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Smart energy management: A win for the environment, people and business.


Quality of Life Observer

- Corporate

- Oct 20 2016

Although increasing energy performance in the workplace can feel like an uphill battle, Sodexo has what it takes to meet the challenge: extensive technical expertise as well as an acute understanding of employees’ expectations and behaviors.


People in the workplace are the most powerful resources to curb carbon emissions – this is the main idea behind smart energy management. And to make the most of this valuable resource, people need to be educated on how individual actions and habits can collectively advance or slow down climate change.

Follow the energy trail

From the moment a piece of coal is mined, it begins to form its carbon footprint. As it is converted into electricity, as this electricity travels through the grid and along miles of power lines, as it enters into homes and offices and illuminates rooms – all along the way it burns energy, creates greenhouse gases and ultimately damages our environment.

 

But when an employee remembers to turn off a light in an empty conference room or raises the temperature in an air-conditioned space, the company as a whole saves more than just a unit of energy. It cuts the energy that the utility company uses to produce and distribute that unit. Overall, when a company reduces 1 unit of electricity, it actually saves between 1.2 – 1.5 units on average.

Rallying around a common goal

Sodexo’s own energy management program recognizes the need to change corporate culture and behaviors. Raising awareness and education are vital components of change. When employees know how much energy a company consumes and the domino effect it tips into action along the energy chain, a broader sense of responsibility spreads through the office. Simple initiatives such as displaying an office’s current energy consumption alongside its consumption from previous months can motivate employees to conserve energy. Feedback and tracking can also be shared on company websites, via dedicated mobile applications or on display screens in high-traffic areas.

 

Employee engagement also rises when individuals are encouraged to actively participate in the process. The Sodexo program for example, involves appointing a volunteer Energy Champion within a community to help lead “green committees” to find engaging ways to identify and reduce energy waste.

A better workplace, a better world

Another surefire way to get employees onboard is to approach energy management as a Quality of Life issue; after all, smart energy management can improve several aspects of the physical environment. Imagine working in a room with several electronic devices – from computers, to printers to other types of machinery. As these machines work, they generate heat, which can cause rooms to become uncomfortably warm. Studies show that once indoor temperature rises too high, productivity dips. Simple changes such as turning off computers that are not in use or relying on natural light from time to time can make a huge difference in reducing energy consumption and create a more pleasant environment for employees.

The bottom line

And if saving the planet and boosting the morale of hardworking employees isn’t enough, smart energy management can make a significant dent in a company’s bottom line. First off, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that a typical workplace energy awareness program can result in overall savings of 3 percent on an organization’s energy bill. But that is just the tip of the iceberg – today, roughly 30 percent of energy is used inefficiently or unnecessarily. According to the EPA, if energy efficiency improved by just 10 percent, it could result in savings of $20 billion. Moreover, consumers are drawn to environmentally responsible companies. A Nielsen study of 30,000 people in 60 countries indicated that 55 percent of online consumers say that they are willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact.

 

Given these benefits, it’s not wonder that decision makers around the world – from 71 percent in Australia to 93 percent in China and India – consider energy management very or extremely important to their organizations.

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Smart energy management: A win for the environment, people and business.

Although increasing energy performance in the workplace can feel like an uphill battle, Sodexo has what it takes to meet the challenge: extensive technical expertise as well as an acute understanding of employees’ expectations and behaviors.

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