Crunching the numbers is key to corporate sustainability


Sustainability Times: What can companies and businesses do to reduce energy waste?

Jeffrey Perlman, CEO of Bright Power: Many companies own real estate portfolios, but they don’t have a good sense of which buildings have the best opportunities for improvement. Building owners and operators should first find their biggest energy wasters through a portfolio-wide utility bill analysis.

Then, they should work with an energy and water management partner to create and implement a plan to eliminate that waste through operations and maintenance optimization, retrofit projects, retro-commissioning, and installation of renewables.

Last, they need to follow the success of those interventions and react quickly to performance issues, ensuring that each property achieves its financial and environmental goals.

ST: Renewables are seen as the way forward in large-scale low-carbon energy adoption strategies, yet they have their drawbacks (such as weather-influenced variability and limited current storage capacities). Realistically, what big a role do you think solar and wind can play in energy schemes in coming decades?

Jeffrey Perlman: At the building-level, solar photovoltaic (PV) is the main renewable energy technology that will scale up and it is going to be huge. Most rooftops and parking lots can host a solar panel array, and the solar industry won’t rest until they do. Solar is already the fastest-growing energy technology (as per the International Energy Agency).

With the growth of solar, we will see a rise in battery systems to store the electricity for a time when the sun isn’t shining. We will also see time-of-use energy pricing, led by California, where it is rolling out this year, to give energy consumers financial incentives to adjust when they use electricity in line with the costs of producing and delivering that electricity at different times of the day.

In addition to corporations, various cities and states in the U.S., including New York State, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Washington D.C., San Francisco, San Diego, Chicago, Denver, and Atlanta, have already committed to having a zero-carbon electricity grid in the next few decades. The technology is available today and now it’s being scaled up.

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