In a recent article for RetailSector, Gazprom Energy’s manager of corporate accounts, Stuart Taylor, explained that if a business cut energy costs by 20%, they could receive the equivalent bottom line benefit as a 5% increase in sales.
If your business is in a position in which cutting energy costs by 20% is more readily achievable than increasing sales by 5%, employing the services of an energy manager may be a prudent and profitable step. An individual, or external team, dedicated to the strategic procurement and use of energy could help streamline costs, offering short-term and long-term gains.
However, if no members of your team specialise in energy management, your first moves in this discipline can be slightly confusing. So, we have put together this guide to help you gain greater understanding of energy management, and how to identify the individual(s) you should approach to handle the responsibility.
The overarching responsibility of an energy manager is to increase the efficiency of energy usage and reduce energy-related costs. This can be achieved through a wide range of methods, from securing energy at favourable prices to implementing physical changes to the business premises to improve energy efficiency.
Energy managers serve two very important functions for businesses of all sizes. Firstly, they help to reduce overheads, which could benefit the business’ bottom line. And secondly, the reduction in energy consumption their actions accommodate could boost the business’ eco credentials. Both of these functions have led to more and more businesses hiring skilled professionals to handle their energy management needs.
For many energy managers, a new role will begin with the creation of a series of audits, measuring how much energy a business is consuming, and at what costs. These audits will allow the energy manager to identify areas where the business can reduce energy consumption, and subsequent costs.
An energy manager will undertake a strategic evaluation of all aspects of energy consumption, and a full appraisal of all machinery, buildings and equipment owned or operated by the business.
From these audits and evaluations, the energy manager will be able to propose and implement strategies to reduce energy consumption and the subsequent costs.
Another aspect of an energy manager’s role is to assess the business’ procurement of energy – where they are getting the energy from, and at what cost. Using this information, the energy manager may be able to alter the buying patterns to procure energy at a better rate.
A successful energy manager will closely monitor the fluctuating price of energy, investing when the costs are low, and maybe even selling when there’s a profit to be made.
For small businesses with minimal energy costs, a dedicated energy manager may be a superfluous investment. But as a business grows, the benefits to be gained from employing an energy specialist could soon justify the outlay.
Naturally, certain industries such as manufacturing are likely to have a greater need for an energy manager due to their higher levels of consumption. Every business grows at a different rate, so there is no set time in a business’ lifecycle to employ an energy manager.
It is vital that energy costs are continuously monitored from the early stages of a business’ operation. When they begin to grow, it could be worth investigating the potential for seeking the assistance of an energy specialist.
Additionally, if your business has been set, internally or externally, certain energy targets that are proving difficult to meet – it could be time to employ the services of an energy manager. This could even be a temporary solution– seeking the services of an individual on a set-time contract or the guidance of an external consultant.
A consultant could even perform an initial audit, helping you understand if you require the services of an energy manager or not.
If your business has come to the conclusion that an energy manager is the correct next step, you may be faced with the decision whether to bring someone in full time for the role, or seek the services of an external consultant. Both of the options offer their own specific pros and cons, which we have discussed below.
Hiring in-house brings with it a range of great benefits, allowing an individual to immerse in the culture of the business, and understand every aspect of its energy consumption.
If you do decide to opt for an in-house hire, here are some of the skills and qualifications to look for. The successful candidate should be able to juggle an array of responsibilities — overseeing energy usage, optimising efficiency, setting energy-saving processes and goals.
Sourcing and negotiating contracts with energy suppliers and brokers also forms a significant part of an energy manager’s role. Identifying trusted partners who can help efficiently manage energy services in a cost-effective manner can help optimise the process.
In terms of soft skills, the right energy manager is a confident leader, someone who can deliver strategic energy management services with authority. Equally, their analytical skills should be of a high standard. Digging into the levels of energy use within a business means making sense of numbers and data in an effective, clear manner.
Additionally, they should have the necessary educational background and requisite credentials too. A bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement, ideally in one of the following disciplines:
For more senior energy management positions, perhaps look for individuals who have completed specialist postgraduate degrees, such as environmental science.
An individual consultant or team of energy managers can bring a large amount of experience and expertise to the table, and maybe at a preferable rate to an in-house hire.
We hope this guide has helped clarify your business’ position in regards to energy management, and offered guidance for the next steps you should take.
Gazprom Energy is a leading and award-winning business energy supplier, helping thousands of businesses manage their gas and electricity contracts. To find out more about what we can offer your business, visit the homepage or call us today on 0845 230 0011.
The views, opinions and positions expressed within this article are those of our third-party content providers alone and do not represent those of Gazprom Energy. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. Gazprom Energy accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations.
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