The number one barrier is information overload and a lack of focus, which means companies need to focus on the right tools and prioritize where and how to begin. As an example, GE cites it conducts regular “treasure hunt” sessions to identify energy-efficiency savings at a specific manufacturing site, which typically yields opportunities to reduce energy by 20 percent.
Another big barrier is structural limitations where business units and departments are managed by separate budgets, performance timelines, product cycles and other factors, leading to communications issues and a lack of common goals. Google’s strategy is to use a “total cost approach,” while GE’s treasure hunts bring together cross-functional teams, said EDF.
The third barrier is the amount of “small” energy-efficient solutions because there is no single step a company can take to ensure that it is reaping all the benefits of energy efficiency, said EDF. The group recommends that the search for energy-efficiency projects should be a continuous process rather than one-of events.
A recent Verdantix study indicates that an energy-efficiency plan should include investments with a short payback period, such as installing lighting controls, in combination with larger energy efficiency projects such as voltage power optimization that deliver bigger cash and carbon savings.
Cultural resistance within companies are another barrier, which could result in executives believing that the “low hanging fruit” is either low-tech or it had been dealt with years ago.
The fifth barrier is expectations for a fast return on investment (ROI), which can discourage companies from investing in processes, products or technologies that take one to five years to recoup the costs.