Less than one-fourth of buildings adopt energy efficiency measures, according to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE). Upgrades can save money in the long-term and increase occupant productivity immediately, so why are facilities managers hesitant to invest?
ACEEE posits that there are four key reasons behind FM apprehension: more efficient technology is often expensive and risky, building teams are too understaffed and lack the expertise to implement efficiency upgrades, it’s challenging to convince senior leaders in organizations to buy in and the department lacks adequate financial resources.
To combat these objections, ACEEE offers a few suggestions to increase investments and to embrace energy efficiency. Consider these four strategies:
1) Promote the non-energy benefits of energy efficiency. It is easy to fall into the money trap. Specifically, it is easy to get caught up in estimated savings and percentages, especially when making the case to senior decision makers. Advocate for employee health, worker productivity and environmental protection when emphasizing the need for increased energy efficiency to make the situation more human and less like a mathematical equation.
2) Learn about easy-to-use and affordable financing. What is the biggest barrier to any investment? The upfront cost, of course. While you have to spend money to make money, know that you do have options. There are plenty of easy-to-use financing strategies, like on-bill financing (OBF) and property-assessed clean energy (PACE) financing, that help decrease the heavy burdens of initial costs.
3) Use policies that are already proven to work. This may seem like an easy one, but it cannot be overstated just how effective efficiency programs like ENERGY STAR have been at saving energy and money on a micro and macro level. Energy-saving performance contracts have been eliminating high upfront costs for building owners since ENERGY STAR’s inception in 1998.
4) Look for local incentives. The push for changing your building’s approach to energy may be in your backyard. Special tax rates are available in places like Charlottesville, VA, for commercial and residential buildings. Community programs in Hood River, OR, and Marshfield, MA, have taken hold and facilitated collaboration among business owners and community members.