Incidental co-benefits of energy saving

One of our speakers at HotelEnergy17, John Mulholland, happens to be a long-established authority on energy motivation and awareness. John spoke at our conference “Practical Experience of Energy Management” in June 2016.  He split the audience into 15 groups, and invited them to brainstorm the incidental benefits of energy efficiency. He then showed them how to rank their ideas and finally canvassed the meeting for as many unique ideas as they could muster.

Several of the groups identified improvements to the working environment such as better air quality and lighting, and less overheating (John himself had an example where this had cut staff turnover in a hotel kitchen). Safety was mentioned in two contexts: reduced working at height changing lamps; and in transport operations, fewer journeys and better-trained drivers. Several human-factors advantages were seen, including giving people a sense of empowerment, improved teamwork and collaboration, people learning how to save on home energy bills, and the possibility of savings being ploughed back into things that benefit the workforce. Improved job security was also mentioned. Interestingly, I myself had seen that identified by the employees of a conference venue who, when asked why they should save energy, said that it improved their employer’s profitability with one group specifically identifying the possibility of a bigger marketing budget as impacting on their own prospects. In that organisation, incidentally, the workers could see the competitive advantage of having better environmental credentials (another positive identified by our conference delegates).

One final side benefit was mentioned: reduced maintenance. Specifically this related to needing fewer lamp replacements, but there is another more general point here, which is that equipment that is not run needlessly lasts longer, minimising repair costs and causing fewer costly disruptions.