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Exploring 4 Impactful Energy Management Strategies

From crippling energy bills to record savings, discover how innovative energy management systems (EMS) cultivate successful businesses. Implementing an EMS can revolutionize how businesses manage their energy use, leading to substantial cost savings and improved sustainability. EMS solutions have a significant impact across diverse industries, providing a data-driven action plan to reduce energy costs. From paper mills and school districts to hotels and military bases, these success stories highlight the transformative potential of a well-executed energy management strategy. 

Flambeau River Paper: Revising Energy Strategy to Make a Comeback

Flambeau River Papers has been a cornerstone of Park Falls, Wisconsin’s economy since 1896. Due to exorbitant energy costs, they had to shudder their doors in 2006, leaving 13% of Park Falls unemployed. Butch Johnson was a local investor who had a vision of restoring Flambeau River into the powerhouse it once was. Paper mills are notoriously energy intensive, so he knew addressing the mill’s efficiency was essential to avoid another closure.  

Reopening the mill provided a unique opportunity to start fresh with their energy strategy.  Taking a bottom-up approach, he asked factory floor employees to provide suggestions to improve operations. Asking for employee feedback evolved into creating a dedicated Energy Committee. The committee established company energy efficiency and decarbonization goals. They also implemented new strategies for energy trending, switching to sustainable fuel, and continually improve processes. 

What results can manufacturing facilities achieve with an energy management system?

Prior to closing in 2006, Flambeau Rivers spent $11 million on energy annually. Through employee-provided recommendations and conservation efforts, Flambeau River achieved $10 million in energy savings over a 3.5-year period. Due to their success, Flambeau River Papers constructed a biofuels refinery in 2013 to fuel their operations sustainably. 

What key factors contribute to manufacturing energy management success? 

  • Listening to Employee Feedback: Energy management strategies are only successful if everyone participates. Starting with gathering employee feedback empowers them to both voice their opinions and be an active participant in energy saving initiatives. 
  • Switching Fuel Sources: Flambeau Rivers exclusively used coal as a fuel source until 2006. Upon reopening, they created the goal to no longer use coal by the end of 2009. Once that goal was achieved, they set another ambitious goal of using biofuels to become carbon neutral by 2013. 
  • Continuous Operational Improvements: Their Energy Committee ensures that energy usage is regularly monitored and there are ongoing goals to improve performance. They work with factory floor workers and C-Suite personnel to establish efficiency and operational standards with a regular review process. 

Boise School District: Bolstering Classroom Budgets with Energy Management 

The Boise School District comprises 51 schools with over 4.6 million cumulative square feet of buildings. The district employs more than 4,000 staff members who serve 22,500 K-12 Idaho students. Like most school districts, energy expenses are a necessary, but often highly expensive, necessity. Boise School District has a long-standing interest in improving their energy performance, establishing a Resource Conservation Office in 1997. While the district has invested in several energy efficiency initiatives over the years, they never implemented an official energy management solution. 

Source: IdahoEdNews.org 

To combat increasing energy costs, the Boise School District developed a Sustainability Committee in 2017. The Committee partnered with Consulting Firm Strategic Energy Group (SEG) to learn how to monitor energy use and manage consumption throughout their schools. By 2019, SEG introduced the Boise School District to the 50001 Ready energy management methodology. The 50001 Ready program is a self-paced, no-cost way for organizations to create a structured energy management plan. The framework also helps build a culture of energy efficiency and conservation for continued improvement.  

How much cost savings can schools achieve through energy management?

In April 2019, Boise High School became the first school in the district to achieve 50001 Ready recognition from the Department of Energy (DOE). By 2021, seven more schools in the district were awarded this distinction. As a result of their efforts, the Boise School District reduced their annual energy usage by 11.73%. By the end of 2023, the district saved more than 9 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy, translating to $560,000 in savings.  

What key factors contribute to successful school energy management solutions?

  • A Dedicated Energy Management Team: A Sustainability Committee ensures that each school in the district continually monitors and adjusts energy consumption. Their committee also includes student-led Green Teams that propose sustainability projects and encourage student participation.  
  • Data-Based Monitoring Software: The district implemented data-based monitoring software, providing visualizations of their energy consumption and areas where they can improve. Real-time analytics help schools understand their energy needs and make daily adjustments that reduce costs. 
  • Energy Efficiency Upgrades: The final key driver of their success was upgrading outdated and inefficient HVAC systems. Upgrading to modern HVAC systems with remote access features enables the district to turn heating or cooling off during breaks, summer vacation, and nonoperational hours.  

Loews Hotels & Co: Improving 11 Hotels with Energy Management Strategies

Loews Hotels & Co. encompasses 26 hotels and resorts across the United States and Canada. Hospitality is notoriously energy demanding due to fluctuating occupancy rates, seasonal business peaks, and special events. Knowing this, Loews Hotels strives to be an industry leader in environmental sustainability by establishing their Green Program. Their green program not only encompasses onsite energy conservation and efficiency but also promotes local sustainable sourcing. Additionally, they joined Energy Star’s Better Buildings Challenge – committing to improving energy efficiency by more than 20% over the course of 10 years.  

Source: Loews Hotels 

In 2021, Loews began enhancing their energy management strategies for 11 hotel locations. While they already had a corporate energy management team, they implemented hotel-based Green Teams at each location. Each team is responsible for conducting energy performance self-assessments. They monitor and analyze energy usage, waste management, water consumption, and recycling efforts. Each location created a unique building energy management system for their location. They also conduct monthly energy conservation training to keep employees and new hires updated on efficiency practices.  

How do energy management solutions improve hotel efficiency?

As a result of their conservation efforts, all 11 Loews hotels that implemented a smart energy management system have improved their energy performance. Their overarching goal was to improve energy performance by 20%, improving all locations’ performance by 24%. Due to this success, they’re implementing similar plans across their remaining 15 hotel locations. They’ve also expanded their eco-friendly efforts into sourcing a more sustainable supply chain for their food and paper products. 

What key factors contribute to successful hospitality energy management solutions?

  • Corporate Backing: C-Suite support in conservation efforts is essential to successful energy management strategies.  Sustainability efforts at the top of the company cultivate an energy-conscious company culture, amplifying the mission to reduce consumption and costs. Corporate backing also ensures an organized deployment of energy management software and resources. 
  • Grassroots Support: While C-Suite support is important, having dedicated support at each hotel location was vital. Creating hotel-level Green Teams ensures that the employees implementing conservation practices understand their impact. Grassroots support allows each hotel to adjust practices to their specific hotel’s unique needs, occupancy levels, and climate. 
  • Proactive Data Tracking: Continually monitoring energy consumption helps hotel management understand energy consumption patterns. Intuitive energy management software also alerts users if there are any inefficiencies or equipment malfunctions so they can be addressed promptly. 

Fort Bragg: Cultivating Energy Security with EMS & Renewables

U.S. Army Garrison Fort Bragg is the largest military base not only in the country, but worldwide. Based in North Carolina, the base hosts over 50,000 active-duty personnel and supports a total population of 270,000 including military families, retirees, and contractors. It encompasses 54 million square feet of facilities, housing, and other community structures. Due to the essential military services and operations Fort Bragg provides, leadership wanted to find a way to create a more reliable and sustainable energy system. 

In 2021, Fort Bragg embarked on their energy management mission, installing a 1.1 Megawatt (MW) floating solar array and battery storage system at Camp Mackall. Their solar power system not only provides power and back-up options, but it improves power reliability at Camp Mackall, which is prone to outages. Fort Bragg also chose to utilize the ISO 50001 energy management framework to help identify areas for improvement and create action plans for implementing changes. 

What results can military bases achieve from an EMS with renewable energy integration?

Their energy conservation and sustainability efforts drastically improved Fort Bragg’s energy performance. Their 1.1 MW floating solar array and battery system meets half of the base’s energy needs, reducing costs by $2 million while improving energy security. The ISO 50001 framework helped Fort Bragg identify efficiency improvement opportunities for 4 million square feet of inefficient lighting and 11 million square feet of water fixtures. Fort Bragg recently added 114,000 square feet of new facilities. Despite an increased footprint, they managed to continue reducing energy expenses by 0.34%. 

What key factors contribute to military energy management success?

  • Implementing Renewable Energy: Solar panels and other renewable technologies provide on-site electricity generation, reducing operational costs significantly. On-site renewables and energy storage also provide greater energy security and a more reliable power system in the face of outages, inclement weather, or cyberattack. 
  • Using a Structured EMS Plan: The ISO 50001 framework enables all facilities across Fort Bragg to operate under a structured and cohesive energy conservation approach. The ISO 50001 methodology enables all entities within Fort Bragg to take the same approach to identifying opportunity areas, setting goals, and implementing upgrades. 
  • Inter-Divisional Collaboration: With multiple facilities, organizations, and households operating within Fort Bragg, collaboration is key to a successful energy management strategy. Fort Bragg prioritizes inter-divisional collaboration through base-wide monthly meetings, ensuring all departments are aligned on efficiency initiatives. 

How Can My Business Benefit From an Energy Management System?

Businesses of any size can benefit from monitoring and managing their energy usage. EMS solutions are a data-driven method for providing actionable insights on how to lower energy costs and improve efficiency. Whether you’re a major corporation, a manufacturer, or a small start-up, you can find low-to-no cost ways to improve your energy performance with an EMS solution. 

What technologies can be incorporated into an EMS?

Energy management systems and strategies are tailored to your specific industry and business operations. A comprehensive EMS suits your individual energy demands and sustainability goals. They include a unique combination of the following technologies: 

  • Energy Management Software 
  • Smart Outlets, Plugs, and Power Strips 
  • Building Automation Systems 
  • Smart Electricity Meters 
  • Renewable Energy Integration 
  • Energy Storage Systems 
  • Demand Response Systems 
  • Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Stations 
  • Carbon Capture and Storage

Proactive Energy Management Cultivates Sustainability, Longevity, & Cost Savings! 

Energy management systems offer a customized and cost-effective method to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and achieve sustainability goals. The success stories of Flambeau River Paper, Boise School District, Loews Hotels & Co, and Fort Bragg demonstrate the diverse applications and significant benefits of EMS implementations. By leveraging employee feedback, data-driven insights, and advanced technologies, businesses across various sectors can cultivate long-term energy savings and operational improvements. Whether you’re a large industrial facility or a small educational institution, adopting an EMS can pave the way for a more sustainable and efficient future.