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Part 1 - Assemble Your Team

The team is everybody in your company. However, you need a few key coordinators to spearhead your EAP on industrial energy efficiency.

Bring all employees on board

When making specific energy-related changes to equipment, processes or workspaces, keeping on top of communications and fostering a spirit of involvement are critical. It is important to let all employees know about the nature of the changes and the reasons behind them. To gain their support, they need to know how they, and their workplace, will be affected.

If your employees see the results of their efforts and can relate their actions to benefits in their work environment, they will be more committed participants and will be more likely to transfer some of this new-found knowledge to their homes, which will result in additional benefits.

Your key coordinators are crucial to this process. By encouraging broad-based involvement, they can help extend knowledge and awareness throughout your facility, making energy efficiency a true team effort.

Employee energy conservation program at Molson Coors Canada

Launched during Molson Coors’ Energy Week, in April 2008, Molson’s Energy Conservation Program aims to raise energy efficiency awareness among the 1600 employees at Molson’s five breweries in Canada.

Each brewery keeps a scoreboard in a highly visible location and reports the facility’s energy performance in relation to the company’s goal of reducing energy consumption by 5 percent annually. SNAGTAG, literally a large tag with space for comments, allows employees to identify energy waste in equipment and processes and to bring it to the attention of supervisors.

All breweries have also pledged to partner with local environmental projects by either providing volunteer manpower or financial assistance.

The Energy Conservation Program is viewed by management as an innovative way to drive employee awareness and company results at the same time.

Source: Heads Up CIPEC, May 1, 2008 Vol. XII, No. 9.

Choose your leader

You need an effective leader to be in charge of developing your employee awareness campaign. It is important that this person – either you or a special project officer – has the authority to implement the program and understands how participation will affect your employees.

Select your team members

Form an employee awareness team. Try to bring as wide a mix of skills as possible to the table. You will want to include people from sales and marketing, technical support, financial services and the operating side of the business.

For example, involve

  • someone from the public relations and/or marketing department, for communications support
  • a special events coordinator to plan activities and organize events
  • representatives from the company’s quality assurance, environmental or other committees, to provide practical support
  • a plant engineer to provide information about your company’s existing energy consumption and potential for improvement
  • a financial advisor to deal with budgeting
  • a coordinator to delegate tasks to volunteers

Everyone at Cenovus Energy plays a part in energy conservation

In early 2007, Calgary-based Cenovus Energy began their Energy Efficiency Initiative, targeting measurable reductions in energy usage and greenhouse gases in their internal operations. The company’s philosophy is simple: every individual can play a part in energy conservation.

The energy efficiency initiative encouraged employees to come up with energy efficiency improvements within the company. About 35 employee ideas have been funded and implemented. The projects fall into two broad categories: reducing the venting of natural gas and improving the fuel efficiency of equipment or, alternatively, switching to cleaner fuels. Specific projects include high-technology gas leak detection equipment, the installation of vapour recovery systems and using advanced engine controls to increase the efficiency of field-operated engines.

As part of the Energy Efficiency Initiative, Cenovus Energy also stresses employee and community energy efficiency awareness through various projects. Within Cenovus Energy’s own field operations, Project Camplight aimed to replace up to 2000 100-watt bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs by the end of 2008. And out in the 20 communities where Cenovus Energy has a presence, Project Porchlight saw great success, with local volunteers delivering 500 000 compact fluorescent light bulbs to households.

Source: Heads Up CIPEC, September 15, 2008 Vol. XII, No. 14.

Encourage employee buy-in! The success of your plan depends on employee support and participation, so include volunteers from all sections of your facility. Have the volunteer coordinator assign specific tasks to the volunteers, so they know their roles and responsibilities from the beginning.

Choose your champion

Ask your chief executive officer, president or someone in senior management to “champion” your program to give a high profile to your company’s commitment to reduce energy use. Your champion should be enthusiastic and willing to spearhead the efforts to ensure that energy efficiency becomes part of your corporate culture. This person should be open to new ideas and feedback, yet have realistic expectations about what can be achieved. Your champion should also be well respected by colleagues and have access to key decision-makers.

Clearwater Seafood’s sustainability challenge engages employees in energy efficiency

Clearwater Seafood Limited Partnership’s Sustainability Challenge is firing up its employees’ competitive and entrepreneurial spirit for environmental gains.

Launched in March 2008, the Sustainability Challenge recognizes individual divisions’ efforts in waste management and in energy and water conservation. Each quarter, the program evaluates the energy efficiency achievements reported by its seafood processing facilities, fleet operations and sales offices within Canada and internationally. The winning division receives a $1,000 prize, and the initiatives and their originators are featured on the company’s intranet.

Each submission reports on completed or ongoing projects, as well as new ideas for innovation in a plant or office. Winning entries have already produced significant energy savings. Employees have developed new procedures for running equipment at one of Clearwater’s Nova Scotia plants after extensive monitoring identified opportunities to save energy. Clearwater’s Nova Scotia lobster handling facilities now operate staggered pump motors at full capacity instead of using multiple motors at partial power. And a system-wide review of transportation at the Grand Bank Seafood Division resulted in streamlining delivery from the centralized distribution centre in St. John’s to Argentia, where seafood is offloaded from fishing vessels, and to Grand Bank, where products are processed for market.

According to management, the Sustainability Challenge has been a resounding success. Not only is it an engaging, productive experience for participants, but it is also an educational tool that allows for the sharing of good ideas and information that help to build a culture of sustainability at every level of the company.

Source: Heads Up CIPEC, November 1, 2008 Vol. XII, No. 17.

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