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Part 3 - Maintain the Momentum – Follow-Up and Evaluation

Track your success, and keep the momentum going!

Track your progress

You will want to find out how successful your program is, determine what is working and what is not, identify the information gaps, and see which activities achieve the best results.

Take notes during implementation, when you will have the opportunity to view first-hand which activities and communications vehicles generate the most interest. You may also want to take photographs. Notes and photographs will help you evaluate the success of your EAP and plan subsequent events and activities.

Monitor the progress of energy efficiency measures at your facility to reinforce your key environmental and financial messages, and to demonstrate to employees and management how important and effective their cooperation and efforts are. You should measure how far you have progressed in meeting the specific energy improvement goals set at the beginning of the program.

Tell others about your progress and solicit ideas

Inform everyone of the progress made in such areas as reductions in energy use and costs, and environmental impacts. Do this regularly through newsletter articles, announcements, bulletin boards or paycheque stuffers. Information can be highlighted in a box of “fast facts” or arranged into different “at-a-glance” formats, such as bar graphs or pie charts, for presentation in your communications materials. Simple, easy-to-read wall charts can also be a great way to keep your employees up to date on your company’s progress.

Produce progress reports on a regular basis for staff, senior management and/or company headquarters. These reports do not have to be long; the purpose is to keep everyone informed about how the program is progressing and demonstrate the benefits of your energy efficiency practices. They will help build support for future campaigns.

Solicit suggestions regularly from your employees, and try to get back to each one about the ideas that the company can implement – and those they cannot – and why.

Evaluate the EAP on industrial energy efficiency

By conducting regular evaluations, you will find out what is needed to keep your campaign alive – what you want to change, and how to adapt it to better meet the needs of employees and to guide future undertakings.

You may want to conduct a survey to evaluate the effectiveness of the EAP.

One option is to use “one-on-one” surveys (qualitative), where the interviewer explores employee attitudes and beliefs. Depending on the size of your company, you may choose to involve all employees or randomly select people whose opinions reflect particular groups within your company. This type of survey, while more time-consuming, offers

  • more flexibility, because respondents can supply a variety of responses to a particular question and they have more chances to provide opinions and suggestions
  • more opportunities to ask not only “what do you think?” but also “why do you think that?”

Or you may prefer to conduct a survey that deals with measurable facts and numbers (quantitative). This type of survey – usually a handout – measures attitudinal and behavioural responses to your EAP. The benefits of this type of survey are

  • it is easy to administer to all employees or a wide sample of employees
  • it is easier to interpret the results, since answers to questions are well-defined and limited (e.g., “yes” or “no,” on a scale of 1 to 5, multiple choice)

What you want to find out – and the resources you have to conduct evaluations and to analyse the results – may determine the methodology you decide to use. Remember, the most important point of conducting an evaluation is to use the information gained to improve your program and to communicate the overall results.

Your company may have personnel trained in evaluation methodology who will be able to help. If not, you may want to hire outside expertise in this field.

Three simple ideas make a difference

Simple ideas can make a big difference in energy consumption. Pierre Régis, who was responsible for compressor maintenance at the Cascades Inc. tissue paper plant in Kingsey Falls, Quebec, had an idea about reducing the amount of compressed air used by the blowers at his facility. He showed how a $20 V-shaped nozzle mounted on the airflow pipes would effectively direct the paper trims into the pulper and allow the company to reduce air usage by 95 percent. Régis’s idea now saves the company more than $25,000 a year.

Ian Murray and Yves L’Italien of Atlantic Packaging had an idea to save water at the company’s newsprint and tissue mills in Whitby, Ontario. They replaced the expensive municipal water used in two processing systems with recycled water that has been treated and sand-filtered. Since the recycled water was already 40°C, this new approach also eliminated the cost of heating the municipal water. Murray and l’Italien’s idea saves the company $2.5 million a year.

Rick Merling and his group of employees at St Marys Paper Corporation had a simple idea to reduce thermal energy costs at the steam plant in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. By placing an air lance in the centre of the waste bark used to fuel the boilers, they increased the oxygen available for combustion, which helped the bark to burn without support. This idea reduced the plant’s reliance on natural gas as a fuel source, saving the company $600,000 a year.

Source: Heads Up CIPEC, March 15, 2008 Vol. XII, No. 6.

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