From audit to actions: How to overcome barriers to implement energy efficiency actions and investments

Panel: 3. Energy management: The nuts and bolts

Authors:
Alberto Garcia Blanco, Saint-Gobain Isover, Germany
Michael Berger, Saint-Gobain Isover G+H AG, BUTI, Germany

Abstract

Practical experiences and lessons learned from a heat loss reduction program with a large manufacturer of insulation material.

Once an energy audit has been performed, the implementation of corrective actions – starting with those offering fast payback – seems to be self-evident. However by implementing the TIP-4-BEST thermal energy saving program inside our group we found several obstacles: from technical difficulties, to financial issues but most of all organizational constraints. Discussing with energy managers, auditors and ESCO’s it seems that the implementation of actions and investments in energy efficiency often face similar organizational challenges. Our experience and lessons learned follow a combined bottom-up and top-down process to “crack the hard nut” realizing the EE potential.

It usually starts with the dilemma between “Bottom-up” split of decision making power and “Top-down” low level of awareness, scope and interest. In many industries the ‘a priori’ way to follow implementation of energy efficiency actions, from top-to down, is difficult. Single EE actions simply lack total cost and business impact. Therefore, we are faced with low availability, interest and focus of top management. Instead we must convince and work with functions such as Energy, Maintenance, Engineering or Production Managers by following a bottom-up approach. However, they usually don’t have decision making power themselves, do not have the right tools/information and/or are bound by having to focus on day-to-day problem solving. Consequently, even with short payback solutions, EE actions are left aside.

With our internal experience inside our group’s program, we can showcase a successful example on how to find the right way through a complex organization by identifying and pushing all key actors and combining efforts in both directions. Understanding the organization, speaking the right language, creating visibility and adapting to existing processes and programs are keys to success. Finally, the pressure has had the final desired effect and implementation came as a water fall: TIP-4-BEST audits and corrective actions have started to be widely and continuously applied.

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