Step 2: Make an action plan
Drill down into who, what, when and how
An energy management action plan is a practical document detailing how and when you’ll meet the long-term goals in your strategy. Explain what you'll ask your organisation for in terms of time, resource and budget. Prioritise your list of targets to make sure you have the resources to implement those with most impact.
How to set effective goals
Clearly designate who is accountable for the plan’s effectiveness and success. They will carry out the plan and make sure decisions are made on time.
In a larger organisation, the plan needs to be owned or sponsored by senior managers prepared to dedicate resource (time, people and money) to make it work.
Be very clear about what you aim to achieve by using the SMART goals framework. SMART goals are:
- Specific – state exactly what you’re going to do.
- Measureable – so you can track progress and quantify success.
- Attainable – challenge yourself but make sure you have the resources to achieve your goals.
- Realistic – your goals make sense against the industry standard and align with your business’s overall strategy.
- Time-based – draw up a timeline so you know when to start each action and when you need to have it done by.
Prioritise energy management options with short-term payback that can be implemented easily. They’ll help you build momentum and get support for other initiatives.
Plan how to engage and motivate staff
If your business makes a commitment to energy efficiency and emissions reduction, your staff will likely want to be part of it. You’ll get the best results by involving and empowering them with a long-term, planned approach.
Educating and motivating staff about energy efficiency is proven to help businesses save energy and carbon emissions for relatively low cost.
You can make a lot of savings when staff take simple actions like turning off lights, shutting down machines at the end of the day and reporting maintenance issues. They will also have pragmatic ideas about how to do things better – but they need a way to feed them into the business.
How to get big projects off the ground
In larger organisations, a big energy management project – such as switching to a renewable fuel boiler – can deliver fast paybacks. You still need to compete for resources against other departments and projects, so your business case has to be strong.
You need to provide a rigorous assessment, investigation and analysis that will give confidence that the project will be a success.
Tips for writing a strong business case
- Include all the information decision-makers need to be fully informed.
It helps if you can:
- provide a cost-benefit analysis
- demonstrate how the project fits with the business’s strategic objectives
- explain the impact on environmental compliance
- show the impact on health and safety
- outline the risk profile of the project vs the alternatives.
- Link your business case to the organisation’s strategic objectives.
Do this by showing how it could, for example:
- reduce cost and improve business competitiveness
- reduce energy use and enable growth in energy-constrained facilities
- increase productivity
- improve sustainability.
- Write for the people who will be reviewing it.
If they’re not technical people, go easy on the detail. But the more money your business case is asking for, the greater level of scrutiny it will get, and the more information and accuracy will be needed. Include these sections (at least):
- Project costs and uncertainties
- Financial benefits
- Alternatives considered
- Project management
- Project risks
- Project timeline
- Review process