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Employee Energy Awareness: Industrial companies get help

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Power Smart gives companies a leg up in launching employee engagement programs

Industrial companies can upgrade, retrofit, calibrate and insulate – but they won't maximize their energy savings until they engage their employees.

Employee engagement is how energy efficiency enters a company's DNA and becomes a process of continuous adaptation and improvement. (And ongoing savings.)

"Energy awareness is like a safety program at a company. It's not a campaign with distinct start and finish. It has to be ingrained in everything the company does," says Jon Sanders of BC Hydro Power Smart. "No matter what level of process you work at in your facility, energy efficiency should be top of mind.

"It's like thinking to turn off the lights when you leave a room – if you're on break and you can turn off a conveyor or a compressor, you should do that as well."

What Power Smart offers

BC Hydro provides support to companies launching employee engagement programs through:

  • Subsidized planning workshops at central locations;
  • Free campaign materials to help put a plan into action.

Companies taking part in the Industrial Energy Manager with SEMP initiative are eligible for further offers, including 100 per cent funding towards a customized on-site workshop and co-funding and assistance for campaign kick-off events. There are also online tools (see below).

"Without employees on board, an energy efficiency program doesn't sustain itself," says Sanders. "It's one thing to have efficient equipment, but if that equipment is still running all the time, it won't save as much energy as it could.

"Plus, one energy manager can't be the eyes and ears for the whole plant. Employees know where energy is wasted – you want them on board, contributing their ideas."

Online tools: posters, video, and planning guide

To help you start your employee energy awareness program, BC Hydro has a number of online resources available, from posters through to a planning guide [PDF, 1.9 MB] that outlines these  "Six Steps for Success" you can adapt to suit your needs:

  1. Establish goals and objectives
  2. Create the team
  3. Develop your energy awareness program
  4. Assemble your tools
  5. Implement your plan
  6. Recognize and reward

A variety of posters are available for download and printing that help message the value of energy savings.

For example, did you know:

  • 58% of the lifetime cost of your pumping system comes from the energy it uses. (That's nearly double the original capital cost.)
  • For compressed air systems, a whopping 76% of lifetime costs are due to energy use – with only 24% coming from equipment, installation, and lifetime maintenance.

Facts like those help employees recognize the cost implications of poorly maintained equipment or inattentive operation. Check out the full list of posters. There's also a video about the value of optimizing pumping systems.

"Too often, employees don't have enough information about energy efficiency, or they're not aware how much electricity their processes take," says Sanders. "Giving them the facts can be an eye-opener.

"Once you've got people on board – all the way from the people who are working on the floor up through the executive level managers – you're on your way to finding your most cost-effective energy savings."