Integrating Energy Efficiency into Corporate Business Practices:
An Institutional Work Perspective on the Implementation of Energy Management Systems
Paper presented at the 2012 European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy Summer Study
on Energy Efficiency in Industry (11-14 September, 2012) Arnhem, The Netherlands.
Energy efficiency in industrial firms has had more of a focus than ever before. In particular, this has been driven by a growing level of interest amongst organisational stakeholders as diverse as suppliers, government, investors and customers. With more activity and focus, new roles are being created in firms and new practices are being applied in order to improve the effectiveness with which energy efficiency projects are identified, evaluated, presented for funding and implemented.
This paper identifies and examines the emerging practices of energy efficiency practitioners in Australian industrial firms as they implement energy management systems. Specifically it aims to identify and explain the key practices that energy efficiency practitioners apply with the aim of integrating energy efficiency into their organisation’s core business practices in order to improve energy efficiency performance on an ongoing basis.
The research involved an analysis of the case study presentations made by twenty energy efficiency practitioners during the September 2011 Australian Energy Efficiency Opportunities workshop series. The data has been analysed and is described in this paper within a theoretical framework that is based on the notion of institutional work. Institutional work explores the practices used to influence the cognitive, normative and regulatory dimensions of the institutions that influence the decisions made by individuals and firms on energy efficiency issues. The paper concludes by considering the implications of the research for practitioners, policy makers and researchers that have an interest in delivering organisation and economy wide improvements through energy efficiency improvement in industrial firms.