Planning for energy savings

What goes in a plan

An office tenant’s plan is usually split into what the business will do in the general areas of measurement (to find the baseline), technology, (e.g. equipment, lights), behaviours (switch-off campaigns) and issues with the building itself (via the landlord).

Setting priorities

The planning stage is the time to identify all options for efficiencies and select the sequence and investment needs. There is no fixed approach for this and there are a range of tools and expert advice to help you plan. Lighting and equipment audits can be early steps in an Energy Action Plan, and their results will them inform activities for implementation.

Some CitySwitch signatories choose to begin with zero cost action items such as activating existing energy savings features on lights and appliances and behaviour changes, then track the results of these trials. The savings achieved can then justify investment in equipment from small items like hot water timers to larger upgrades like replacing lighting technology.

The lowest cost actions might not reap the biggest energy or carbon emissions reduction, so calculators and assistance from service providers can help set priority actions and estimate rates of return on investment.

There is a growing use of a Marginal Abatement Cost Curve (MAC Curve or MACC) brought to popular attention by McKinsey & Company for planning for greenhouse gas reduction projects. The curve shows both the cost of saving carbon and also the size of the potential saving from that source. In Australia, they are used at a policy level, showing costs per tonne of CO2 reduction for society at large or directly to the investor. They can be useful to individual businesses to analyse a range of options, from retrofits through to installing solar power from a greenhouse gas perspective.

Keeping a plan up to date

Plans should be reviewed quarterly and refreshed at least once a year. Project successes should be communicated to stakeholders, including staff who are the ones making the changes.

Scale of a plan

The scale and complexity of your Action Plan will be appropriate to the business size. Some of the smaller tenancies found that the biggest impacts to their efficiency would require refits to the base building, and their CitySwitch commitment became an impetus to move at the end of the lease agreement. Others made investments in technology such as flat-screen computers or sensor lights. A number of case studies explain how signatories used planning to select their efficiency priorities.


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