Nowadays, you may hear the term ‘energy efficient’ used positively to describe businesses, but you might not know what it means. Whether for PR, moral obligation or a need to save money, many decision-makers are making it their business to become ‘energy efficient’. How are they doing it? Businesses often outsource the task of becoming energy efficient to consultants that can identify and implement optimal energy consumption.

Roles of energy consultants –

Since the overall goal of an energy consultant is to reduce waste in energy usage systems, they must first study the business’ inner workings. They do this so that they can both understand how the client is using energy and how their business runs on a day to day basis. Though consultants may prescribe newer machinery that wastes fewer resources (time, money, man-power, materials etc.), when a business doesn’t have the funds for new technology, a consultant may suggest another resource-saving change after auditing the energy consumption in details. As long as the solutions do not affect productivity, they can be as varied as changing business hours or increasing energy awareness among employees.

Energy consultants can often make the most impact at larger corporations that have both the budget to improve energy systems and much more incentive to do so given the amount of energy they consume. Consultants help corporations with their unqiue ability to analyze compound manufacturing and production processes typical in bigger operations, like those at a Coca Cola factory or Chase Bank branches. These large operations consume more energy overall and spend more on energy bills, meaning they have the most to ‘gain’ financially from becoming energy efficient. Sometimes these companies have multiple offices, warehouses, storefronts or manufacturing facilities. Identifying room for improvement in these complex energy systems across multi-step business practices requires analytical and creative problem solving skills. Thus, consultants must be very knowledgeable about the industry at large and some energy consultants may work primarily in one sector over another.

Along with exchanging one technology for another or replacing old machinery, there are many ways that energy consultants modify consumption in order to improve ‘energy efficiency.’ An increasingly popular solution is to implement alternative energy sources, like wind or solar energy. These energy sources reduce carbon emissions, which means less impact on the global environment. Businesses prioritize the long term viability of their environmental impact for several different reasons, especially due to strict government regulations, so energy consultants challenge industry leaders to utilize these alternative sources.

In summary, while energy consultants primarily offer solutions that diminish energy expenditure and its environmental impact, they must also educate clients on the business aspects of their changes (ie. profit and loss). Consultants must translate their energy solutions into practical, actionable steps, outlining the necessary expenses and potential values of change. Sometimes this means modeling necessary expenses in the short term relative to energy and money saved in the long run. Ultimately, while these professionals are called energy consultants, they are jacks of all trades using a specific, growing base of knowledge to improve a business’ efficiency overall.