USEPA Announces Changes to Self-Audit Policy

While the USEPA spends a lot of time researching and writing rules that it has promulgated, another area of importance is enforcing these rules – to ensure they are fairly and evenly complied with. Besides the “stick” of fines, potential imprisonment, and bad publicity, the USEPA also uses the “carrot” of encouraging companies to comply by establishing a formal policy to waive the punitive portion of any penalties that would otherwise be assessed for violations if they are discovered independently by the facility, voluntarily disclosed to the USEPA, and promptly corrected. The USEPA’s “Incentives for Self-Policing: Discovery, Disclosure, Correction and Prevention of Violations” has been around since 2000 (modified in 2008) and been used successfully by companies since with compliance self-auditing programs, giving many a “clean slate.”

In 2012, during a time of budget cuts and reduced staff, the USEPA signaled that it may reduce involvement or even terminate the Audit Policy program.

However, on June 10, 2015, the USEPA held a webinar to confirm its strong support for the concept of self-auditing and announced changes to its Audit Policy and Small Business Compliance Policy to meet the same goals, while allowing the Agency to reduce effort spent. ( The USEPA has made the process electronic, creating an “eDisclosure Portal” to more efficiently collect information needed to determine whether a disclosure qualifies for the Audit Policy. It was designed to make the process close to self-executing. The trade-off for this efficiency increase is less flexibility to addressing unique individual circumstances.

For example, the Portal will track initial discovery, disclosure, compliance correction and certification dates, and automatically notify the submitter whether a deadline is missed (Audit Policy is non-applicable). The system is supposed to grant up to 30 additional days to complete compliance corrections above the normal 60 days. The applicant can request additional time to comply, but the USEPA will not rule on such a request until it reviews the entire request. Therefore, facilities taking added time to achieve compliance may find their extension request not granted and get no benefits under the Audit Policy.

Another potential problem with the new eDisclosure system for the user is that even if the system indicates that a facility meets all of the criteria to qualify for the Audit Policy program, such a final determination is only made by the USEPA after it reviews information inputted, and it has the right to contradict any statement from the system.

The USEPA does expect that the new eDisclosure system will ultimately benefit disclosing facilities, reducing their time and costs if they fully understand how to use the new system, collect and disclose all needed information fully, and meet all deadlines.

The eDisclosure system is expected to be launched in fall 2015. The new system may provide less certainty and less flexibility to applicants than current procedures, but will reduce time and costs to submit to the Agency necessary data, providing incentive to continue to use the Audit Policy to quickly disclose and correct violations and be rewarded for doing so.

CCES has the Air Quality experts to help your facilities determine potential violations of federal and state Clean Air Act regulations early in the process, help you correct them in a cost-effective manner, and initiate monitoring procedures to allow you to monitor your operations effectively. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at

CCES Case Study: NYC Local Law 87 Compliance for 2 Beverage Warehouses

Climate Change & Environmental Services (CCES) was the lead engineer for Manhattan Beer Distributors’ efforts to comply with New York City Local Law 87 (LL 87). Manhattan Beer Distributors operates two warehouse/office complexes in Bronx, NY.

CCES performed the energy audit and the retrocommissioning study for each 160,000+ sf facility to comply with NYC’s LL 87. An experienced CCES energy expert reviewed historic energy usage data, visited the facilities, and collected and analyzed technical data concerning its lighting, rooftop HVAC units, windows, and equipment operations. The data was used to develop an end-use estimate of electricity and natural gas usage by different equipment and operations. CCES developed a number of Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs) to reduce energy use and peak electricity demand, all with estimated costs, energy savings, and simple paybacks. Each strategy would result in a positive return on initial investment; potential financial incentives for the upfront costs through NYSERDA and Con Ed programs were considered in the calculations.

CCES also performed retro-commissioning of existing systems on-site at the two buildings, including inspecting HVAC, lighting, and building envelope. CCES determined a small number of deficiencies which Manhattan Beer Distributors quickly addressed to allow optimal operation of their systems.

Finally, CCES developed the appropriate reports required by LL 87, and submitted them to the NYC Dept of Buildings in a timely manner.

CCES has the certified professionals to perform and complete all parts of NYC Local Law 87 compliance requirements. Plus, we can help you use the information gained in the effort to help you reduce energy costs and gain other financial benefits. Contact us at 914-584-6720 or at

Ensuring our Energy Security Part 1: Microgrids

We have been fortunate in the U.S., especially compared to other nations. We gripe about many things, but electricity is pretty much steady and reliable. Unlike in some developing nations, it is rare that electricity is not delivered.

This may be changing. As we are getting out of our recession and technology grows and becomes more affordable, people and businesses are using more and more electricity: bigger, flat-screen TVs, more sophisticated smart phones, gadgets, etc. that do more things and thus need more electricity and have the battery charged more often. But the infrastructure needed to produce and transport this additional electricity right to our homes and businesses is expensive and needs upgrading. There is a growing risk – especially during the peak demand season, such as during hot summer workdays – that there will be electricity shortages and brownouts. What can we do to lessen the risk?

This is part one of ideas to ensure our electric security. Other ideas will be presented soon. Microgrids are catching on as a way to avert power outages and to allow greater local control of energy management. Having one’s own local or regional power plant was once considered laughable and unaffordable for any company or municipality. Of course, when the U.S. became electrified this was indeed the model, and to this day some old local utilities still exist. Large grid systems became more economical with help from government to encourage electrification of sparsely populated areas. But now technology is making microgrids affordable and economically beneficial in some cases for a series of companies or a portion of a whole municipality. And now with many large utilities acknowledging that they cannot keep up with the growing demand for electricity unless they can raise billions in infrastructure upgrades and politicians concerned about the reaction of ratepayers to the resulting steep rise in costs, a number of states have developed incentive programs to study and build microgrids.

Microgrids can be used as a backup to traditional grid electricity supply for peak demand periods only, reducing the risk of an electric failure. This is why many utilities actually favor these “competitors”, and therefore, some states are encouraging this, too. But if an entity is investing in a microgrid, it is certainly not going to want it to stay idle, but to operate continually, with the main grid acting as a backup if it needs to go down.

Microgrids became possible thanks to the improvement in technology and affordability of combined heat and power (CHP or “co-generation”), particularly thermal efficiency of 80% of fuel combusted producing and using both steam and electricity. If one or a group of entities can use both electricity and steam 24/7, then a CHP locally may be cost-effective, particularly as there is less loss in transporting energy long distances. Another factor that helped drive microgrid viability is renewable energy. With the drop in the cost of solar and wind energy, some new microgrids are incorporating these technologies in conjunction with fuel combustion. Also, improvements in storage technology (batteries) have helped, too.

Finally, a microgrid can go beyond just a reliable energy source for a group of users, but an information asset, as well. The need to coordinate microgrid operation with demand for steam and electricity makes them an effective energy manager for buildings and regions. Real-time data collected can indicate needs which the buildings can use to reduce peak demand or become more energy efficient, reducing costs even more.

More states and utilities are offering incentives for microgrids. Plan on one or a group of users who can use electricity and steam 24/7 and have a feasibility study performed of whether a microgrid is possible and what the costs and economic benefits may be.

CCES can manage the evaluation of your short- and long-term energy (thermal and electricity) needs. We can help you become more energy efficient and provide suggestions to widen your choices, giving you more control of your energy supply and cost. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at

Huge Untapped Financial Benefits for Buildings (How You Can Profit from Complying With Energy Laws)

Marc Karell will participate in a free webinar on the topic of using the various local laws to substantially reduce your energy costs on Tuesday, June 30 at 2:00 pm. See EE Reports ( to learn more about and to register for the free webinar.

Over the last few years, New York City government has put into effect several new laws affecting energy usage of large (>50,000 sq. ft.) buildings. Local Law (LL) 84 requires such buildings to enter their energy usage data (electricity, gas, oil) into a database for public view. The building does not have to reduce energy use; just enter data annually. LL 87 requires a building to perform a thorough energy audit and retro-commissioning study once per decade. Other municipalities have passed or are considering passing similar “benchmarking” and minimum energy standard rules.

Many owners/managers approach compliance to any law as “checking off the boxes”, and then ignore what comes from it. But that is not a good way to think about it in this case. Complying with laws like these also provides you with information about your building to pinpoint energy upgrades to maximize your financial benefits.

First, collecting energy usage data per NYC LL 84 provides you with information on how your building stands compared to similar ones. Are you using more or less energy than others to keep warm or cool, for lighting, etc.? If you are using less energy, then congratulations, and go out and publicize this unassailable fact to attract more tenants. If you use more energy than similar buildings, then you have the impetus to know that you can do better. Plus, the exercise creates the data to pinpoint the likely areas to get improvement and to get the most bang for the buck in reductions.

The energy audits of NYC LL 87 require developing a list of energy conservation measures (ECMs), site-specific strategies to reduce energy usage and demand. Each one will result in direct cost savings to more than make up for the initial investment. Utility and NY State incentives can pay you some of the upfront costs! But note that many of these programs in NY are scheduled to end in 2016. So do not wait too long. For those concerned about accepting such subsidies, remember, in NY, that these come from a fund financed by you, the user, in your SBC charge in your utility bill. So you are merely taking back money you put into the system for such projects!

If finding available funds for the upfront costs of an ECM is difficult, there are a number of entities (private and public) that will loan you this money, knowing the fine ROI of energy projects. Terms may be arranged so that you pay back the principal and interest from your energy savings, giving you positive cash flow at all times.

LL 87 retro-commissioning is composed of meeting 25 different standards for equipment operation, such as checking for leaks, clogged filters, broken lights, etc. All deficiencies found during site inspections must be addressed. They are normally low or no-cost fixes. The importance of this is the assurance that your energy systems are operating properly. After spending perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars on your HVAC, lights, etc., isn’t it smart to make sure they are operating as they are supposed to? To make sure you get your money’s worth?

But remember that besides potential significant cost savings on your electricity, gas, and oil bills, performing energy upgrades has other strong financial benefits:

• New energy technologies generally last longer than those replaced. Therefore, you need to purchase and have on hand fewer replacements (another cost savings) and you need less space to store backup items. In addition, these new technologies need to be serviced less often, freeing up your O&M staff to do other projects for your tenants. In particular, for lights, this means fewer trips up and down the ladder or cherry picker, saving time and reducing risks of an accident.

• A more energy efficient building attracts more and potentially a better quality of tenant, giving you the upper hand to set rents and conditions. Energy efficient buildings have a better re-sale value, as well.

• Better lighting and improved comfort result in a more productive staff, which you and your tenants can appreciate, and a better shopping experience, which your retail tenants will appreciate. For example, modern LED lights have less glare than many fluorescents that are replaced, resulting in less eye strain, fewer breaks needed, and a more productive staff. Proper lighting and comfort lead to a better experience for the shopper, which a retail tenant strives for.

So don’t view the NYC Local Laws for energy as just another law you have to comply with, but instead as something to smartly take advantage of to seize the many benefits of reducing your energy usage and energy costs which will only rise in the future. Take the information you get about your building and use it to maximize your financial gains.

Marc Karell, P.E., CEM, EBCP, is a Principal of Climate Change & Environmental Services, LLC, a technical firm that helps building owners and managers perform energy studies and upgrades to maximize financial and productivity benefits. CCES has the experience to help you save significant energy costs. Contact us at 914-584-6720 or at

Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) HVAC Units

One problem many building managers face is heating or cooling a large, complex building with many zones and many diverse needs for temperature control. A technology called Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF), popular in Europe and growing in the U.S., saves building managers money and aggravation compared to conventional HVAC systems.

Conventional HVAC systems are turned totally on for heating or cooling until not needed, then turned totally off. VRF differs in that it varies the flow rate of water or refrigerant being delivered via piping to the fan coil/air handling units of each zone from an outdoor unit, based on individual sensors / controls in each room. The basic outdoor unit is a pump that will either heat or cool the building, but will vary the flow depending on the changes needed. Some advanced systems allow heat recovery where captured wasted energy from one room can be used in another. It allows different parts of the building to be heated or cooled at the same time. Certain outdoor units can heat or cool up to 50 rooms.

VRF is most appropriate for buildings with complex heating/cooling zones or varied requirements, such as hospitals, schools, hotels, multi-family housing, retail complexes, and certain offices.

VRF typically reduces energy usage by over 30% compared to traditional HVAC equipment. It has lower installation, maintenance, and lifecycle costs than traditional HVAC equipment, it lighter in weight than chilled-water systems, reducing the load on a roof. VRF requires less duct space than conventional systems, improved the aesthetics of a building’s exterior, allowing repurposing of otherwise unusable space, removes the need for window AC units, and increasing design flexibility for contractors / installers. VRF systems are quieter, and have less opportunity for mold growth. It can be used with smart systems to deliver accurate reports on individual room / occupant energy usages, allowing more accurate charging of tenants.

One disadvantage of VRF is its initial high capital cost. However, given its energy savings, VRF should be a good long-term investment, and likely qualifies for energy incentives and low-cost financing. Another problem to note is the shortage of contractors experienced in installing and starting up such a system.

Thanks to EE Reports ( which provided information about VRF and is a source of much energy savings technology information.

CCES can help your building evaluate your energy usage and demand and recommend strategies and technologies that will save you significant cost, provide additional financial benefits, and improve building value and worker productivity. We can produce results for your buildings now. Contact us at 9140584-6720 or at

New York City Ushers In First Sub-metering Rule

New York City’s Local Law 88 is now in effect. This rule contains requirements for buildings that are 50,000 square feet or greater to upgrade their lighting and to install sub-meters. A future blog article will discuss lighting, but this one will discuss sub-meters. New York City is believed to be the first city in the nation to require sub-metering.

Urban Green Council has been leading the way to educate building owners and managers about LL 88 and to guide them on how to best comply. Representing UGC is Ms. Bonnie Hagen, LEED-AP, who can speak to your company or group at no charge. She may be contacted at

Many buildings, particularly those with multiple tenants, whether commercial or residential, have only a master electric meter or a small number of electric meters. To save money for meter and wiring operations and maintenance many buildings maintain only a single master electric meter and charge tenants for their electric use in a variety of ways such as a flat fee which is independent of actual electric usage or on a formula based on the square footage of the building. Paying a set fee for electricity no matter how much one uses is a disincentive to be energy efficient or to otherwise conserve. In fact, this is punishing the people who do conserve electricity because they believe it’s the right thing to do.

Many anecdotes exist of the residents who leave their air conditioners on all day even though nobody is home so that their apartment is cool when they get home; they pay no extra fees for this luxury. Also, many stories have been shared about how people — once sub-meters are installed — have to pay based on their actual measured usage, scream when they see their first bill, and then go out and buy more efficient lights and, of course, do not leave on their AC all day anymore. Several reports indicate that this effect causes a decline in electricity usage and a demand reduction averaging 30%. This was the motivation for New York City to promulgate this rule in their effort to become more energy efficient and reduce the future infrastructure upgrades of unbridled demand.

LL 88 requires all large commercial buildings (greater than 50,000 square feet) to install sub-meters for its tenants who lease at least 10,000 sq. ft. by Jan. 1, 2025. While this deadline may seem far away, it really is not, given that many commercial leases are 10 years long. Now is the time to adjust a lease to account for sub-meters. LL 88 does not require the landlord or building manager to charge a tenant for electricity based on the readings of the installed sub-meter; it may continue to just charge how they have charged in the past. However, the sub-meters must be in place by then and tenants informed monthly of actual electricity usage. The landlord can decide how it installs sub-meters, whether install all of them at once, although that may be a bit disruptive of tenant operations, or as space is available (when a tenant moves out).

In addition to the improvement in energy efficiency that will result from installing sub-meters, it is anticipated that sub-meters will also reduce landlord-tenant disputes. For example, if a group of tenants share a meter and are assessed a share of the costs based on square footage, that may be unfair to a simple office which may have only lights and some computers if they pay the same proportion as a similar sized offices with specific energy-using equipment or situations, like refrigerators and freezers, more lights and those being on much longer than 9 to 5, etc. Sub-meters will more accurately determine electricity usage so there is a fairer distribution of costs and fewer disputes.

CCES has the experts to help your building prepare and comply with LL 88 (as well as the other Local Laws pertaining to energy, LL 84 and LL 87). Even if your building is not in New York City or is under the threshold, it is likely in your interest to install sub-meters and upgraded lights, and we can help you do it with minimal disruption and to achieve maximum financial benefits. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at

USEPA Issues Final Rule To Amend PSD Permitting

On May 7, 2015, the USEPA published a direct final rule in the Federal Register (, allowing for the annulling or rescission of certain Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permits under the Clean Air Act. This step was taken in response to the US Supreme Court’s decision last year in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, 134 S. Ct. 2427 (2014).

In this decision, the Supreme Court struck down part of the USEPA’s “Tailoring Rule” which mandated that new or modified stationary sources emitting more than a certain threshold quantity of greenhouse gases (GHGs) annually obtain PSD permits, even if they do not emit any other PSD-regulated pollutants at levels that would otherwise trigger the requirement for a PSD permit and compliance without the Tailoring Rule.

The Supreme Court last year ruled against this rewriting of the PSD rule, stating that the USEPA cannot set its own thresholds for GHGs that depart from the thresholds already found in the Clean Air Act, which was approved by Congress. However, the Supreme Court acknowledged that the agency can regulate GHGs, which since the last Clean Air Act amendments has been ruled a pollutant that must be regulated by the Act. The court ruled that under PSD the USEPA can use the rule to limit GHG emissions on “anyway” sources, those that would be subjected to the PSD regulation anyway because they emit one or more traditional PSD pollutants at levels above its/their statutory threshold(s). It just cannot trigger enforcement of the regulation on pollutants which standards were not set in the Clean Air Act approved by Congress.

The USEPA was ordered to amend the changes in PSD due to the “Tailoring Rule” accordingly, and with this publication it has fulfilled this obligation. This direct final rule amends the PSD regulations to not allow the requirement of PSD permits for sources subject to the rule only because of GHG emissions and to begin the rescission process for PSD permits already issued to the sources that had been required to obtain such permits only because of their GHG emissions.

Please note that the new rule itself does not actually rescind any permit issued under these pretenses. It provides only the authority to do so for the issuing entity. PSD is regulated (and permits issued by), in some cases, a state or local program (those states which have PSD enforcement authority delegated by the USEPA) or the USEPA (for the remaining states in which the USEPA itself runs the PSD permitting program). Therefore, a source that wants its PSD permit that had been issued under these circumstances rescinded will need to request this of the agency that issued the PSD permit. In doing so, the source must demonstrate that it did not at the time of application nor still does not qualify as an “anyway” source. While this covers a small number of sources nationwide, it does remove all PSD requirements from them, a welcome relief.

One of the complaints that led to the court cases was the concern that by requiring PSD permits for sources solely on their GHG emissions and because sources in general emit GHGs in much greater quantities than they do pollutants commonly regulated by the Clean Air Act, applying the amended statutory threshold for GHGs could have required the USEPA to issue PSD permits to hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of sources nationwide that otherwise would not have to go through the trouble of obtaining PSD permits and requiring their enforcement, an expensive proposition. The USEPA did amend PSD to raise the statutory threshold of GHGs to a much higher level. However, there was concern of a large number of facilities and smaller facilities having to address and comply with PSD.

The USEPA published this amendment of PSD as a direct final rule without seeking public comment because the USEPA was responding to a US Supreme Court ruling. If the USEPA does receive adverse comments, however, it could withdraw this direct rule and address the comments in a subsequent new final rule. The due date for submitting any comments is June 8, 2015.

CCES has the experts to evaluate your facility’s greenhouse gas emissions using approved methods and can assess other pollutant emission rates to determine your applicability to PSD and other federal and state air pollution regulations. We can help you strategize to determine cost-effective ways to comply with any regulations that must be achieved. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at

New Federal Law to Encourage Energy Efficiency

President Obama signed the bipartisan Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (ESICA or Shaheen-Portman) last week that will reduce energy use in commercial buildings and government offices. The law will help make the U.S. more energy efficient, increasing both our economic competitiveness and our energy security. None of the provisions of the bill will force the private sector to become more energy efficient, but will provide incentives and tools to help to help buildings do so.


The new law strengthens national model building codes to make new homes and commercial buildings more energy efficient while working with states and private industry to make the code-writing process more transparent. It will also encourage private sector investment in building efficiency upgrades and renovations by creating a Commercial Building Energy Efficiency Financing Initiative to lessen the upfront payments building owners need to make to replace equipment with higher level energy efficient equipment instead of replacing in kind. The law also establishes Building Training and Research Assessment Centers at a number of universities across the nation to train young people in energy efficient technologies, building materials, and construction to enable them to set up their own businesses and help the private sector.

Real Estate

ESICA establishes a voluntary “Tenant Star” program, similar to the Energy Star label for appliances, for commercial buildings that reduce their energy consumption, making available energy information for businesses looking to lease space.


ESICA directs the DOE to work closely with the private sector to encourage research, development and commercialization of innovative energy efficient technology and processes for industrial applications. It will provide improved means to incentivize manufacturers to reduce energy use and become more competitive through more energy efficient equipment. It establishes a new DOE program, SupplySTAR, to help make companies’ supply chains more efficient.

Federal Government

While the new law does not require a private building to be more efficient, it does require the federal government – the single largest energy user in the country — to adopt energy saving techniques for computers, saving energy and taxpayer dollars. It allows federal agencies to use existing funds to update plans for new federal buildings, using the most current building efficiency standards and it allows federal agencies to use ESCOs and UESCs to install electric and natural gas vehicle charging infrastructure, making it easier for agencies to use these types of vehicles.


The new law will provide guidance and information to municipalities who wish to amend their building codes and laws to encourage or mandate green or more energy efficient new building or renovations.

CCES has the technical and policy experts to help your building become more energy efficient, helping you maximize the financial benefits (direct reduction in energy costs, reduced O&M, smoother operations, etc.) and helping you get the full incentives you are entitled to. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at

How Can You Manage Electricity Demand to Cut Your Electric Bill?

What is the Demand Charge?
by Sandy Gutner, P.E., ROI Energy Services

It’s true that understanding all the elements of your electric bill can be a daunting task. But it’s important if you are trying to control your electricity use and costs. If your organization uses a lot of electricity, you will notice that your bill does not look like your bill at home.

If you have a Demand Charge rate structure, the two types of use affect your electricity costs – demand and consumption. The names vary among utilities but the effect is the same. Demand and consumption each have a separate rate in part because they are measured differently. Demand is measured in kilowatts (kW), while the total amount of electricity used is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh).

Plus there are several other charges that vary depending on these two components (e.g., fuel charge, non-fuel charge, taxes, environmental charge, etc.) If you can cut your demand you reduce the cost of demand as well as all of the charges that use demand in their calculation.

If you have a demand-based tariff, your utility has installed a special demand meter that tracks and records the highest level of electricity demand for each 15-minute (or 30 minute) interval during the billing period. All of the affected charges are multiplied by the peak demand.

Why Should You Care About the Demand Charge?

Obviously, like most factors in business it’s the money. If you can control the demand charge without impacting your business you can significantly lower your electricity costs.

Peak demand charges can represent up to 30% of your utility bill. Certain industries, like manufacturing and heavy industrials, typically experience much higher peaks in demand due largely to the start-up of energy-intensive equipment, making it even more imperative to find ways to reduce this charge – but regardless of your industry, taking steps to reduce demand charges will save money.

Show Me the Math: How Demand Charges are Calculated?

Consumption is measured at a rate based on kilowatt-hours (kWh), or how many kW were used in every hour. Demand is measured in kilowatts (kW) or the peak number of kW used in a short interval and measures the intensity of power draw.

Demand Charge shows how one business can pay over $50,000 per year more for electricity than the other even though they both use the same kWh. This example shows how managing the demand peaks saves over 12% even with the same consumption.

Sandy Gutner, P.E., is the President of ROI Energy Services, Weston, FL.
Phone: 1-888-855-5471

ROI Energy Services is an engineering firm that offers energy saving solutions with a unique financial proposition for our commercial and industrial clients. Our financially viable turnkey solutions help reduce one of the most challenging operating expenses – energy consumption– and are paid for by the savings from reduced electricity costs.

Guaranteed Energy Savings Offers Unique Financial Proposition
ROI Energy offers a unique financial proposition to commercial and industrial energy consumers by creating energy savings solutions tailored specifically to meet their financial requirements. With a useful life many times greater than the payback period our clients reap long-lasting financial rewards. If the energy savings is less than our guarantee, we pay 100 percent of the shortfall –guaranteed

Renewable Energy, Water, Wastewater and More – 25 Years Engineering Consulting
The ROI Energy team has more than 25 years of experience providing engineering consulting services to public and private sector clients. We have represented owners’ interests in a wide variety of large-scale infrastructure projects including renewable energy, water, wastewater, and many others. The insight gained from this perspective has led us to our primary focus, which is adding value in everything we do.

Communicating Your Green Achievements

A growing number of companies and municipalities are producing reports highlighting their sustainability achievements of the previous year. If your business or municipality is not currently creating such a report to highlight your green achievements (whether done to impress those interested in green achievements or not) is missing an opportunity to communicate a positive story in an open way to critical stakeholders who are craving reading such positive news. A Sustainability Report is an essential piece of any communication effort, but is often overlooked in working on the program, as many focus only on making the goals. But a success not communicated reduces its impact.

Reporting efforts do not have to be a major undertaking. To get started first determine who your audience is. Which stakeholders are most likely to read the report and what facts or style are they looking for? Sustainability will impact different parts of your entity, but by focusing on who follows such news the most, you can keep it short and simple while establishing the credentials to satisfy your most important stakeholders.

With this information, identify the focus of your report and the message you want to get across to the key stakeholders who care deeply about sustainability. What information do you want to give to the readers and how do you want to get it across to them? Should it be short and factual in nature? Or by a narrative as if you are telling a story?

Whether your report is factual with bullets or with more text, at one point your report will communicate facts and data about your sustainability program or projects. Therefore, it is critical that it state data and it needs to be right. What metrics are you using to demonstrate progress? Is it the same commonly used by other organizations? Double check that, for example, the reductions in energy or water usage that were calculated are correct and beyond reproach. Data will likely be checked by stakeholders or perhaps those who may be critical of your effort. If the data is off or not the whole truth in summarizing the project, your entity may be criticized and worse off.

As you can tell, this is a complex effort and should not be undertaken by a single, even smart, well-meaning person. Because you are looking at message, data, and people, a team effort is the best approach to prepare your sustainability report. The draft report should also be reviewed by those outside the preparation process before issuance.

Once the report is released (as a webpage in your company’s website or a pdf), make the effort to promote it through the entity’s website, social media, annual reports, and marketing materials. Attempt to get feedback through the Internet from the stakeholders you had focused on to determine whether they read the message you wished to get across. Did significant numbers of people in other groups who were not your focus also read the report? If so, were they satisfied with the progress? Use this as a learning experience to improve the process and message put out in future reporting.

CCES has the technical personnel to prepare a successful sustainability or “green” program with concrete successes and can help you communicate your successes to your key stakeholders in a clear manner. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at