At the tail end of October 2013, I hit the ground running as NEEP’s new Public Relations Manager. I quickly learned about NEEP staffers, their roles, and how they all connected together to make our projects move forward. I studied NEEP whitepapers, workshops, and business plans. I looked up acronym after acronym. I met (via email, phone, and in person) scores of NEEP partners and sponsors.
And, just seven short months later, I can take a deep breath to reflect on that whirlwind of complexities in a new industry and intricacies in NEEP’s work. What floats to the top is the most important thing I’ve learned so far: Energy efficiency (which was, when I started at NEEP, just a fleeting thought in my very non-EE world) is a cornerstone of sustainable energy policy. It is imperative in achieving a cleaner environment and a more reliable and affordable energy system. And, businesses play a critical role in creating that sustainable future.
My first duty was managing NEEP’s Business Leaders Recognition Program, a unique opportunity for NEEP sponsors to nominate business customers who demonstrate outstanding acts of leadership and best practices of energy efficiency. For me, though, the program meant more. It was an “aha moment”. It put the pieces together. It let me see energy efficiency in action, and it underscored the importance of the work we do at NEEP.
We crowned 14 businesses as the 2014 Northeast Business Leaders of Energy Efficiency and gave them a well-deserved moment in the sun at our Summit luncheon. It was the culmination of a long process that included road trips to each of the seven State Champions. Over the course of that time, I traveled 2,264 miles to interview 35 people for video highlights that ran just about 44 minutes. We highlighted their success and drew attention to the value of sponsor’s ratepayer-funded energy efficiency programs to help businesses succeed with energy efficiency.
The most important numbers, though, are the savings that these businesses achieved through their work in energy efficiency. These 14 businesses, through their collective commitment to energy efficiency as a strategic business building block, saved 26,967,508 kWh, 1,314,929 therms, and $5,645,181. What does that mean to us? The electricity and gas savings is enough to power 3,487 homes for an entire year!
These businesses are examples of how scaling up energy efficiency is a sound business decision on many levels. Investment in energy efficiency is the single most cost-effective way to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that we continue to pump into the atmosphere. Energy efficiency not only mitigates climate change, but it also lowers energy bills, and those savings can be reinvested to grow jobs and profit and competitive edge.
No matter the size, shape, industry, or strategic plan of a business, energy efficiency is the least cost power supply provides long-lasting far-reaching results. As these businesses show, it should be a first order of business for making a difference today.