Better understanding of the multiple benefits of energy efficiency

More and more we are reading about how people are understanding the importance of improving energy efficiency. After all, energy efficiency is a means to an end, not an end in itself. Carl Weinschenk writes a good column in Energy Manager Today about the secondary benefits that we should all have a better grasp of.


Don’t Underestimate the Secondary Benefits of Energy Efficiency

The Boston Business Journal offers a post that says that the monetary gains that flow from energy efficiency upgrades are a big plus – but just the start of the benefits that the process makes possible.

Energy efficiency goes hand in hand with happy workers and happy customers:

A more efficient facility may offer a better and safer working environment, which raises productivity. A pleasing and comfortable atmosphere enhances the customer experience, leading to increased traffic.

In addition, being known as a socially conscious organization is a boon to a company’s image and, possibly, bottom line. The story looks at Philips Lightolier, an LED manufacturer in Fall River, MA. The company has taken many steps toward energy efficiency. The results of some of these, such as use of variable-speed controllers on motors, were squarely aimed at the financial side of energy efficiency.

Other steps, however, saved energy and improved the business in other ways. For instance, fixing compressed air leaks cut the cost of the system. But it also made it more efficient for the technicians.

Many energy executives understand that upgrades and retrofits are about more than saving money. LEDs in schools help children learn better. More efficient HVAC systems increase comfort. The story does a good job of pointing out the benefits of energy efficiency should be thought of in a context broader than the isolated monetary impact of a particularly step.

Local Partnerships, an organization in the United Kingdom, pointed to three secondary benefits of energy efficiency. They are the reduction of absenteeism due to a healthier environment, the heightened value of the facility and the reduction of unplanned downtime. The latter advantage is due to the fact that upgrading efficiency often requires work on equipment that reveals problems before they impact operations.

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