Your Need for Energy Flexibility

There is a national debate going on about energy and how we get it. Cost, safety, reliability, and “energy independence” are all being discussed. All of this impacts the companies we work for and our home supply, as well. Grand debates are being held (“Drill, baby, drill!”) concerning energy usage and climate change, about the Keystone Pipeline and about fracking. What are the issues when it comes to energy flexibility and risk and how do they affect us?

Lately, there has been growth in demand for energy and, thus, we need to determine how we will derive it. In addition, there are global changes as a number of developing countries are experiencing growth. Well over a billion people worldwide over the next few decades will enter the middle class, increasing energy demand. This is not an abstract concept. China is opening several new large power plants every year and there are many stories of cities being electrified for the first time, people trading in their bicycles for their first cars, and people buying their first TVs, computers, etc. This demand will affect us. World demand influences the sources of our energy and the price we pay.

And at the same time, we are beginning to see the initial effects of climate change, of the increased heat in our atmosphere due to enhanced trapping of radiation by higher concentrations of CO2 from greater combustion of fossil fuels. Scientists tell us we can still avoid most of the major impacts of climate change if we can reduce GHG emissions by 70% from a 1990 baseline (which we exceed) by 2050. How can we achieve this and also meet the growing energy demands of over 1 billion people projected to be high energy users by 2050? What does this mean for us and for our economy and companies striving to maintain and grow?

We need to examine different sources of energy: natural gas, oil, coal, nuclear, renewable power. One thing that is important to accept is that all energy sources come with risk. I am old enough to remember as a child an old TV show, “Beverly Hillbillies”. Jed Clampett shoots at some wild turkey, misses, and up from the ground comes crude oil. Just like that. That was an exaggeration even then, and is quite far from the truth now. We are digging for gas and oil in unusual, faraway places and in expensive ways resulting in calamities like BP Deepwater Horizon (digging way out in the Gulf of Mexico). And fracking (natural gas from shale) has risks in terms of water usage, land use, contamination. Some want to ban it because of these risks. Good, but what would take its place? Is it better to use coal or oil (accident risks, higher CO2 emissions) instead? Nuclear emits no GHG emissions. But in what town could we build a new nuclear plant? Renewable power is clean and effective (I have solar panels on my house). But how do we store and supply power for night time or cloudy days or peak power demands? How do we get power from mostly desolate windy areas to the cities that need it?

There is no simple answer to energy. We want our energy and life styles and our company’s operations to continue smoothly, but we need to now accept and address many risks in order to attain our and the world’s energy demands.

An answer is support for technology and smart regulations. Many of the energy items mentioned are new (digging deep in the Gulf, extracting from shale or sands, renewables). Improved technology and procedures can at least reduce risk (though probably never eliminate risk) while obtaining energy. Research and development for this must be encouraged. Similarly, smart rules should force companies to address risk (particularly if it endangers human life) while encouraging the development of the energy source. For example, companies can be allowed to frack only if it has demonstrated the proper safeguards to protect watersheds, treat wastewater, and protect land that otherwise would harm us and cost our society quite a lot to remediate, too.

So, the best approach for a municipality and a company is to have a formal energy program maximizing fuel flexibility, as risk and cost will change over time. Companies should design facilities that can use multiple sources of energy. For example, besides using the local utility’s electricity, a facility should also look to install renewable of cogen to develop one’s own source of electricity. Steam or hot water systems should be able to use multiple fuel types providing surety and flexibility as availability and price become issues. The cost of energy is now recognized as a major cost center for many municipalities and companies. But without power, heat, or steam, then functionality and production can shut down altogether, having grave impacts on its very being. Energy flexibility is important to look at seriously now and to plan for and execute toward in the future.

And a big part of any such program should also be energy conservation. A great way to be more flexible is to require less energy to perform your functions, giving you more flexibility to find energy sources. To achieve this, energy audits should be conducted routinely. There has been a revolution in energy saving technologies in just the last few years that are implementable and do work. Conducting an energy audit to determine new effective strategies to reduce energy use and actually implementing them every few years will help you both reduce energy costs and become more flexible to future market changes, as well.

CCES and our experts can help your company or municipality develop a robust energy program to save you energy costs to pay for the program and to examine and improve your energy flexibility intelligently, as well. See the improvements and cost savings. Contact us at 914-584-6720 or at karell@CCESworld.com.

If Cash Is Available, Why Not Spend It Wisely?

According to a recent report in Business Insider, Apple has more cash reserves ($159 billion) than most major nations, including the US and other industrialized nations. It’s not only Apple. Major manufacturers, like Pfizer, Coca Cola, Amgen, Johnson & Johnson, and both General and Ford Motors, each have cash reserves of at least $20 billion. Now, I’m not an investor or an expert on economics, but I suppose this means that this cash can only be making a few percent in interest at best. Isn’t there something that can earn more for companies for this cash and be more productive, too?

One answer is energy. Several recent polls have shown that while many companies and municipalities are “looking into” studying and implementing energy upgrades, most do not follow through. The reasons appeared varied, such as not finding the right internal champion, availability of funds to invest, and finding the right practitioners. But, with cash reserves of many companies overflowing and new, proven energy-saving technologies and strategies growing, energy upgrades should become a high priority.

This is not a new-fangled idea. Many companies have invested in energy upgrades and the benefits are being studied. A McKinsey study (McKinsey Insights) showed that US companies have the potential to invest $3.4 trillion in energy upgrades at an average internal rate of return of 17%; much better than cash reserves sitting in a money market!

OK, I understand your skepticism. After all, this is an average of many thousands of corporations. How may this apply to you, so you be ahead of the game? One good way to start is to begin by concentrating on lighting. There has been a revolution in new lighting types in just the last few years. Lamps that create better quality light using less than half of the electricity of standard incandescents and T12s. Simple and savings begin right away. Add in automated sensors to turn off or dim lights when not needed, and you can save even more electricity. IRRs much better than 17% can be achieved by upgrading lighting – if you do it right. Planning and knowledge of vendors are critical to maximize savings. Use outside firms who are experienced in lighting and energy. Then your company can use the savings to invest in other cost-saving energy areas.

And there are other benefits, as well. Improved lighting has been shown to improve productivity and general mood of workers. There are fewer mistakes, reduction of risk, and sick days. Upgrading and automating mechanical systems can free your labor force to focus on jobs meant to be done: additional financial benefits for your bottom line.

CCES has the expertise to help you develop a smart energy program to invest in lighting and other energy upgrades for the highest return on investment and maximize the other benefits. We know the approach and the vendors to ensure financial success and reliability. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at karell@CCESworld.com.

Banks Get Involved in Environmental Strategies

Why have some of the largest banks in the world invested large sums of money to environmental and sustainability causes? Why did both Citigroup and Bank of America pledge to invest $50 billion each in alternative energy and conservation projects and – more important – work hard to meet these goals? Why are environmental and sustainability issues important to financial institutions? This does not appear to make sense. Sustainability should be unimportant to banks. They do not operate factories, use much energy or water, require their supply chain to use large quantities of raw materials, or emit much in the way of pollutants into the air or generate much solid waste or wastewater.

In reality, environmental and sustainability issues ranging from climate change to pollution abatement to alternative energy are important to financial institutions. Banks provide capital to all sectors of the economy for positive growth and results. As environmental and sustainability issues directly affect more businesses, they will similarly impact lending decisions, such as return on investment, risk, and facility and supply chain management.

Financial institutions recognize two phases to this issue. Investing in green projects, particularly doing so before the competition, represents a great business opportunity. Cities and now countries (i.e., China, India, Europe) crave greener buildings, smarter energy production and distribution, and cleaner transportation. Even areas in the US, such as PlaNYC 2030, understand this, too. Those with proven technologies and proper financing will have an advantage (and an opportunity to make money).

Environmental and sustainability issues – or more accurately, ignoring these issues – represent a potential financial risk. The UN Environmental Programme estimated that lost value of assets due to the impacts of climate change could total $1 trillion annually by 2040. This has got to be a worrisome figure for financial institutions who finance vulnerable assets, as well as for another industry, insurance.

Therefore these leading institutions are not investing in sustainability for public relations purposes or as charity. It is part of their dynamic corporate strategy. There is growing evidence that sustainability efforts correlate well with improved financial performance. A study by AT Kearney (http://www.atkearney.com/news-media/news-releases/) found that financial services providers focused on environmental and sustainability issues during the recent recession outperformed their competitors by 25% in terms of their market capitalization over a 6 month period.

CCES has the experience to help your firm develop a new or expand your current sustainability program to result in measureable, deliverable successes for you. Contact us at 914-584-6720 or karell@CCESworld.com.

Energy Tips During Non-Heating Season: Insulation

Well, it seems hard to believe for those of us in the Northeast. But the heating season is winding down, and we can all enjoy some consistently warmer weather now. Besides that, we can also begin to shut down heating systems, perform maintenance, troubleshoot, and begin implementing long-term strategies to keep your equipment operating efficiently, reliably, and more cheaply without impacting workers/residents.

One simple item that will save you energy costs is insulation. It is surprising how much pipe surface area in a boiler (or cooling) system has no or worn-away insulation. Many such areas are humid, their walls not well-insulated, etc. And therefore, pipe insulation will wear away and fall off. Insulating a bare pipe carrying steam, hot water, or return condensate can reduce heat losses from that pipe by over 90%. That means un- or under-insulated pipes carry a heavy energy penalty. The combustion equipment must burn more fuel to produce more steam or hot water to compensate for the losses along the way to get heat to the intended targets. That means greater costs (and fuel costs are only rising) and increased greenhouse gas emissions. In large industrial facilities or even apartment complexes, where the intended areas to heat may be blocks away, the issue of heat loss is critical and can be very expensive.

As discussed, heat loss from a pipe can be reduced by 90% or more by installing the right insulation. While many factors are involved (cost of fuel, length of uninsulated pipe, usage and efficiency of boiler), it is likely that by realizing this reduction of heat loss with insulation, cost savings can be high tens of dollars and one ton or more of GHG emissions per foot of pipe per year. For a large plant or building with thousands of feet of pipe in heating service, the savings and GHG reductions can be quite significant.

Bottom Line: Take some time out while your heating equipment is not operating to inspect (as access allows) your piping – both steam and hot water leaving a boiler and any condensate that is collected. Look for areas of uninsulated pipes. If your pipes are insulated, then check its viability. Is it flaking and coming off? Have areas of it dropped off? Are there areas where bare pipe show? Catalog these areas of concern and consider re-insulating. Proper insulation can be easily found and calculations performed to determine the fuel and energy savings and payback for such a project. Be careful. If some of your existing insulation is asbestos, you must get licensed, certified professional help to get it removed and cleaned from the area.

CCES has the technical energy experts to help you devise a smart, long-term energy-saving program for your heating equipment during the non-heating season. We can help you evaluate insulation, as well as other, energy-saving strategies to provide you multiple options, all of which will benefit you financially. Contact us today at karell@CCESworld.com. or at 914-584-6720.

Is An Energy Management System Right For You?

Some building managers think that buying, installing, and operating an ultramodern energy management system (EMS) will solve all their occupants lighting and comfort problems and at the same time lead to great energy cost savings. It’s not so simple. An EMS needs professional management and maintenance for it to perform seamlessly as intended and to save you aggravation, time and money. Before buying an EMS, you should understand some of the maintenance issues that may come up and occupy your time, despite the responsive, ultramodern system. If these are difficult, you may want to consider alternative ways to reduce energy usage and costs without EMS. Here are some EMS issues that your building may face and that you and your staff must address:

• Proper sensor location: A modern EMS system can work less effectively than you expected if the sensors are located improperly. Sensors should be located near where people are present to truly indicate the level of comfort and lighting desired. A sensor located in an out-of-the-way location may relay incorrect information and not truly serve those intended, costing the building money. A sensor should also not be receiving supply air directly. This may turn off an HVAC prematurely and cause occupants to be uncomfortable, which in turn may cause other components to overcompensate.
Bottom line: Ensure that your sensors are located in optimal areas, reflecting the use of various rooms or sections. Periodically, note if there are changes in occupancy or needs or if complaints can be rectified by moving the sensor. It is often worth the extra cost of electricians and all to move sensors to more logical locations.

• Assure proper maintenance: Sometimes building managers are so amazed by all the wizardry (as told by a sales person) of a modern EMS that they think that maintenance is unnecessary. “The system can take care of itself.” Well, that’s wishful thinking that will ultimately cost a building money, time, and the effectiveness of the EMS. Regular maintenance and checking of an EMS’s effectiveness and value must be performed to assure that settings are appropriate and that the proper controls are working. Even if the EMS is performing well, it is also important to check its settings as the needs of occupants can change over time. For example, if a new tenant moves into one portion of a building and has different or unique heating/cooling needs or occupancy schedules, then the EMS algorithms may become outdated. Even less drastic changes may have the same effect.
Bottom line: So it is important to review building operations, occupancy, and needs on a regular basis and ensure that the EMS is properly responding to any changes. Otherwise, change the settings and programs. Not doing so will take away a lot of the energy efficiency cost gains you expected and paid for in procuring the EMS.

• Manual program overrides: An EMS is pre-programmed to provide building occupants with the perceived needed lighting and comfort needed, while saving energy use, too. However, because building managers must address lighting and comfort complaints by occupants at any time, an EMS must allow manual overrides of system settings to quickly respond to any complaint. Because a complaint can happen at any and at odd hours, the building manager or those trained in operating the EMS may not be present and a less- or untrained worker may need to manually override the system, potentially affecting controls over other areas of the buildings and other times and affecting long-term savings. There are certainly many cases where occupants themselves frustrated with too much or too little heat or cooling will try to alter settings themselves. But they cause major errors or problems and only care about their own comfort and not that of others or of energy efficiency. Therefore, make sure that an EMS thermostat or occupancy sensor is locked or otherwise out of the reach of an untrained occupant, although this will add to the cost and are more keys to carry around.
Bottom line: make sure more workers receive recurring training on EMS operation to intelligently respond to complaints without affecting others comfort or lighting and without sacrificing much in energy cost reductions. If there are frequent complaints, catalog them, determine trends and reasons, and perhaps “permanently” change settings.

• Alarms: Some EMS systems are so complex and measure so many parameters that they sound alarms for nearly anything that is abnormal. Some of these are critical and need to be addressed rapidly, such as an electrical or a pump failure. But, many EMS alarms are for less critical items, such as a dirty filter, an imbalance in air flow rate, or a change in occupancy rates. While important to be informed about, such issues need not be addressed right away. Over time, when alarms sound too frequently, workers become insensitive to them. They may even shut some alarm systems off or do not react to them, including some critical ones.
Bottom line: Determine which parameters are most critical and reprogram your EMS to sound alarms only for the most critical malfunctions that must be addressed quickly. Inform maintenance staff in less intrusive ways (reports) for the more routine or less critical problems that an EMS detects.

With this said, you may ask the question of whether it makes sense to even purchase an EMS system for your building. Certainly, advanced technology that automatically adjusts parameters to what is best for building occupants or a specific situation in an efficient manner is a good thing for comfort and to save money. But planning to install thermostats, sensors, and a control system means understanding that an EMS system will not be productive without major input from you and staff. All the “headaches” will not go away and some of the expected savings may not occur, as well. You have to invest labor and time to maintain and use properly an EMS system. Or you should consider implementing other energy upgrades without an EMS system, of which there are plenty.

CCES has the technical experts to help you assess EMS systems, whether they are right for you, what alternatives will serve you well without an automated system, and what parameters, alarms, notices, and controls should be included should you decide to procure an EMS. We can perform meaningful energy upgrades for your building with or without an EMS. Contact us today at karell@CCESworld.com or at 914-584-6720.

Countering Excuses To Ignore Sustainability–Part 1

Despite the strong business benefits – shown in real life – to become more sustainable, most businesses either do not develop or do not address seriously sustainability goals or treat them as if checking off a box. In some literature, many excuses are given. In this first of many parts, I will examine such a business claim and provide evidence to show that each is not valid for a successful sustainability program developed smartly.

There are no accepted metrics to measure sustainability, so there is no end goal. Also, those that exist are too complex to understand.

Metrics are important in any business program. One cannot manage what does not get measured. Goals without measureable and respected metrics become difficult to achieve or demonstrate that you are achieving. Sustainability initiatives can be difficult to measure because some affect outside society, and may have only minor benefits for the company and employees.

But in response to this, there are a number of metrics and measuring systems that exist to help companies measure their sustainability. Among the more popular ones are the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and life-cycle assessments, for which there is an approved ISO procedure (14025) to determine impacts at different levels of a product’s life cycle (from infrastructure and raw materials to consumer use and end-of-life).

In fact, there are so many options that it is important to devote time to determining which ones best suits your business. Which sustainability metric system will provide the most definitive information to your stakeholders and can be integrated with your current business metrics? One must think through which metrics are best suited for a particular industry or size and diversity of entity. Some focus on energy, some on carbon, some on water, and some a combination. Which are most important to your organization?

You need time and thought to invest time to decide which metrics and reporting tools will help you the most benchmark, provide unassailable data and conclusions concerning your operations, allow you to compare reasonably with other similar companies, and identify the areas that need specific improvement.

The bottom line is that there is no simple answer to the right sustainability metrics for you, but that options exist and time and resources should be invested upfront to select the approach best suited for your characteristics and to provide meaningful information.

CCES has the experts to help you research and establish the best sustainability program for your needs that is meaningful and will provide you both useful information and definitive business benefits. Contact Marc Karell today at 914-584-6720 or at karell@CCESworld.com.

Overcoming The Fear of Energy Investments

According to the USDOE, over 4.2 million commercial buildings waste an average 30% of their energy, causing a cumulative estimated excess cost of $60.7 billion in 2007. Given an 8% capitalization rate, the cumulative loss of real estate value is $750 billion.

A simple example applied to an individual building (from Energy Star): A 200,000 sf office building pays $2/sf in energy. Energy reductions resulting in a 10% decrease in energy costs translates into $40,000 in additional net operating income annually. Energy Star believes that common energy recovery opportunities range from 20%-40%.

Given this opportunity to turn wasted energy into newfound income and asset value, why aren’t all property owners and managers investing in energy efficiency upgrades? A Deloitte survey, reSources 2012, found that 90% of companies surveyed had energy management goals; and over two-thirds identified reducing energy costs as their main rationale. Yet, the survey also found that few companies had actually developed and implemented significant energy efficiency improvements. Many property owners and managers have one or more of the following impressions about energy upgrades:

• Improving energy efficiency is a complex, mysterious and unreliable process.

• Investing in energy efficiency is almost always expensive.

• Pursuing energy efficiency is risky business (due to overpromise and under delivery).

Each assumption has been shown to be incorrect based on real life examples. So, how can these fears be overcome? Be organized and address the following:

1. Perform a site-specific energy assessment led by an experienced professional. Make sure that data (energy usage data, bills, information about operations and equipment) is thorough and properly collected. Data quality is of prime importance. I once prepared an energy survey for the managers of facilities to submit to obtain such data. For groups of similar facilities, I expected a bell-shaped curve; instead I got some facilities that were listed as extremely efficient and others very inefficient. I was suspicious that errors or misunderstandings occurred during data entry. When I spoke to the client manager of the need to invest time to verify the data collected from the outliers, he started yelling at me that we must accept all data as submitted. He did not understand data collection. They invested money into energy reducing strategies at facilities that did not need it! The bottom line is that good, quality information reduces the fear that some may have.

2. Focus on your highest energy activities; identify multiple solutions. To reduce the fear of risk in energy upgrade strategies, it is critical to focus on big energy consumers and determine costs, reductions, and paybacks of multiple potential solutions. Obtain multiple bids and identify the best combination of solutions based on financial analysis.

3. Put all matters in writing. It is important to be transparent in the evaluation and calculations. Prepare professional memos or reports along the way, and don’t hide any data or reasoning for decisions.

Proposing this approach will reduce the fear that many C-level executives have about performing energy assessments and investing in energy waste reduction strategies.

CCES has the technical experts to help you prepare energy evaluations and audits to maximize your energy and cost reductions and gain the greatest business benefits in a reliable, programmatic, transparent way. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at karell@CCESworld.com.

A Look Into Why People Buy “Green” Products

Here’s an article to share with your sales group. Understanding why people choose to “go green” and buy environmentally-friendly products can help companies decide how to maximize the benefits of their own “green” program and improve the bottom line. Why do people go out of their way to find and purchase recycled paper towels rather than non-descript ones, energy-saving appliances, and hybrid cars? According to the authors of a published paper in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Vol. 98, No. 3, March 2010), green purchases are made primarily for status. Customers will more likely buy such products – even at inflated prices – when they know other people will notice.

The researchers conducted 3 experiments, using more than 400 participants, to determine the roles that price, quality, and social reputation play in determining whether and why customers opt for environmentally-friendly products. The authors found that people’s purchasing attitudes and choices differed if they shopped online alone at home vs. in a store. People indicated a preference to purchase more expensive green products in public in stores because others would witness them making the purchase. In fact, a higher price would make a statement that the buyers who wanted to show they were willing to sacrifice for the environment. When deciding between two equally priced vehicles, one a luxury car loaded with features and the other an environmentally-friendly one with fewer high-end features, 55% of participants who were asked to consider their public status chose the green car vs. only 37% of participants in the control group, who were told to disregard reputation.

In the marketplace, the hybrid Toyota Prius is an example of this phenomenon. The Prius is openly advertised as better for the environment. Despite the fact it costs more than other conventional but highly fuel efficient non-hybrid cars, a newspaper story reported that Prius owners ranked environmental concerns last on a list of five reasons they bought the car. Their top reason for purchasing the hybrid was that it “made a statement about me.”

The bottom line is that the key to successful sales of green products is status, including ensuring that their products are sold in public spaces. Customers are looking to enhance their reputation.

CCES has the technical experts to help your company develop a “green” program to maximize financial benefits, both internally (energy cost savings) and externally (advancing sales). Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at karell@CCESworld.com.

Ways to Manage Your Company’s Climate Change Risks and Garner Support

In the last couple of years, the public and governments have understood and accepted the importance of addressing climate change adaptation. If potential climate change impacts on your company – both physical and business – are not addressed, it can be an existential issue. If key facilities lose power, suffer damage to key processes, cause database information to be lost, and impact your supply chain and markets, it can affect your company forever. While climate change adaptation is not guaranteed to avoid all disasters, a viable program to lessen impacts and allow you to bounce back to normal quicker can be implemented. Another problem is how to get internal support for a program that has no immediate financial payback, but is of great value (risk reduction).

Getting Decision Makers and Managers To Take Climate Change Risk Seriously

Climate change risk cannot be assessed and incorporated into corporate decision making until it is taken seriously as the critical business parameter it is, as a discipline and with benefits. Remember, those in the C-Suite are probably older and likely did not learn about climate change in B School; uncharted territory. Managers, who take their cues from the C-Suite, may also resist, thinking of this as just another responsibility to add on to their others, and a doomsday scenario, too, with little financial reward at the end. Here are tips to engender internal support for addressing climate change risk.

• Document losses that have already happened related to climate change. Has your company suffered losses that may be related to severe storms? Perhaps from Hurricane Sandy or a prolonged drought? While it has not yet been established that these events were “caused” by climate change, most of the scientific community believes that climate change did exacerbate and worsen such severe events. Quantify the financial losses from the event(s), and determine what future losses may be if these were to repeat.

• What critical facility or corporate operations may be impacted by climate change in the future? Examine your operation and supply chains for critical elements that may be impacted by severe storms, water shortages, temperature rise, etc. One former client assessed that the agricultural product it needs as a raw material for their main product may not be able to be produced by its currently-contracted farmers 10-20 years in the future, and therefore contingencies should start to be planned before it may be too late or too expensive to change suppliers.

• Quantify and personalize risks of climate change hazards. Once key operations or facilities are identified, determine potential impacts on your company’s viability and profits if long-term damage due to a storm or extreme heat or other effect occurs and the operation becomes non-functional for a significant amount of time. How much money might the company lose short- and long-term? May market share be lost permanently? Present the risk of such an event happening, particularly if it has changed from, say, a once in a lifetime, to a once per decade.

• Determine preliminary risk-averse strategies and rough costs for the most vulnerable elements. For a couple of vulnerable processes or assets, determine preliminary strategies, such as installing flood control measures, moving key equipment up from low lying floors, etc. What are the preliminary upfront and maintenance costs? How do these stack up to the potential short- and long-term costs and losses should the assets not be protected?

Ultimately, most C-Suite executives are swayed by numbers and the fear of substantial, existential risk. Presenting preliminary risk and cost estimates should convince them of the importance of tackling climate change risk now. This is likely an iterative process, so updating existing and showing new examples will help convince more executives and managers the business sense of a professional program to identify and address climate change risk. It is an argument that will likely take some time to win.

Approaches to Begin a Corporate Climate Change Risk Program

• If your company has multiple facilities, it is important to have corporate-wide climate change adaptation policies with specific goals covering all assets. However, it is also important to recognize that one strategy does not fit all facilities, given specific local issues each faces (i.e., operations conducted, local climate). Thus, a balance of consistency, yet addressing local needs is critical.

• “Do the science.” Amazingly, in established areas, such as the Northeast, there is a wealth of accurate information about flood zones and risk – many originating over a century ago. They have stood the test of time – until now. Climate change-caused rises in both the height of water bodies and moisture content of the atmosphere (confirmed by measurement) now raises the frequency of destructive storms damaging buildings and processes. Revisit those calculations and plan and modify to minimize adverse impacts from the more frequent storms.

• Make sure that your climate change risk program does not only focus on the physical effects of severe storms. The program should also look at business-related changes, such as shifting markets and availability of resources. If you produce a product dependent on a raw material from a supplier, may climate change effects eventually risk the scarcity or price stability of the raw material? Any raw material from farming may be vulnerable if your supplier cannot produce it anymore (or at a lower yield). Perhaps long-term rising temperatures will reduce demand for your main products; perhaps it will enhance demand. This is critical for corporate managers to understand and keep track of.

CCES has the technical experts to help you develop a climate change adaptation program, assessing and addressing risk for your maximum financial benefit. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at karell@CCESworld.com.

Documented Business Benefits of Going Green

Some companies and municipalities think about becoming more sustainable. At some, motivated employees bring this up at meetings. However, only a small percentage of US entities are taking the serious steps to go “green”. Why so few? In most cases, there is fear. What may go wrong and what will it cost? Will this process be difficult to control? Are there financial benefits? If so, are they worth the cost? What about liabilities/risks?

However, many entities have successfully gone “green”. Yes, there were upfront costs, education of managers and staff, and some workplace changes. But in so many cases the programs have worked successfully and have brought great financial benefits: not just direct dollars and cents, but also other indirect benefits that save hard cash.

It has been well documented that a robust, well-organized “green” program will save energy costs. The centerpiece of the program is a professional energy audit resulting in energy efficiency and conservation. Energy costs are saved and risk reduced. It is easy to identify and implement low hanging fruits with fast paybacks and use these initial savings to fund just-as-important, but perhaps more long-term, future energy savings.

But robust benefits do not end there. In a good sustainability program, use of other resources, such as water and necessary chemicals are often reduced, as well, saving more costs. And when water and other chemical usages are reduced you have, by definition, saved time and expenses for cleanup, waste management, and, indirectly, agency spotlight and liability. This further decreases energy costs and makes managing your manufacturing or other processes simpler. You make a higher-quality, more reliable product or successful operation, all contributing to a better bottom line.

And then there are the social benefits. It has been well documented that an entity with a meaningful “green” program has a more motivated labor force. Employees are more loyal, productivity increases, and are less likely to leave. The latter represents a major cost savings, as finding and training the right replacements is very cumbersome and expensive. A good example of increased productivity is a client of mine that switched fuels from No. 6 fuel oil to cleaner natural gas. Every time an oil truck came on site, a couple of employees had to stop their work to help load the oil into the storage tanks. With several hundred annual truck deliveries eliminated by using gas, these employees were freed up for their regular duties. Plus, they had much fewer areas to clean up. And then there are the neighbors. “Green” facilities emit fewer odors and air pollutants than others. While the public sometimes comes around slowly, they eventually do, and friendly neighbors also add to the bottom line and to future growth potential.

CCES has the experience and the experts to help you get similar results. We can help you implement a successful sustainability program to give you maximum business benefits. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at karell@CCESworld.com.