Why not embrace an energy consciousness program to kickstart our net zero program? This article tries to open the minds of businesses to really embrace this concept. This article has been inspired by my recent interviews with Energy Conscious Practitioners within the UK, from the UK initiative of The Energy Conscious Organisation (EnCO).

The problem is clear, and that is that many experts around the world know this solution works, but organisations don’t really want to take the initial steps needed to make the difference. I mentioned in my interview with James Brittain,  that I was approached by a procurement expert who under instructions from her boss was requested to deploy solar onto their roof in order to go off grid. Experts know that it will mean by the time they finish the net zero program, the solar will be oversized and ready to export back into the grid (at a very poor rate). Sadly, suppliers won’t take energy back onto the grid specifically from solar, as there is no reliability in this supply.  My simple answer to the procurement expert was to take a step back and understand that the net zero approach needs a step-by-step process. I always say that energy management is a journey.


Before we get too involved with my thoughts about energy consciousness, I want to explain to you what EnCO is. It is an organisation that has been created by UK experts to drive down energy throughout the UK and the rest of the world bringing together experts from around the world. This all came together during an ESTA meeting when Jes Rutter was presenting to his peers, and whilst delivering energy management services to his clients he saw significant savings were being delivered, simply by implementing change and empowering people. He wasn’t sure of the response he would receive from his peers, but soon heard from John Mulholland and James Brittain saying that they had witnessed this as well.


I personally wasn’t part of this meeting, but whilst working for a large leisure group, I had to follow the same approach of making savings through people as the board had announced that they did not wish to follow a spend to save initiative. I was amazed that for 3 years running, we maintained a 7% saving on all utilities year on year. This was done gradually, therefore if we had had a focused approach with a group ‘buy in’, we would have seen a 25% saving secured very quickly. These savings did not include the significant savings that were made with the strategy for purchasing the energy more efficiently.


The main issues surrounding this whole concept is educating and engaging the right people within the organisation, in addition to building a small team in order to implement this.  Another potential problem and one that is my favourite,  is the issue of ‘Data’.  We cannot manage what we do not measure and even more so, can we manage what we do not document?


During my interview with Wendy Cheeseman she said, “when the carbon reduction commitment came out, and you had the incentives to put in AMRs (Automatic Meter Reading) on the metering, there was a massive AMR rollout across the public sector. This was such a game changer, as in the local authority I worked for, every single school had an AMR logger on gas meters, and they could now see what was happening in the school at 3am in the morning on a Tuesday or the kind of shut down procedures being actioned at 6pm on a Friday afternoon. They then saw data regarding their own school, showing their own behaviours, and that’s where we made such savings.”


The Net Zero deadline is looming in 2050, and if organisations do not start to look at this today they will not achieve this target date. Currently, no one knows whether there will be penalties for this but I’m sure the nearer we get to this date the more focus on the ‘carrot and stick’ will come into action. Countries around the world have been implementing tax breaks which I think actually work. No one likes to pay taxes. James Brittain said within our interview “if we introduce the stick and penalties we would see organisations pushing back, it needs to be positive, not negative for me, if it’s negative, because there is teeth with this, you will probably get people begrudgingly doing it. So actions become frosty actions, sustainability is quite overwhelming, particularly for all small organisations”. I will agree with this and I have experienced this with legislation where organisations just want to tick a box for compliance.


The EnCO program provides us with a clear solution to take organisations from point one of their journey to the next. John Mulholland explained in my interview that, “ If you are just embarking on a net zero project,  you might have to do it by 2030, or 2040, or whenever, but what is the very first thing you’re going to do? Well, the logical thing to do is to reduce consumption. And the fastest, and the cheapest way of doing that is to address your people.”

The EnCO solution is a clear and concise measure to delivering clear energy management ‘Best Practices’ within organisations and we need to embrace these solutions promptly, if we don’t the consequences  long term could be disastrous. When organisatons follow these processes, they really can make a difference and if organisation’s of all sizes can embrace this, real impact can be made. We have been hoping the Government legislation regarding the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) enhances this process in the UK. I’m sure this solution is deployable across the world as we have already seen experts attend this course already.

The solution is clear and like all engineering solutions there is a process in place to implement such a solution:

  • Engagement
  • Alertness
  • Skills
  • Recognition
  • Adaption

This is a process that will support organisations in understanding where the gaps are to deliver this solution.

If we implement this program today, the payoff is extreme. We will start to deliver our Net Zero targets easily as 50% of these targets are addressed by reducing demand so we will see our global emissions reduce in line with our journey and organisations will see financial benefits.

Call to Action – if you are an energy expert or an organisation and want to learn more, Jes Rutter summarised how you can do this during my interview “Inquire about EnCO, find out about it, there are jobs to be had from this for people. It is really interesting, you need some technical knowledge, but it’s not just about technical knowledge, but you do need enough knowledge to be able to enthuse. If you are looking for a role in the energy field, or whether you are already in the energy field, behavioural change is the bit that you don’t know enough about. So when you’re talking to your customers, or if you’re in a company and there’s more that you need to understand then please approach EnCO as there are resources and it is all free.”