When clients and other colleagues talk about the “trend” of Fortune 500 companies centralizing their energy and energy-related functions, I think we’re looking at something much bigger.
There are numerous drivers behind the move toward centralization. Expected savings, especially during periods of economic uncertainty, is the obvious one. But another common driver is the need to improve carbon footprint reporting as part of corporate efforts to improve image, meet certain regulatory requirements, or simply as a measure of good corporate citizenship.
Centralization helps create a holistic and more accurate baseline for organizations by enhancing overall energy reporting and accountability across an energy team and organization facilities. Over time, companies realize that centralization’s ability to share best practices fuels increased opportunity identification and ultimately achieves significant savings through expanded energy efficiency. These realized savings, in turn, can be reinvested to fuel growth in core businesses or to directly improve the bottom line.
Two of the most common critical success factors in the centralization process are: (1) the need for a well-respected, high level champion for centralization inside the organization and (2) the development of a clear and holistic energy management plan with clearly defined measures of success. These common measures of success include increased energy savings for the same level of risk, lower energy cost per square foot and a lower carbon footprint.
So I’ll leave it up to you: are the centralized teams who generate and efficiently implement these big organizational ideas about energy merely a “trend”—or something bigger?