The Benefits of Energy Efficiency – Financial, Energy and Employee
When looking at the multiple benefits of energy efficiency, it makes sense to divide the advantages into two realms—the financial/energy and the employee benefits. The employee benefits of energy efficiency, are discussed here.
The employee benefits of energy efficiency include productivity improvements and employee health. Ways and means to quantify these values are still being refined, but even the rough metrics now available are useful to public- and private-sector efforts to convey the value of energy efficiency to end users. Ultimately, the goal at the micro level is to develop multiple-benefits data that support investment decision making in individual energy systems optimization projects.
A recent white paper, “Multiple Benefits Energy Efficiency: A Survey of Existing and Potential Measures,” written by Christopher Russell, discusses the many possible benefits that synergistically occur along with energy improvements. Here are the energy efficiency benefits with the greatest impact.
- Increased productivity: Energy optimization improvements often lead to an increase in production capacity, rate of output or cycle times.
- New revenues: New revenue attributable to products marketed as sustainable or green alternatives because of their less energy-intensive manufacture. New revenues can also be derived from emission reduction credits and/or demand response program participation fees.
- Increased profits: Each dollar of energy savings contributes one full dollar of operating profit; such accounting can make energy management results more transparent and persuasive to skeptics.
- Reduced costs: Lower energy consumed per unit of production attributable to energy efficiency gains.
- Reduced costs of energy compliance: Administrative costs and penalties related to emissions compliance may decrease proportionately to reduced energy consumption.
- Capital cost avoidance: The adoption of efficient technologies can make redundant (or reduce the bulk of) some production equipment, either immediately or through subsequent capital planning cycles. In some circumstances, equipment life may be extended due to less intensive use.
- Enhanced workplace safety: Human health and safety hazards tend to be reduced—especially thermal and mechanical hazards—commensurate with reduced energy consumption.
- Another bonus: A better working environment tends to have positive implications for staff retention and attraction.
The multiple benefits of energy efficiency make for an impressive dance card full of compelling reasons to make energy efficiency a priority. The white paper cites that one facility, a BC Hydro plant, reported an impressive list of benefits that coincided with energy systems optimization projects. In a nutshell, capital improvements led to maintenance, gas, fuel, operations, steam and chemical savings as well as an improvement in product quality. Check out this case study for more information.