Watch this great video about a recent trip our leadership team took to Xylem Design in Fort Collins, CO for a Global Lean Leadersship Summit. Learn how Xylem eliminates waste and romoves that which they struggle with in they daily activities. Let us know what you think about these Lean efforts.

As our clients navigate HVAC system design for high bay facilities such as distribution centers or industrial manufacturing plants, they are often asked to recommend a design that accomplishes 3 key deliverables. 1.) Meet variable ventilation requirements 2.) Meet heating requirements / (Consider air load and conductive load and comfort requirements) 3.) Evaluate redundancy to eliminate production and/or service interruptions Warehouse As a manufacturer of high efficiency heating technologies (S-Series, SA-Series, Infrared) and ventilating technologies (M-Series, M-Series w/Cooling) we first seek understanding regarding how the building will be operated in order to recommend a heating platform, a ventilation platform, or both. While the core technologies are both 100% outside air, direct fired gas heaters, there are differences in system performance that will impact EE (energy efficiency), thermal comfort, and system installation cost. When there is a high level of CFM being exhausted due to processes inside a manufacturing facility, making up that building air loss with mechanical ventilation or inbound CFM is critical to balancing the air load of the building. Direct Fired Make-Up air systems with variable air flow capabilities utilizing a Variable Frequency Drive help to ensure better indoor air quality, better thermal comfort, and in some cases reduce safety incidents caused by negative environments and back drafts with non-powered combustion devices. When high CFM needs are identified (VENTILATION DRIVEN APPLICATION) due to process exhaust in either a manufacturing facility or distribution facility, engineers will first seek to design a VENTILATION (M-Series) system to bring the building to a neutral or balanced position with proper relief. According to the International Mechanical Code and the International Fuel Gas Code Section 611.7 Relief opening - The design of the installation shall include provisions to permit non-recirculating direct-fired industrial air heaters to operate at rated capacity without over-pressurizing the space served by the heaters by taking into account the structure’s designed infiltration rate, providing properly designed relief openings or an interlocked power exhaust system, or a combination of these methods. Depending on the application, achieving a neutral or even slightly positive pressure can be advantageous to keep natural infiltration in check and to avoid severe over pressurization, or adding to the required air load in the building. ANSI/ASHRAE Standards 62.1 is the recognized standard for minimum ventilation rates to meet acceptable Indoor Air Quality. As the complexity of a building’s air load increases with variable exhaust due to intermittent processes, variable ventilation solutions are required to maintain fresh air and neutral to slightly positive pressure in the building. Now that the ventilation is addressed in this high CFM building scenario, the designer then seeks to understand the heat load of the building and evaluate if the ventilation solution carries enough BTUS to cover heat requirements on design days. The warehouse or manufacturing facility in this case is built to FIRST satisfy the ventilation requirement and then “stack” any supplemental heating technologies to cover the heat load (air load + conductive load = total heat load.) In order to maximize efficiency, the designer can utilize a low CFM, high BTU heating technology to build the comprehensive system if the ventilation technology does not deliver the needed BTUs on design days for that particular city or location. In this scenario, designers would utilize the M-Series ventilating and heating technology and consider supplementing with S-Series (low CFM, high BTU) heaters if necessary to deliver efficiently, any remaining BTUS required. When there is not a significant process call for CFM or ventilation beyond basic ASHRAE 62.1 requirements for indoor air quality, High Temperature Heating and Ventilating (HTHV) technologies like the Cambridge S-Series offer the most effective solution. These offer the highest btu/cfm outputs of any make up air technology in the industry. In a HEATING DRIVEN APPLICATION, the designers seek to understand the heat load for the building and design a system that accounts for infiltration and brings the building to neutral, but does not over pressurize the building again addressing proper relief per the IFGC. This leads me to my last deliverable. Reliability and redundancy of ventilation and heating systems in an industrial manufacturing plant is central to productivity, output and plant productivity measurements. Failure of systems or lack of redundancy of system design is not an option. Deploying systems that are designed to exacting specification, that are built to last, that are reliable and that are easy to service are minimum expectations in the plant production arena. Designers choose quality manufacturers and consider redundancy in their designs to meet the unique demands of these applications. When designing a ventilation and heating system or a heating and ventilation system for your high-bay building, explore the advantages that two different equipment platforms may provide you in the areas of thermal comfort and operating costs (or EE.) Cambridge Engineering, Inc. manufactures both MAU (Make Up Air/Ventilating) and HTHV (High Temperature Heating & Ventilating) types of equipment. While we are most known in the industry for our HTHV heating & ventilation technologies, we have been delivering outstanding product, design service and post installation support within the MAU space for over 15 years. Let us know how we can support you with your system design. Is it a ventilation or heating requirements based system design? Please share your thoughts on your design approach or system considerations as you navigate the nuances of heating and/or ventilating high bay buildings.

Have you ever found yourself in this situation? You go to a meeting ready to engage in a discussion and you wind up listening to a presentation that includes a massive data dump. I’ve heard it called “death by PowerPoint.” Entering into a customer meeting with your presentation deck provides the presenter with a comforting safety net but often times misses the mark in allowing one to build real momentum in understanding the customer’s core challenges and their primary need for the solutions that you and your firm can provide. In an effort to provide the attendees with as much information as possible, we often times miss the opportunity to truly engage with our customers on the topics that are most important to them. selling photo Presentations are great when you are engaged in an educational session and your audience is seeking educational content especially as it relates to new concepts, new product categories and ongoing educational agendas with your listeners. Educational sessions lend themselves well in these types of situations. Presentations are dramatically different than selling situations. Selling situations require an entirely different approach by sales professionals. Our customers are served better when we “Lose the PowerPoint.” Drop the presentation. Don’t even bring it with you. Instead, enter the meeting with a note pad and a pen with a desire to help your customer identify their challenges and a determination to understand whether or not you are able to assist them. Enter your customer meetings with an honest desire to capture your customer’s input. Enter the meeting, prepared to ask the right questions necessary to gain understanding of your customer’s struggles. Where there is struggle or complexity, there may be a need for you and your company’s solutions. ESTABLISH RAPPORT QUICKLY Getting a meeting started with positive energy requires your confidence and comfort level. Honestly believing deeply that what you have to offer can help your customer achieve a better life for themselves and their organization provides you with a calm, clear head. You are not seeking to sell anything. You are seeking information. Your success in the meeting is based upon your desire to help. You are here in this meeting today to determine if you can assist the customer. You are in the meeting to diagnose complexity, complication and struggle. Where there is a struggle, there is an opportunity. UPFRONT CONTRACT – ASK UPFRONT FOR A DECISION AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE MEETING At the conclusion of the meeting, I’d like for our customers to decide if we should continue working together on potential solutions, be they products, services or both. The key to the upfront contract is that it is okay for the customer to say no. No is an acceptable answer. It prevents the unnecessary customer chase we can often find ourselves in with customers that are not ready to engage you and your company. The customer is in control. 30 SECONDS of AUTHORITY - We help mechanical contractors improve their operating margins on space heating and ventilation applications in warehouse & industrial manufacturing facilities. With over 35,000 installations and over 2 billion square feet served, CEI has a wealth of application specific installations to assist mechanical contractors in delivering solutions for their customer. For 53 years, we have supported our mechanical contractor partners with heat and air load analysis basis building conditions and have recommend inherently safe, highly, energy-efficient and lowest total installed cost equipment for their building’s HVAC designs to help contractors win projects. ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS 1.) Understand the Past - What have they tried in the past? How has it worked for them? What do they like about it? What do they not like about it? What, if any, challenges have they had with their past approach? Based on their experiences what could be improved upon? 2.) Understand Their Present Situation - What are they doing now? Are they currently reviewing other solutions? What are you looking at and why? Are they open to additional alternative solutions? What additional challenges or obstacles are there now that we need awareness of? 3.) Envision the Future & A Successful Outcome - What would the customer like to change/fix? What does success look like for the customer? What is the financial impact of a successful outcome? Can the customer quantify the value of the solution? Who benefits from a successful outcome? The best sales people ask the right questions. They resist the urge to sell products and services prior to learning about the customer’s specific challenges. The above list is by no means the best questions to ask in every situation. Each person must work on these with their own teams for alignment. Rather than going in armed for bear with information decks, formal presentations and the latest marketing brochure, consider going in completely bare with your own desire to help. Lose the presentation and build confidence through a probing conversation. Try not to prescribe the medicine until you’ve done the thorough diagnosis of the conditions, the challenges, the problems that customer is facing. I would welcome your feedback and your list of key questions that you feel promote great conversations with your customer base. We can all benefit from improving our own line of questioning to unpack the value that the customer is seeking. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the topic with our subscribers.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency the average American spends 93% of their life indoors…. 87% is spent indoors at their work and home and the other 6% is spent in their automobiles. With that much time spent inside we should all be more concerned with Indoor Air Quality. Recently Cambridge Engineering’s Doug Eisenhart published a post about IAQ that focused on the effects of temperature and productivity of a workforce because ambient air temperature is an IAQ factor. Doug was spot on with his comments about productivity and its correlation to temperature. Along with temperature the quality of the air from indoor pollutants is also an important IAQ factor that needs our attention. Pollutants such as volatile organic compounds (VOC), particulates and carbon dioxide, to name a few, can not only affect short term productivity but can also have long lasting negative health consequences to those working in that environment. One way to alleviate these types of IAQ problems is to have the building properly ventilated through the use of mechanical ventilation of filtered outside air. By using High Temperature Heating and Ventilation (HTHV) products that use 100% outside you have the ability to not only heat the space but also ventilate the space in an effort to help reduce the types of indoor air pollutants that can sometimes cause serious health problems. HTHV products, when combined with appropriate air filters offer a very energy efficient way to heat and ventilate a structure during the winter months when bringing in outside air is the most problematic. There is plenty of information available that can provide guidance on indoor air quality and ventilation. Here are two that I have found useful: 1. OSHA publication titled - Indoor Air Quality in Commercial and Institutional Buildings can be located on OSHA’s website at https://www.osha.gov/Publications/3430indoor-air-quality-sm.pdf 2. ASHRAE publication titled - Indoor Air Quality Guide: Best Practices for Design, Construction and Commissioning is a free publication located on the ASHRAE website at https://www.ashrae.org/resources--publications/bookstore/indoor-air-quality-guide. The guide is designed for architects, design engineers, contractors, commissioning agents, and all other professionals concerned with indoor air quality. ASHRAE also has available for purchase their ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2016 Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality. Standard 62.1 specifies minimum ventilation rates for new and existing buildings that are intended to provide indoor air quality that is acceptable to human occupants and that minimizes adverse health effects. This publication is located on the ASHRAE website at https://www.ashrae.org/resources--publications/bookstore/standards-62-1--62-2. Let us know what you think about the IAQ subject and look for more post on Indoor Air Quality in the future.

For the last 3 years my team has been traveling North America visiting with Cambridge Engineering’s, Sales Representatives to spread the word about options available to Building Owners, Building Operators, Design Engineers, Contractors and Utilities when recommending and selecting heating and ventilation solutions for their building or retrofit projects. 419818 We have been attempting to call out 3 core concepts for the key influencers when considering improvements to their buildings. 1.) Safety - Use of 100% outside air, direct fired HTHV and MAU technology is inherently safe. Ventilation and Heat are provided by the same blower that cannot be separated. These technologies can improve indoor air quality. Ventilation is the key to safety, preventing the buildup of products of combustion. 2.) Energy Efficiency - HTHV technologies provide the highest btus/cfm ratio thus creating more net useable btus or heat to satisfy the air load and the conductive load in high bay warehouses, distribution centers and manufacturing facilities. 3.) Lowest Total Installed Cost - HTHV technologies deliver 3 system in 1 piece of equipment. HTHV technologies deliver A.) Heat, B.) Fresh air ventilation and C.) Even temperatures throughout the building. This 3-in-1 system reduces total equipment cost and the installation costs associated with connections necessary to install multiple pieces of equipment. Engineers may call this a cleaner design. During our recent Contractor Advisory Board, an influential Design Build Contractor, Paulson-Cheek (Atlanta, Georgia), called us out on our failure to identify THERMAL COMFORT as a primary value in his selection and use of HTHV equipment in his high bay building designs. I’d like to share a brief video from Marshall Cheek regarding his comments on this subject: 

 Marshall’s callout on Thermal Comfort was very insightful. We often undervalue the importance of building occupant comfort in a cost competitive new construction or retrofit building environment. Understanding the importance of creating a safe and comfortable working environment for people engaged in the real physical activity such as: warehousing, distribution center and manufacturing facilities, compels us to add this 4th leg to the table.   safety Are people more productive when their workplace is comfortable? One ergonomics expert, Chris Adams, who in addition to being a Human Factors Engineer & Industrial Designer, has been providing human factors engineering to NASA, states that: temperature has a major impact on productivity. According to one of Chris’s articles, 71.5 F is the optimal temperature for 100% productivity. His report details the following information: As temperature increases at: • 77 degrees fahrenheit we're about 98% productive • 82 degrees fahrenheit  = 95% • 87 degrees fahrenheit = 90% • 92 degrees fahrenheit = 85% As temperature decreases at • 66 degrees fahrenheit we're about 98% productive • 63 degrees fahrenheit = 95% • 59 degrees fahrenheit = 90% Soliciting solid Building Owners and Building Operators’ input during the design phase of one’s building project makes sense, according to this report. Adding personnel comfort level to our discussions and being able to articulate the impact that consistent temperatures may have on people’s productivity is beneficial. Inherent Equipment Safety, Energy Efficiency, Lowest Total Installation Cost and People Comfort are all important topics of discussion when discovering what is most important to owners and operators. People Comfort is high on my list of questions. What does a 5% gain in productivity mean to an organization in real dollars? Answer this question and compare it to an investment decision and it makes for better decision making in an equipment selection. Thanks for sticking with me to the end here. How important have you found thermal comfort to be in your conversations regarding HVAC design? Does the same hold true for people working in the warehouse? Should it? 71.5d egrees fahrenheit sounds good right now as it’s 100 degrees fahrenheit in St. Louis as I write this blog post.

Truly understanding your customer’s needs and the value they place on your products and services is paramount to success in business. Defining and refining your value to the customer takes total organizational alignment. Alignment around the importance of the information and collaboration around collecting it, communicating it, and acting on it are vital. [caption id="attachment_199" align="alignnone" width="300"]value concept handwritten on blackboard value concept handwritten on blackboard[/caption] Customer Advisory Boards are a great way to engage the leadership in your own organization. They allow you to capture candid feedback on measuring existing corporate value statements against your messaging across the company. Are your value statements landing? Do they resonate with the people receiving them? What would your customers say is most important to them? Customer Advisory Boards provide three major benefits to an organization. 1. Deepening Relationships with Customers 2. Understanding Your Customer’s Value Language 3. Identifying Your Product/Service Gaps Deepening Relationships: People do business with people they like. Putting people together with one purpose, “How can we help one another achieve more together?” or better yet, “How can I help you over achieve for your organization? My win is wrapped up in yours.” Putting your customers together with your business leaders across the enterprise can create awesome bonding and momentum. Understanding Your Customer’s Value Language: We all want to be spoken to in our own value language. I can be just as guilty as the next of projecting what I think is important to customers rather than speaking in their terms. “Energy efficiency is important to building owners and facilities managers,” I state. The customer stated, “Energy efficiency is really important to owners, but I also want to cut 2% out of the total costs of the project. That is more important right now. Can you help me do that?” How valuable is your proposed solution in the language of the customer? Go well beyond economic value to draw out all things valuable and then have your Customer Advisory Board rank them. Then, and this is key, change your language based on their responses and challenge the list continuously through an ongoing Advisory Board engagement process. Identifying Your Product/Service Gaps: Through intentional questioning, you can uncover items requiring your organizations attention. What is the number one problem you are facing with the use of our product? Share with us any challenges you’ve had with our products? What else have you experienced? How many times has that occurred? How would you suggest we improve what we’re doing? What are others doing in this space that you feel is innovative? A great way to clear the session of any fear of sharing “bad news” is to coordinate a pre-Advisory Board survey that probes into improvement areas. Also, don’t defend or justify any mistakes or gaps. Just reply, “Thank you for sharing that.” Your customers will share openly if their input is appreciated and not explained away. Build an Advisory Board and you’ll build a deeper relationship with your customers, knowing how to speak their language and fine tune your products/services for success. Have you created or participated on an Advisory Board? I’d love to hear your experience in the comments below.

Our Senior Leadership team recently returned from Japan where they were on an educational journey to bring back ideas from Japanese businesses that had been working on LEAN initiatives for many decades. Their trip included a visit to Lexus, the luxury car maker and part of the Toyota family of brands. As they were departing for their trip I asked that they solicit feedback from the Japanese companies regarding LEAN and it’s applications to sales organizations.

One might describe the Sales Cycle as the time it takes to obtain an interested prospect through a customer purchase order and finally through the ongoing post-purchase customer engagement. If you look at the Sales Cycle in 3 stages, you may find it easier to look for waste in the sales process. Waste will reveal itself in time, motion, over processing and/or wasted human potential of associates. The Sales Cycle -3 Stages: Pre-Sale Activity / Direct Selling Activity / Post Sale Engagement Pre-Sale Activity Building interest with prospects takes research, dedication, focus, creativity and a concise definition of value for one’s target audience. Marketing and Sales teams work closely to refine these target audiences and the messages that will drive desired customer response; typically outreach, raising their hand in some fashion for contact or more information. Eliminating waste from these processes can be accomplished through building a standardized approach to the various activities required to deliver in clear, simple language – Who is our target? What is our value proposition message? How will we communicate it internally & externally? How will we measure our success? Who is accountable for each pre-sale activity? What are the desired timeframes or deadlines? A clearly defined launch formula shortens the cycle. Compressing the time it takes to complete these pre-sale activities is LEAN applied to the sales cycle. Each delay, restart or off track adventure eats time and energy. What areas of your process can be leaned out? Direct Sales Engagements The Sales Team has a prospect, whether obtained through the marketing engine or through direct sales customer prospecting. Are your sales team members capable of building instant rapport and interest? Do they have the skills necessary to do so? Were they measured in the hiring process or ongoing performance evaluations against a standard in order to predict their success in their role? Have they been educated on a definitive sales approach? Is leadership spending the right amount of time, watching, listening and coaching sales team members? Show me a sales person with a rich pipeline of business and I’ll bet money that they have done the hard work of preparation, outreach, communication, post visit follow up and continuous touches necessary to close deals. Direct selling without a process, a script, a consistent message, a consistent list of questions, a consistent approach to customer engagement will result in the absence of results. LEAN thinking applied here in the sales process is as applicable to sales professionals as it is to operational, manufacturing personnel. What standard work or best practices can you point to formally in the sales process that are evident across the sales team? Post Sale Engagement Now that we’ve received a purchase order, what systems, processes or steps do you have in place to communicate with your customer? Do you have in place automated order confirmations detailing shipment dates from the factory? Confirmations of product shipments and anticipated arrivals to benefit the customer are a great way to communicate order status and shipment. Whether invoicing at time of purchase order or at shipment are those communication automated, manual, efficient, clear and understandable? Does your marketing team then continue to touch your customer with the correct frequency according to plan, to stay in front of the customer base with information that is relevant to your customer segment? Are there opportunities (waste) to streamline these, speed them up, to eliminate time and multiple touches. MRP systems and CRM systems offer solutions in automated workflows to eliminate time spent on these activities. LEAN and it’s application to the sales cycle is self-evident. Seeing waste in the process is certainly the hardest part of the journey. I am hopeful that this breakdown of the process might trigger thoughts for continuous improvement. I would love to hear about steps that you’ve taken in your own sales process to eliminate waste. Thank you for any insights you can share on your own journey that have helped you LEAN out you selling cycle.

Recently, in my first blog post, I asked the questions, “Why do financial executives so frequently find themselves following, rather than leading, during a LEAN initiative? Has your company implemented LEAN in the finance/accounting area? If not, why not?” It is my experience that the single biggest obstacle to a creating a truly LEAN culture in an organization is the character of the leaders tasked with implementation. And, among the character traits that we will discuss in these series of blog posts, I truly believe that HUMILITY is at the heart of, and foundational to, any successful effort at LEAN leadership.

If you are like me, a leader who has reached a senior level in their career path, you know that personal ego is no small thing when it comes to your leadership. Properly managed, it can be an effective force in leadership. However, more commonly, it is a destructive force. And, even worse, one that most of us, as leaders, fail to acknowledge or even recognize, LEAN is about acknowledging that our work, no matter how good we feel it is, is NEVER finished. It is a mentality of constant, never-ending improvement. Ego is our natural state. In other words, we constantly seek to reinforce what we already think we know. LEAN leadership is embracing the knowledge that we must constantly work to break out of our natural state. It is changing the assumption that I will be considered talented and intelligent if I can simply come up with unique ideas and then protect them jealously. C.S. Lewis said that, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” LEAN leaders know that their talent is to be deployed not for their own individual good, but for the good of others before themselves. LEAN thinkers know that they are in a battle against waste, and they look out for the fellow warriors on their right and on their left, no matter what position they hold in the organization. They say, “Look, I had a great idea! Now, how fast can someone else improve on it?” And, most importantly, they CELEBRATE that next improvement. This is particularly important for financial leaders, as we are the “gatekeepers” of an organization. We can, very quickly, bring things to a screeching halt. While the “gatekeeper” analogy is appropriate for much of what we do, I would rather we focus on being fellow warriors in the battle against waste. Only a HUMBLE expression of our leadership will allow us to do so.

Lately I’ve been reading a lot about, and practicing, lean principles especially since our organization has started using the principles outlined in a book called the 2-Second Lean by Paul Akers. Although this is not the start of Cambridge’s lean journey, it has been a significant simplification to the process and has made a huge impact. It talks about how to recognize and eliminate waste in an effort to provide more value for our customers. The book talks specifically about 8 deadly wastes; over production, transportation, inventory, defects, over processing, motion, waiting, and unused employee genius.

We are learning that when we eliminate waste we improve quality, productivity, and profitability. Now some might think, and they could be correct in their logic, that asking your people to be more productive could mean you are asking people to do more in the same 8 hours a day than what they did in the past. Well your right, we do want to be more productive but we want to use that productivity to help our organization grow more effectively and growth benefits all of us. And we’re learning that these sometimes simple improvements just make it easier to accomplish our day to day endeavors. Our 3 pillars…see waste / eliminate waste / make videos…gives us the chance to video all the simple, and even sometimes complex, improvements that we are empowered to make each and every day. To date our organization, mostly the manufacturing team, has created over 650 videos documenting their elimination of waste. What’s happening, and it has been amazing, is the engagement that is taken place in our organization. People are truly working together to accomplish a common goal...eliminating waste. Helping each other. Coming up with ways to make their job easier, and in most cases faster, not because they were told to do so but because they were empowered to use their knowledge about what they do on a daily basis and make it easier and better. So we no longer have to ask if we can make a change... we have the authority to make the changes. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that kind of environment, an environment where we value everyone’s input on how to be more productive. I read somewhere that people who are happy at work take that positive attitude home with them and share that positivism with their family. Think about that…we’re creating an environment where people enjoy what they do during the day and then take that positive attitude home with them at night…incredible. (I need to come up with another way to describe the 8 hours a day I spend with the Cambridge family because it is not work…work to me seems tedious, laborious, and just not fun and that’s not our environment) I would encourage all businesses large and small to think about what a lean endeavor could mean for your organization. As with us, we didn’t embark on this journey with some enhanced financial goal in mind. We started this journey in an effort to create an organization where we have empowered people, and oh by the way a whole lot happier, who enjoy spending 40 hours a week with their daytime family members. Knowing that they have the right to affect change without asking for permission. After all, who knows better about how to improve what each of us do every day than ourselves?

I was recently visiting with a large major multi-national, multi-site corporation and discussing their progress in capturing energy reduction results across their enterprise’s more than 80 distribution centers. They shared with me the significant progress that they have made across their organization in lighting initiatives to drastically reduce their operating expenses utilizing best in class distribution center lighting technologies. They likewise had made progress inside their facilities in material handling equipment, shelving layouts, work flow designs and time saving technologies to expedite the touches inside the distribution center. As our conversation turned to HVAC system improvements, there was a noticeable pause. “Office HVAC system improvements and specifically cooling energy improvements inside the office have been a major focus area for years,” they shared.

The industry in total has made progress there, working on upgrades from low efficiency, older equipment to higher efficiency systems for offices. Big commercial HVAC manufacturers have continued to improve systems. “What about HVAC improvements in the distribution center?,” I asked. “Do you have a plan to address heating and ventilation opportunities in the DC?,” I inquired. Another pause. As I have travelled the U.S. and Canada, I have been witness to this same type of pause more than 80% of the time. The good news is that there still remains a fantastic opportunity for facilities leaders to make a massive impact on energy reduction savings for their organizations in their big box distribution centers and industrial manufacturing facilities. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), located in Richland, Washington, is one among ten U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories managed by DOE's Office of Science. Their research strengthens the U.S. foundation for innovation. They develop solutions for U.S. DOE, for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the National Nuclear Security Administration, as well as other government agencies, universities and industries. In January of 2015, the following information was provided by PNNL, detailing the progress across the various functional building system sets and the energy savings accomplishments. I shared this graph during my meeting with the large multi-national and relayed to the facility and energy leader that they were not alone. Many of their peers are in the same boat. Not a lot of progress in heating systems is documented. You can see from the PNNL chart that progress in lighting, building materials, roofing, insulation has been successful across the U.S.. The heating system line, however, is stalled and warrants attention. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has embraced this challenge and has developed of forum to inspire continuing improvement in energy use reduction. “The Better Buildings Challenge supports commercial and industrial building owners by providing technical assistance and proven solutions to energy efficiency. The program also provides a forum for matching Partners and Allies to enhance collaboration and problem solving in energy efficiency. Both Partners and Allies are publically recognized for their leadership and innovation in energy efficiency.” (Source – U.S. DOE) https://www4.eere.energy.gov/challenge/about Significant improvements to heating systems as I’ve identified have been stalled for some time. There are reasons for the slow pace of change in this area. Some of them are detailed below.
  • Low baseline equipment cost
  • Misaligned incentives for building owners and tenants
  • Reactionary equipment replacement: Like for Like (using same low efficient technology)
  • Limited objective field data on best in class technology
  • Lack of central control & influence (heightened when you lease vs. own real estate)
  • Lack of standardization of systems and/or controls for meaningful measurement/progress
ACCELERATE Your Distribution Center Energy Efficient Retrofits I want to share with you here the five key habits from energy efficiency leaders in the Better Buildings Challenge. https://www4.eere.energy.gov/challenge/habits-of-leaders
  1. Know the goal (set quantifiable and ambitious goals at the highest level in the organization)
  2. Data matters (must be able to measure)
  3. Look beyond technology (combine technology advances with organizational commitments)
  4. It takes an energy champion – and a team aligned
  5. Learn, teach and evolve (seek out help from others – learn from successful projects)
Thank you for spending some time reviewing my thoughts on energy reduction acceleration plans in this final frontier of building energy efficiency. I hope that you are able to see a picture of your own success story as you digest some of the thoughts from the DOE, the PNNL and the Better Building Alliance. Let me know how we might assist you on your path towards progress. Visit our website and click on OWNER tab for more information regarding our support for building owners and managers. May God bless you with inspiration, insight and all the support you will require on your journey!