6/13/2013 12:32 PM
What is the most difficult barrier to energy efficiency within your organization?
In their 2012 paper, “The Virtuous Cycle of Organizational Energy Efficiency: A Fresh Approach to Dismantling Barriers,” the Environmental Defense Fund’s Climate Corps identified five organizational barriers to energy efficiency:
The Climate Corps paper does not include an answer to the question of the most difficult barrier. However, since I am constantly on the phone with facility managers talking about these issues, I am willing to go out on a limb and say that the most common response would be dedicated financing.
The Climate Corps paper does share some information about a poll of 45 executives at medium to large organizations. In spite of the fact that most executives know dedicated financing is a key to any large initiative, 35 of 45 respondents said they do not have dedicated funding for energy efficiency projects.
Surprised? I bet you’re not!
Few organizations have established annual funding in their budget or green revolving funds for EE projects. But is that the reason organizations are not implementing cost-effective EE projects? Or is it a symptom of a more fundamental problem?
If you look at the list of barriers again, you will notice that each item can severely inhibit the item below. For example, a lack of financing can restrict hiring talented employees, which can reduce the awareness of potential EE projects, and lead to a lack of sharing project results.
So if the process appears to stop because of a lack dedicated financing, the real problem is a lack of available attention.
Conflicting priorities, busy schedules, job security, and a status-quo mentality all contribute to reduce the amount of attention executives, facility managers, and other employees give to energy efficiency in their buildings.
So how can you, as a facility manager, overcome the lack of attention within your own department and throughout your organization? Try some of these strategies:
The authors of the Climate Corps paper wrote, “The premise of the virtuous cycle is that the actions of individuals within the company serve to reinforce one another over time. “ As a facility manager, you and your employees can work to create a virtuous cycle within your own department, and take on a leadership role in spreading the cycle throughout your organization.
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