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Priorities: Performance, economics or environment?

Posted November 2nd 2010

I’ve come across many people in the Energy Efficiency industry that are amazed when projects with returns as high as 50-75% are not acted upon.  After all, if any of us could put our own money in a bank account with this type of return, there would be no hesitation.  And often I wonder when the returns alone do not light up someone’s eyes.

However, recently I had a conversation that sheds light on this.  I visited a hospital that is interested in all of our technologies.  Before meeting with the rest of the team, I asked the engineer, ‘What is your top priority, reducing costs or saving energy?’  He said, ‘Neither.’  He said that he wanted to use our solutions to increase the performance of his facility.  He rightfully pointed out that economic and environmental benefits would follow from better performance.

People within one organization can have different priorities.  The sustainability director wants to save energy and the CFO wants to reduce costs. However, the facilities engineer is responsible for making sure the facility works and works well.  He is the one that is taking on the risk.
Even with all of the focus on ‘greening’ facilities and saving money, performance must remain the top priority.  If a technology does not consistently and reliably provide top performance, it will not save energy or money in the long run.
David K. Roberts