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Decarbonization, Energy Efficiency, Success Stories

Energy Efficiency and Climate Change: Big Results, One Carbon Reduction Footprint at a Time

February 15, 2023

This feature is part of Cascade Energy’s “Energy Efficiency & Climate Change” Series: a year-long examination of the carbon reduction and energy management journey.

Small Steps, Big Results

In the sweltering summer of 2018, Albert Johnson (name changed) Director of Plant Engineering at a large, advanced insulation product manufacturing plant, embarked on a carbon reduction journey that would transform his facility operations. He accepted the role of Energy Champion in a 3-year Strategic Energy Management cohort and threw himself wholeheartedly into a vision of “energy-efficiency centric production” that he would work diligently to make a reality.

Along the way, there were many successes, and also challenges. Albert faced supply chain pressures, a need for cultural shift, and growth adjustments that required patience, focus and tenacity. But he was convinced that if he followed the kWh, it would lead to a holistic view of plant processes that would greatly improve quality, production and efficiency – all through strategic energy management.

Albert was right.


Quick Wins

Early in the program, Albert welcomed Cascade Energy’s coaches and engineers to Rhode Island for a “Treasure Hunt” in his main facility. Together they toured the plant, examining each aspect of production through the lens of energy efficiency. With a wealth of carbon reduction opportunities identified and solutions ideated, an actionable project list came to life. Albert began putting his plan into action.

Often facilities launch their energy management programs by building enthusiasm around quick wins. Albert was able to easily share and track progress on these operations & maintenance (O&M) projects through Cascade’s energy management software, Energy Sensei. As a result, these initial projects created a meaningful spark. Next it was time to drive momentum.

Unite and Excite

Energy efficiency initiatives possess enormous potential for both bottom-line impact and non-energy benefits. A key part reaping those rewards lies in providing opportunities for various facility teams to come together and mobilize around specific decarbonization goals.

  • Identify Your Influencers

Garnering support need not rest on one set of shoulders. Every facility has people who are skilled at rallying groups around a cause. Find those influencers, give them insight into the how’s and why’s of your energy goals. Encourage them to spread the word.

  • Seek Input

Often the quickest way to obtain buy-in is simply by giving people a voice. A team is far more likely to put effort into a project that they’ve helped create. Each perspective brings valuable insight to project planning and execution.

  • Enthuse Around Pet Projects

Passion projects go a long way to spring-boarding teams into the energy-efficiency mindset. People easily onboard to strategic energy management when they’re engaged around improvements to areas they are already invested in.

  • Be Prepared to Share

Connecting the dots between decarbonization initiatives and broad organization goals goes a long way to engage executive support. Energy Sensei’s savings opportunity “snapshot” makes this easy by providing data models that map out successes and challenges, along with ROI projections on future projects and in-depth energy efficiency reports.


Following the Data

With the guidance of his Cascade coaching team, Albert learned how to use Energy Sensei to visualize how his facility was using every kWh and therm. He employed Energy Sensei’s Projects Tool to connect and mobilize his team around their carbon reduction goals. Consequently, it was easy to instill a sense of accomplishment as they tracked results and transformed the way they used energy

Example of Energy Sensei’s intuitive measuring and reporting tools

As his plant’s designated Energy Champion, Albert practiced energy accountability, sharing all progress towards sustainability and carbon reduction goals with leadership and stakeholders. Albert coupled Energy Sensei’s intuitive dashboard with his efforts to unite and excite. Consequently, his team was already taking strong steps towards long-term success when he was asked to demonstrate the value of strategic energy management.


Executive Support

When the chaos of 2020 created unique supply demand needs, Albert was already well-positioned to offer company leadership a solution rooted in energy-focused processes he’d already begun implementing. By employing Energy Sensei’s robust tools, he presented his executive team with a metrics-based plan that was long-term, visible and measurable. Moreover, Energy Sensei provided insights into where efforts would be most impactful. Albert laid out a path to leveraging facility-wide energy efficiency as a means to reduce costs and streamline production. The executive team was thrilled.


Preparing for these pivotal moments empowers energy leaders to turn challenges into incredible growth opportunities. With top-down support, a carbon reduction initiative becomes a vision of energy efficiency processes that powerfully transforms company culture and, in turn, company solvency.


The Continuous Improvement Mindset

By the time Albert’s facility celebrated their third year of Strategic Energy Management wins, the small but steady decarbonization steps they’d taken amounted to impressive savings in both operational and energy costs. A “pile” of projects were completed, decreasing kWh and therms while improving production efficiency and operations. All levels of the organization were enjoying on-going benefits of an energy efficiency-centric philosophy. As a result, their decision to continue engagement with Cascade was a no-brainer.

In this net-zero “race we all win”, big changes are possible and all it takes is the right guide and the right tools, setting companies on the path to carbon reduction, one step at a time.

Are you ready to take that first step? Reach out to us – we’re ready to guide the way!

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