Using people power to reach energy efficiency goals in business

June 16, 2017

Employees discussing the benefits of sustainable business practicesWorking toward energy efficiency is most successful when approached collectively. While energy managers may head the team exploring how to reduce energy costs in business, it’s an overall group effort that yields the best results.

That’s the overarching message in an article published by Smart Energy Decisions, which describes how increasing employee engagement improves the chances of reaching corporate social responsibility goals.

From the article:

One underutilized approach is to engage the broader workforce to get all of an organization's employees involved in identifying and achieving energy savings opportunities. Doing so can create substantial benefits. 

According to a study cited in the article, when employees at manufacturing facilities are active participants in energy conservation initiatives, there is an average savings of 5.96%. That’s nearly double the average energy savings rate of 3.30% found at companies where staff members know about various initiatives, but do not participate. Traditional office buildings also note improved energy savings when employees are actively involved.

While energy managers may excel at reducing energy costs using energy audits, revamping buildings or equipment and redesigning overall processes—they may not have the people skills to make these efforts as successful as they could be.

That’s where the human resources department can step in as a natural ally. In addition to communicating and promoting programs to employees, HR can also play an important role in finding workers who are most likely to get involved. According to the article, hiring and retaining top talent increasingly comes from a pool comprised of Millennials who want to be actively involved in pursuing the benefits of sustainable business practices.

Ultimately, engaging employees around the company's energy and sustainability goals is a win for everyone. The energy team gets deeper and broader savings when they can influence individual practices and find energy savings opportunities that aren't easily identified through traditional means, while HR gets a powerful recruitment and retention tool.

Another study cited in the article states 70% of all employees (and 82% of Millennials) report they would be more loyal to organizations that give them a role in corporate sustainability efforts. That means energy managers can enjoy greater success by involving people directly, while the company can concurrently use those efforts to attract top talent. Tapping into that kind of people power is really a “win-win-win”—for the organization, its employees and the environment. 

Related links:

How to build a compelling case for energy efficiency programs in 8 steps

INFOGRAPHIC: The triple bottom line: a sustainable model for success

Learn how sustainable business practices can benefit your organization

INFOGRAPHIC: 8 things sustainable businesses care about

10 simple ways to reduce business energy costs

Understanding solar panel efficiency isn’t rocket science... except when it is
Understanding solar panel efficiency isn’t rocket science... except when it is

Solar panel efficiency ratings may not sound impressive until you understand the history of solar panel tec...

Answering: “How many solar panels do I need for my business?”
Answering: “How many solar panels do I need for my business?”

When an organization asks “How many solar panels do I need?” it goes beyond a simple calculation. Consider ...