Influencing Financial Decisions on Energy Efficiency:
Six Key Strategies to Build Management Support
Paper presented at the 2012 American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings (13-17 August, 2012)
Pacific Grove, California, USA.
One of the most common skill gaps amongst energy efficiency practitioners is their ability to successfully develop and promote business case proposals for energy efficiency projects. This paper describes an Australian research and capacity building project (‘The Business Case and Beyond’) that was designed to address this gap. The project involved industry workshops and interviews with leading energy efficiency practitioners. The key research question was: What do effective practitioners do to improve the likelihood that business case proposals for energy efficiency projects will be successful?
The findings were documented in over 30 company and project-level case studies. Key success factors that were identified included linking energy efficiency projects to current business priorities and communicating with decision-makers early in the business case development process to build their knowledge and support for the project. This paper describes the research project and its outcomes with reference to quotes and case studies from organizations that use a significant amount of their energy in buildings. An important conclusion was that the process for developing a business case proposal can be as important as the content of the proposal. The potential use of the project outcomes by practitioners, education and training professionals, government policy makers and program managers is discussed together with considerations for future research.