Ask An Energy Pro: Unseen Social Impacts of Energy Efficiency
September 13, 2023
The Energy Sciences team works with companies of all kinds to help them make their buildings, equipment, and processes more energy efficient. On the surface, that sounds like saving money and saving the planet, with neither of them being a small thing, but after chatting with Outreach Professional Greg Wilson, we gained further insight into the deeper effects of energy efficiency plans on a human level.
ES: Tell us about your role at Energy Sciences.
GW: As an Energy Advisor, I am uniquely positioned to find the right projects for our customers to become more efficient, particularly with commercial and industrial customers. This means being mindful of their long-term goals and the logistical components that are a part of making that happen: budget, upgrades, replacements, and optimizations, all of which fall into the decision-making process for the right program to help them achieve their ultimate goals.
ES: How do you know which project is the best fit?
GW: It all depends on what is most important to each customer. It’s easy to say that we’re helping them save money – that’s appealing to anyone. But we make it a point to outline each area that ultimately helps in doing that. For example, we offer water and cooling optimization options. We could leave it at that, but we want to shine a light on the layers of what it means to make those optimizations. Reduced water consumption reduces labor. Opting into a project that upgrades water and cooling systems ultimately helps attract and retain employees.
ES: It’s an impactful concept that one big project enhances employee happiness.
GW: It truly does. There is a labor shortage right now that is challenging many companies. There is a correlation between working conditions when it comes to turnover and employee morale. Opting into energy efficiency projects and upgrades makes a more comfortable environment for employees. Better equipment and better facilities boost overall morale.
ES: Better equipment and facilities mean improved productivity, right?
GW: That’s right. While it may cost a little more upfront to make improvements, keeping the long-term goals in mind is key. Choosing to upgrade a piece of equipment – it’s more than just increasing its life cycle. It’s also reducing the risk of breakdowns and the money that would be spent on maintenance. By taking these small steps, you can increase the value. Machines only pump out what they can based on the health of the machine. By choosing to upgrade and reducing the cost of maintenance, processing time becomes shorter, and production becomes higher.
ES: All these projects ultimately lead to helping the planet. Is this something that comes up when you’re discussing options with customers?
GW: When you’re looking at some of the bigger companies and customers we have, they already know they have an environmental responsibility. Reducing emissions and planning out steps over a series of years is a conversation we often have. While we talk a lot about how to help companies save money and create better productivity and comfort within the walls of their buildings, the conversation will inevitably turn to addressing what they want to change when it comes to what they release. This involves being mindful of the materials they choose to use, the waste they produce, both in energy and hazardous waste, and the cost of operation. Having these conversations and making these step-by-step changes is a way that companies can truly say they are more responsible for our planet’s health and employees’ wellness.
ES: Tell us about something you’re proud of when it comes to this kind of work.
GW: I can say wholeheartedly that I know I’m a part of making a difference in reducing energy in my state. It makes me proud to know that my role has a direct impact. It’s satisfying to know that you’re doing something for the greater good.
ES: What is a piece of advice or wisdom that you have learned and want to pass on?
GW: Continue to innovate when it comes to energy reduction. Learn what’s out there beyond the low-hanging fruit. Don’t stop at just one project and say you’ve done your part. Being energy efficient to the core is being ready to take on the next project. Every step, no matter how small, makes a difference.
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