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Other Energy-Saving Options to Consider as Corporations Make the Shift Toward Renewables

As more major corporations make the shift toward deploying renewable energy to help fuel on-site operations, the surface-level benefits are both obvious and measurable. After all, it’s often easier to predict the availability of solar and wind power than that of fossil fuels such as oil and gas. As these natural resources are also easier to factor into budgets and bottom lines, it only makes sense that cost-conscious companies are more heavily considering this route.

One of the most common ways they’re making the switch is by creating new, renewable energy initiatives both on and off-site. These programs often center on sweeping physical changes, such as the installation of solar panels on the top of buildings or carports, to mark a major step in a smart and progressive direction.

In fact, Schneider Electric recently teamed up with GreenBiz to produce a new report titled “The State of Corporate Energy and Sustainability Programs 2018.” One of the most surprising findings? Out of almost 240 companies making at least $100 million per year, 85% of business leaders cited that over the course of the next three years, they planned to take action and reduce their carbon footprint.

The overarching focus, however? Renewables. In fact, 51% of those respondents plan to begin renewable energy programs in their facilities by 2021. They’re doing so to cut down on expenses, reduce their carbon dioxide emissions, and meet company-wide goals to move toward a more eco-friendly business model.

Some companies, such as Facebook and Bank of America, are making the push toward operations fueled solely by green energy. Some are entering into solar financing plans, including power purchase agreements, to achieve these outcomes at a reduced cost from developers. Other companies are opting to invest their own funds directly into these projects or own the technology outright and operate it themselves.

In one sense, these leaps are monumental. They encourage industry peers to follow suit, and can even spur homeowners toward more heavily considering options like these when it comes to powering their own household. They’re also becoming easier and more cost-effective to implement, as the technologies powering them are becoming more readily available and thus, less pricey to pursue.

Yet, though moves like panel installations are massive and influential, they don’t have to be the ultimate or even the first change that corporations make when embracing clean energy. There are other, more intricate, operational changes that, even though they may seem minor at the onset, can conserve energy and reduce carbon emissions at an equally effective level.

For example, corporations can leverage localized microgrids to take some of the stress and impact off of the nation’s energy system. By allowing companies to run their operations autonomously, microgrids strengthen the overall grid resistance and can even act as a recovery resource in the event that the traditional grid goes down for any reason.

Other energy conservation measures include the use of alternative energy storage devices or programs designed to strategically ramp up or scale down energy use to accommodate peak and low periods. By being selective about how and when operations are powered, companies can reduce their overall footprint and save money and resources along the way. In a similar vein, cloud-based sharing systems allow data to be freely exchanged without overheating and overstressing internal network systems.

Moving forward, it remains to be seen how many corporations will see the benefit of catalyzing these types of changes alongside other renewables-focused initiatives. To succeed in this sphere, smart companies will be those that recognize energy conservation affects every company touchpoint both on and off-site. Sometimes, the tiniest shifts and shakeups can make the most important difference, and that’s certainly the case with these seemingly less-significant operational adjustments. When you start small and end big, every step along the way is an important one.  

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