CASE STUDY – RELEASE YOUR POTENTIAL


PLUG-IN & RELEASE YOUR POTENTIAL

This first case-study aims to give you a flavour of the approach to plug into ‘on-demand’ – ‘making sure you only use what you need’.    A key focus is getting the engagement right.

I started thinking about these concepts some years ago while commissioning some lighting controls for a hospital trust with Patrick Kelly (ex EX-OR Lighting Controls).  Over the last few years, I have worked closely with a number of good companies who have managed to successfully apply these same principles in quite innovative ways, particularly for air-conditioning, baggage systems and other motor-driven processes.   I know others are also following similar strategies.

I hope we will be able to bring you some of these case-studies in due course.

STEP 1 = INSPIRE – “HOW DO WE PERFORMANCE AGAINST OUR PEERS?”

One good place to start is to reinforce the ‘Why’ by considering performance against peers. 

The Carbon Trust promotes benchmarks based on ‘Good Practice’ and ‘Typical Practice’, in specific energy terms ‘per unit ‘or ‘per m2’.  We often develop and use these types of benchmarks.  In this (quite typical) example, you can see that the company (‘You’) is doing quite well but not as well as its ‘Good Practice’ competitors. 

It begs the question “What are they doing differently?” 
“Are we able to save 40% of our current energy consumption and operating costs?”

STEP 2 = EXPLORE – “HOW CAN WE SAVE ENERGY?”

The EXPLORE stage typically starts off with gathering data and bringing together people to brainstorm opportunities that take out the ‘non-value add’ from the system.   It is critical to work with operational teams as they can drive how far the system can be stretched. This is the core part of the approach (and would include, for example, the ‘Measure’, ‘Analyse’ and most of the ‘Improve’ stages of a DMAIC project methodology under a Six Sigma management strategy). 

To do this, we often look to run an ‘ideas exchange’ by bringing together teams, as part of one of our Big Green Events.

On-demand projects typically show savings of 40-90%.

‘Switching it off’ is often the most rewarding strategy we find – though stretching the ‘off’ periods does, of course, need to be managed in a controlled way.

The example below shows how a reasonably well managed motorised system (already being turned off at night and with some ‘die-back’ control during the day) can significantly reduce its energy consumption (by up to 90%) by applying on-demand concepts.

STEP 3 = DISCOVER – “WHAT’S THE BEST WAY OF ROLLING THIS SOLUTION OUT?”

The big opportunity comes with large-scale implementation.  

From a people perspective, a key part of the strategy is to focus on results - and when it comes to energy, management is measurement.  In the case above, the next step involved rolling-out the metering and measurement systems to set ourselves up for SUCCESS.

We call this step ‘DISCOVER’ as it is important to properly engage the whole operational team and let them discover ‘what’s in it for them’ – discovering the potential total energy and financial savings as well as the personal motivators considered as part of developing the ‘standard operating procedures’. 

Getting the people bit right is an important step to ensure the strategy translates into action.  We don’t want this ‘big’ idea to be turned off once the project is complete, nor do we want the ‘standard operating procedures’ to be left on the shelf, unread and un-adopted.

STEP 4 = SUCCEED – “HOW CAN WE PUT IN THE WEDGE LONG-TERM?”

This is, in part, the classic ‘Control’ phase (under strategies such as Six Sigma) to assure savings are locked-in long-term and any deviations from target are picked up and corrected.

This step typically links back to Step 1 – as a continuous looping process – monitoring and reporting on performance against key performance indicators (in specific energy terms for our example), based on a continuously refining set of benchmarks and targets.

Good luck!

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