Energy savings being stymied by business
11 Sep 2014
It is time the business sector was “emboldened” and “stopped dragging its heels” on energy savings and innovation, according to a leading industry consultant.
Bob Sharon, CEO of Green Global Solutions, who will address All-Energy Australia 2014 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on October 15th and 16th, says a lack of foresight is stalling progress.
Mr Sharon, who has spent 30 years working in IT, infrastructure and energy, says “industry prefers ‘tried and true’ rather than ‘smart and revolutionary’ and the problem is that is not helping anyone.”
He quotes a 2014 RMIT survey that indicates Australia made $3.2 billion in energy savings last year, but $2.7 billion of that came from households and only $500 million from industry.
Mr Sharon says it is obvious businesses that reduce their energy consumption will also lower their carbon footprint.
He will tell All-Energy Australia delegates the big problem is that “ever since the industrial revolution it has been facilities people who run office buildings, industrial facilities, warehouses, data centres, hospitals, hotels and the like.
“The fact is that in most cases these aren’t the ones paying the energy bills, so what incentive do they have to reduce costs – none!”
Mr Sharon says this has to change.
“CEOs and boards must assign responsibility to the appropriate individuals. Each functional head has to be accountable for both revenue and costs, and those costs don’t just involve hiring and firing people.”
Mr Sharon says a Fujitsu global report last year found 92% of CIOs in Australia don’t know what their company’s energy consumption is and that was the worst result of any country surveyed.
He calls this “a return to the dinosaur age”, where facilities managers are often scared of engaging energy specialists, fearing if they do so they will be seen to be not doing the jobs they were engaged to do.
“In other words, because they spend their time managing problems and fighting bushfires, they take a bandaid approach.”
Mr Sharon says the problem is compounded because if facilities managers do eventually call in outsiders they inevitably turn to traditional building consultants, who are “risk averse”.
“Unless technology has been used thousands of times before they won’t use it and that means they are making only incremental changes when revolutionary change is what’s needed.”
He says proven new technologies – maybe used on only a handful of occasions – can result in energy savings of between 50 and 80 percent.
“Importantly, many of these provide a return on investment within three years and not five or six as is often the case today, so everybody wins,” Mr Sharon says.
“The onus has to be on both businesses and consultants to be bold and that will result in energy savings of 10 times what we have now.”
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