefit from energy efficiency initiatives. Those are common energy management myths that can keep positive programs from ever getting past the consideration stage.

Clearly, some California small and medium-sized businesses need compelling arguments to tip the scales in favor of energy management. That's where the "myth breakers" come in.

The myth breakers are proven reasons to get a company on board and engaged with energy management efforts. That's important, because in California, energy management is no longer a "wish list" item. It has become a significant factor in controlling business expenses.

Myths and Myth Breakers

The myths below are common misperceptions that many California businesses confront. However, the myth breakers that counteract them are the direct benefits that come from a systematic, long-term approach to improving commercial energy performance. For California businesses, the myth breakers also establish salient reasons to make energy management a company-wide priority.

MYTH: Too expensive
California businesses that are solely focused on reducing costs and improving profitability can mistakenly view energy efficiency projects as short-term liabilities. This erroneous perspective makes it unlikely that budget allocations will be made for energy management.

MYTH BREAKER: Realize reduced expenses
Here's a proven way to break the myth of cost prohibitive projects. California businesses looking to reduce expenses can use energy efficiency projects to lower utility bills, increase efficiency and reduce maintenance costs. They can also mitigate the upfront cost by installing products that require fewer replacements and run more efficiently today and in the future. In addition, companies can initiate highly affordable energy efficiency, such as installing time controls, occupancy sensors, photocells and programmable thermostats. These realities alone present strong arguments for commercial energy management. However, here's another myth breaker for manufacturing and other sectors: Commercial energy management can bring additional savings through reduced emissions and fewer environmental penalties.

MYTH: Too many agendas and too little resources
Small and medium-sized business owners have very full agendas. They have no time to devote to anything but running the business, and they often believe that they lack the resources to undertake other initiatives. That's true even when those initiatives could yield substantial savings.

MYTH BREAKER: Make it a shared agenda with shared resources
How can you possibly fit energy efficiency onto an overloaded agenda? By breaking the myth that any single person needs to own energy efficiency efforts. Energy efficiency yields company-wide benefits and it works most effectively when it is a company-wide effort. Here's what everyone should know: When your company commits to reduce energy use, the benefits you'll realize touch all individuals. By involving multiple people and sharing agendas and resources, energy efficiency becomes a positive part of your culture and everyone helps out. Energy efficiency also leads to more effective equipment, less energy use, more control over costs and a greener perception of your company. Those are all shared positives. In addition, looking at energy use from a production standpoint can help focus overall performance improvement efforts. In other words, when your company learns ways to reduce energy consumption in individual business processes, you are likely to find inefficiencies in other areas that can be remedied, as well.

MYTH: Too risky
Management and finance personnel are inherently risk averse. This is an understandable philosophy. However, it can become an unnecessary barrier when decision makers do not recognize the role that energy management can play to ensure better risk management.

MYTH BREAKER: Take better control of risk management
Break this myth by taking better control of risks with energy efficiency. Becoming more energy efficient can help any organization mitigate risks that are associated with utility deregulation, fluctuating fuel prices and power supply issues. These concerns are generally considered out of the control of management. But this commercial energy myth breaker gives California businesses a measure of control and better risk management. Another important point is that it can be risky not to comply with the latest California Title 24 energy standards, which are designed to reduce energy use. Energy efficiency initiatives help businesses stay in compliance with Title 24 standards.

MYTH: Too little information
California businesses are certainly pressed for time, and energy management is rarely on top of the agenda. In addition, decision makers may believe it is too difficult to get vital information, such as gauging energy use or defining the optimal energy efficiency initiatives to reduce energy use. This lack of information means commercial energy management can get "back burnered" for other objectives that seem to answer more immediate, time-sensitive needs.

MYTH BREAKER: Get information and resources in no time
In this case, accessible information is the ultimate myth breaker, particularly when it is real-time information about your business. The information you need to break this myth is available at MyEnergy on Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) created this online energy management resource with the tools and information that allow businesses to gauge their energy use by area, compare it to other businesses in their industry and get customized energy management recommendations and energy saving tips.

For more proven ways to reduce energy usage and save, businesses should invest in working with a contractor. PG&E has developed "The Complete Guide to Working with a Lighting or HVAC Contractor" eBook to improve California business's energy and cost efficiency. This eBook will also provide business owners with financing, incentives and rebate options to explore.

Use the myth breakers to get past energy management roadblocks and help your company be more efficient:
  • SMB Blog Author
    Megan Porter
    Senior Program Marketing Manager at PG&E, is a recognized leader in solutions marketing for small and medium-sized businesses. Megan uses her proven and practical expertise to bring energy efficiency education to businesses in every industry. In this vital role, she develops and oversees highly successful initiatives that result in the adoption of more efficient long-term energy management behaviors.

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