Commercial, Demand Management, Energy Efficiency, Industrial  -  May 13, 2016

Lack of resources, tools, stifling progress on corporate energy goals, study finds

Through corporate and institutional sustainability goals are undoubtedly on the rise, many organizations still lack a clear road map for how to achieve them, particularly when it comes to energy management, according to the results of a recent Urjanet survey.

Urjanet is a utility data provider to energy service companies and large enterprises; its survey of close to 200 energy and sustainability professionals working for a wide range of U.S. business sectors was conducted online in March in April, focused on the goals and challenges in the pursuit of sustainability projects. The general finding, according to Urjanet, was that companies are torn between wanting more efficiency in their energy management process and the willingness to commit necessary resources to achieve it.

The survey results appear to back up that realization: Half of the energy executives said they are committed to sustainability and/or energy efficiency projects, but 60% of them said insufficient resources to complete energy projects would be their biggest energy management challenge in 2016. Also notable is that only 6% said senior management isn't interested in sustainability or energy efficiency.

Urjanet ties the disconnect to the fact that most companies still rely on outdated tools and processes to collect and manage energy data, which the company says severely limits visibility into project performance. Supporting that claim, 40% of survey respondents said they obtain paper utility bills from service providers, and 51% said they manually input data from utility bills into spreadsheets. 

Inefficient tools and processes, Urjanet said,  also make it difficult to assess sustainability project outcomes: While 28% of respondents use software to calculate savings on energy projects, 34% said an inability to validate ROI was the least efficient aspect of their energy management process. And, according to the survey results, 14% don't bother even trying to calculate savings.

"Energy managers will always be challenged by fluctuating energy prices, sprawling locations and equipment, and regulatory changes. These issues are typically beyond their control," Urjanet CEO Sanjoy Malik said in a statement. "What they can control are the tools and processes they use to manage energy projects." 

Other key findings include: 

  • 57% of respondents said automated utility data collection and auto-import of accounts was the most important factor when choosing energy management software;
  • 54%  said that the vice president of operations or director of energy was the primary decision-maker for energy management strategy implementation;
  • 50% said that managing all the data required for energy management would be their biggest energy management challenge this year;
  • 44% said gathering or organizing energy consumption and cost data by site and meter was the most inefficient aspect of their energy management process;
  • 31% said that Microsoft Excel is the technology they value most as a part of their energy management practice;
  • 25% said that mastery of various energy management software and visualization tools to produce actionable insights was the least efficient part of their energy management process.

 

Keywords: Urjanet

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