The Federation of Environmental Trade Associations (FETA) is championing its five Associations to spread the energy management message at Board level. Representatives from the five Associations within FETA have joined together and established an Energy Reduction Group (ERG); its chairman is Mike Lawrence from the British Refrigeration Association.
“Energy management may be considered old news, but that doesn’t detract from the important role it has to play at both business and global levels,” said Mike Lawrence. “As building services manufacturers, we are well aware of the costs involved in running our equipment. On average refrigeration and air conditioning represent 20 percent of a building’s electrical load, but business cannot operate without these services. Consequently, the industry has made available a wide selection of energy efficient products and systems that can satisfy the comfort requirements of a building’s occupiers, while ensuring that energy consumption levels are kept to a minimum. Take-up by the end-user, however, has not been encouraging.”
ERG believes that the reason lies in conflicting cultures. Its members report their difficulties in selling equipment that is energy efficient. A major cause is often due to its capital cost being marginally higher than that of less efficient products. Investigation highlighted a mix of business cultures that, because of their separate interests, find it difficult to accommodate the needs of one another.
“The priority of ‘major works’ is to complete its projects at the lowest cost, leaving it to the energy manager to try and reign back energy consumptions at a later date,” explained Mike. “The only point at which budgets come together is at Board level and that means educating the financial director, managing director and chairman.”
To do this, ERG is planning to encourage a culture change by motivating the Board to develop holistic procedures that will optimise their company’s energy behaviour and thereby reduce the size of the carbon footprints left by them.
“Many of the people at the top of the large retail and property companies have already indicated their support for the CO2 reduction policies. To assist them, we are planning to organise seminars for Board members in order to demonstrate ways in which their business systems can be adapted so that greater energy efficiency is encouraged throughout their enterprises.”