Stories & Features

Manage your energy more strategically with the new SEM Hub

Image of engineer with technical drawings and laptop
The new Strategic Energy Management Hub reminds you that energy costs don't have to be fixed: by thinking about your energy usage strategically across your entire business, you can make changes.

Powerful tools to help every business plan for the future

In December 2018, the B.C. Government unveiled its Clean BC plan, aimed at drastically reducing greenhouse gases and carbon pollution. "By moving to clean, renewable energy – like our abundant supply of B.C. electricity – we can power our growing economy and make life better and more affordable for British Columbians." said Premier John Horgan.

Right around the same time, BC Hydro brought its Self-Serve Industrial Program (SIP) and Business Energy Savings Incentive (BESI) initiatives together, along with some powerful tools, to create the Strategic Energy Management (SEM) Hub. "We chose that name very consciously," says Paul Seo, Senior Program Manager at BC Hydro. "80% of the businesses we speak to say that energy efficiency is important to their business. But many aren't aware that energy costs don't have to be fixed costs. They can be controllable. The SEM Hub is about helping all of our business customers plan strategically and make the right decisions about how to manage their energy usage for the long term."

Valuable learning from our biggest customers

BC Hydro's biggest commercial customers, made up of municipalities, healthcare, advanced education, retail and property organizations, have been seeing the benefits of strategic energy management for the past decade, with many of them having a full-time Energy Manager role. "We saw some great metrics over that time, both quantitative and qualitative. The time was right to take everything we've learned with those customers and make the tools that they use scale to any business type or size." says Seo. "We offer a lot of individual incentives for a wide range of activities. But for our small to medium business customers, it wasn't always immediately obvious how to combine those incentives to get optimum results. The new SEM Hub makes this all a lot easier."

"When we spoke to our business customers," says Seo, "the top three things they need help with are 1: Decreasing operating expenses, 2: Implementing energy saving measures and 3: Making sure they make use of any available incentives. The SEM Hub delivers all of these things (and more) by shifting focus on energy usage from tactical to strategic."

The SEM Hub does this with a comprehensive set of digital tools built around three pillars that set any organization up for success:

Business Management: Understanding where you are now and where you want to be so that you can create a strategic energy management plan with the targets you need to hit over a specified time.

Asset Management: Identifying and prioritizing which of your locations and/or equipment would deliver the biggest or most cost-effective improvements.

Change Management: Defining different or new behaviours for your team to drive better energy management, such as turning down your heating by one degree or switching off equipment and lighting whenever possible.

Getting a clear understanding of how power is being used across your organization and then acting on it is now much easier. The SEM Assessment Tool walks you through all aspects of your business, including lighting, mechanical, operational and behavioural. This generates a report that helps you not only decide on energy management strategies, but also points you to any BC Hydro incentives that can help get you started.

Start planning today

And speaking of getting started, even logging into the SEM Hub is easy. If you're an existing BESI or SIP participant, you'll just need your ID and password. And if you're a new user, just enter your business account number to get help deciding which program suits your business best. Then you can download a quick start guide and start exploring the benefits of strategic energy management for your business right away.