EnergySMART is a community of people who are passionate about energy and who are actively striving to make more intelligent energy management decisions.

New Forbes Report: Executives Unaware of Energy Costs

Posted by Thalia Pascalides on Feb 23, 2015 7:00:00 AM

How much do you spend on energy?

Not totally sure? Well, at least you’re in good company.

According to Forbes Insights’ new report, despite the fact that enterprises typically spend between 3-5% of their revenue on energy, most senior executives remain unaware of their annual energy costs.

There are many legitimate reasons energy management doesn’t rise to the top of the list for executives. Energy decision-making is often decentralized and it’s unclear who “owns” it as a line-item: the plant manager? the procurement manager? the sustainability manager (if you’re fortunate enough to have one)? you?

And even if you’re committed to doing better and want help, the energy management vendor landscape is not easy to navigate. So either you may not actually even realize you have a problem, don’t think you can do anything about it, or you aren’t even sure where to start.

How Equity Office Properties Stopped Wasting Time on Energy Reporting

Posted by Ali Zelisko on Feb 20, 2015 7:00:00 AM

At the end of the work day, are you left wondering where all of your time went?

A McKinsey study I read recently revealed that when nearly 1,500 executives were asked how they spent their time, only 9% of them reported being “very satisfied.” And only 52% said that the way they spent their time matched the strategic priorities of the organizations they ran.

The study also found, though, that time management isn’t just an individual problem over which companies have no control; it can be tackled if leaders have the right tools and incentives to manage their time effectively.

If you’re an asset manager in commercial real estate (CRE), those findings may seem far too familiar.

Why Real-Time (Index) Prices Matter to You

Posted by John duPont on Feb 18, 2015 7:00:00 AM

Where were you on January 7, 2014?

If your answer is the Northeast or Mid-Atlantic, your business was probably affected by surging energy prices during the Polar Vortex. You are not alone—at least 195 companies mentioned “weather” in their quarterly earnings calls between January 1March 12, 2014.  

Why is it that some facilities’ budgets seem more susceptible to extreme weather events than others? The answer relates primarily to how you buy energy—specifically, whether your bill contains any exposure to real-time (also called “index”) prices. What may come as a surprise, though, is that facilities paying a fixed price for electricity can be impacted by real-time price spikes, too.

What Tariff Am I On (And Why Does It Matter)?

Posted by Trey Shehan on Feb 17, 2015 7:00:00 AM

Have you ever heard a colleague refer to your electricity tariff, and not known exactly what they were talking about? 

You probably know that your tariff has something to do with how much you pay for electricity. But we tend to think that a tariff is the price you pay for electricity, which isn't entirely accurate. 

In fact, your electric rate is the price you pay per unit of electricity, or the dollars the utility charges you per kilowatt hour (kWh). Tariffs, on the other hand, are a collection of rates, additional charges, and other rules that determine how to calculate your electricity bill—they’re recipes for power bills.

And oftentimes, they're extremely complex recipes. Over the course of the last year I've read through hundreds of commercial energy tariffs from across the United States. Each tariff was easily 15 pages of dense, sometimes unintelligible, clauses and exceptions.

But good news is there are some basics to all tariffs, and understanding them will drastically increase your ability to manage the three energy cost drivers.

The Role of Renewable Energy on Your Australian Energy Bill

Posted by Nicole Lindsell on Feb 15, 2015 4:00:00 PM

This is the final post in our series about deciphering your energy bill. Be sure to check out the rest of the series, which covers retail and network energy charges.

By 2020, 20% of Australian electricity will be supplied by renewable sources. Your business plays a significant role in hitting that target through contributions to the Renewable Energy Target (RET) scheme.

This post will tell you all you need to know about the Renewable Energy Target, how you’re contributing to a better future and what this means for your business, now.

Are Your Buildings Flying First Class?

Posted by Micah Remley on Feb 13, 2015 10:37:00 AM

Micah Remley is Senior Vice President of Product at EnerNOC.

I logged into our corporate travel system the other day to book a trip, and while I searched for flights and hotels, my choices were noticeably constrained. Only certain fare classes were shown, some direct flights weren’t displayed, and expensive hotels didn’t appear. 

Why? Because we have a corporate travel policy that mandates how employees travel—coach fares only, no direct flights when a connecting flight will do, and no expensive hotels. Most companies and institutions have very similar travel policies and enforcement mechanisms in order to control and manage their travel spend. 

That got me thinking about energy cost policy and enforcement. Energy costs are very similar to travel costs: they both average several percent (higher in some segments) of revenue for most businesses and both costs occur in a very distributed nature. 

However, they differ in that few businesses or institutions have a published set of energy use policies and even fewer have a means for enforcing them. Does this set up a situation where organizations are allowing buildings to fly first class while forcing their employees to fly coach?

Six Ways to Put the “Management” Back into Energy Management

Posted by Sarah McAuley on Feb 10, 2015 7:00:00 AM

Why don’t executives insist their organizations manage energy with the same discipline they apply to virtually every other big operational line item?

In the wake of last year’s polar vortex, fluctuating energy costs, and an up-and-down economy, executives are giving more attention to energy management than ever before. While it's an improvement, it's still not nearly enough; most large enterprises today still lack a set of coherent, enterprise-wide energy management goals.

Reach the Frozen Middle: How Top Utilities Successfully Engage SMEs

Posted by Bruce Herzer on Feb 6, 2015 7:00:00 AM

Despite making up roughly 35% of utilities’ and energy retailers' revenue streams and spending $60 billion on energy each year in the US alone, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have become a sort of “frozen middle” of the utility business, so to speak.

What I mean is this: most utilities and energy retailers have sharpened their methods for engaging residential and large commercial and industrial customers. But they haven’t had nearly as much success melting SMEs' hard-to-penetrate core.

Some leading utilities have figured it out, though, and are driving higher customer satisfaction ratings across the segment. What are they doing differently? The answer lies in segmentation.

Read on to learn the science of segmentation, and how you can leverage it at your utility today.

How to Choose the Best Renewable Energy Project for Your Enterprise

Posted by Ky Krieger on Feb 5, 2015 7:00:00 AM

This is the first post in our four part series, Renewables and Your Enterprise.

Amidst the recent flurry of anxiety over whether renewables are actually delivering the savings promised, we keep hearing the question: "Do renewables make financial sense?"

The short answer is "yes", with some important caveats.

When deciding on the best renewable energy project for your business—one that maximizes ROI—there are three primary factors you should be assessing.

$8 Billion: The Value of Customer Trust

Posted by Sarah Barwin on Jan 30, 2015 7:00:00 AM

How much would improving your customers' trust in you lift your bottom line?

Cogent Report's 2014 Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement Study set out to answer that, surveying 19,000 residential utility customers serviced by 125 of the largest natural gas and electric utilities in the US. The study estimated that customer trust in utilities influences $8 billion in revenue annually.

Interestingly, the study found that one of the most reliable predictors of trust was customer engagement. If building trust with your customers is high on your priority list, here are a few tips to help you get there through better customer engagement.


Editorial Team

Sarah McAuley

Sarah's been bleeding EnerNOC blue for the last seven years as the Director of Marketing Communications. Prior to joining the team, she worked in the telecom industry, trying to convince telecom carriers to ditch antiquated switching technology and adopt voice-over-IP. She knows that uber-regulated industries like telecom and energy can have their challenges, but she's always loved being in the throes of an industry undergoing massive transformation.

Robin Deliso

As Senior Manager of Brand and Corporate Communications, Robin builds our brand in any way she can, which means contributing to the blog (her favorite posts involve deconstructing wonky topics, which there’s no shortage of in this industry), working with our global teams to help them tell the EnerNOC story worldwide, and otherwise finding creative ways to create awareness for our company and our products.

Thalia Pascalides

As Senior Content Marketing Manager, Thalia strives to deliver valuable, relevant information that helps energy managers become heroes in their everyday jobs. Thalia is a 7+ year EnerNOC veteran but a recent transplant to the west coast hub in San Francisco, where she’s inspired everyday by how technology is revolutionizing our world.  

Christopher Fiorello

Christopher brings experience in academic sociology, journalism and marketing for start-ups and corporations to the EnergySMART blog. He has written about everything from militant groups in the Middle East to marriage among immigrants, and most recently led product-marketing at a data visualization firm. He’s joined the EnerNOC team to help document the future of energy use.

Kristen Brewitt

Kris brings insights on the evolving electric grid to the EnergySMART blog based on 15+ years experience in the utility and infrastructure industry as a marketing strategist, consultant, and public policy and communications advisor. Her core focus has been on distributed energy resources, transmission and distribution system technology, and transportation and infrastructure policy. She joined the EnerNOC team to help propel the utility future forward through customer engagement.