As we all know, 2020 has been one like no other -- filled with a wide range of business, health, and economic challenges. Enterprise companies, municipalities, and small and mid-sized businesses were all hit hard and needed to transform to survive and prosper.
As we’ve detailed throughout 2020, energy (specifically lighting) is a significant component of company spending and directly impacts sales results, employee and customer health, and cost-efficiency.
Three significant things will happen in 2021 that will change how we use, manage, and think about energy. Knowing what they are will enable you to map-out a 2021 action plan that helps your business prosper.
1. A New Administration Focused on Sustainability
Politics aside, one fact is clear. The new President has already voiced a commitment to the environment with a focus on clean energy.
Details will evolve, but this statement is a powerful one:
“A major focus of Biden’s commitment to increase federal procurement by $400 billion in his first term will be purchasing the key clean energy inputs like batteries and electric vehicles that will help position the U.S. as the world’s clean energy leader.”
The former EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) Chief Gina McCarthy has been named by Biden to the position of Domestic Climate Coordinator, with an ambitious goal of turning the U.S. into a carbon-neutral economy by 2050.
We can expect to see job creation in energy-focused industries, more emphasis on the efficient use of energy in all types of businesses, as well as federal incentives for sustainability efforts.
2. Growth in Consumer and Business Spending With Energy-Efficient and Sustainable Companies
As millennials and Generation Z become a larger percentage of the workforce and decision-makers (both as consumers and business leaders), they will continue to place a high value on those companies and decisions that champion the planet’s health. They will want to spend with and work for those organizations and live in those places that value the environment and use energy more efficiently.
- A whopping 90 percent of Gen Z believes that companies must lead the way in championing climate change.
- 88 percent of all consumers value companies with an environmental or social mission.
- People will pay more for products and services with an environmental mission -- at a minimum 5 percent.
As you create your energy strategy for 2021 and beyond, think about ways to make fundamental changes in your operations and day-to-day processes that reduce energy usage.
Be sure to communicate those efforts to prospective employees, customers, and the media. An environmental commitment may no longer be an option for high-growth businesses of the future.
3. Businesses Will Look to Energy Efficiency for Cost-Saving
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses have had to tighten their belts and spend creatively to cover losses.
Some ways to save money in both the short- and long-term may be simple to find and execute.
- Energy-efficient appliances
- Electric transportation systems
- Automation that reduces paper use and waste
- Upgrades to LED lighting
- Smarter waste management
- Improvements that contribute to your employees’ and customers’ physical and mental health
- Efforts that help your community become more sustainable
- Incentives for public transportation
- Rewards and incentives for employee ideas that reduce your carbon footprint
- Renewable energy sources like wind and solar power. Here’s how some companies are already making significant strides in this area.
Conducting a comprehensive energy audit at the start of the year will reveal many hidden costs. You’ll be able to convert those precious dollars to talent and business-building programs.
As noted earlier, we can expect to see more government-based programs to encourage environmentalism. But you don’t have to wait until next year to take advantage of some of these incentives and grant programs.
Based on the massive success of programs like the Lighting-as-a-Service (LaaS) model, you can also expect to see private companies provide knowledge and incentives for investments in energy-saving upgrades.
How Bright is YOUR Business Future?
As you head into the new year, stay on top of legislation, new product development, incentives, and energy management opportunities.
Some great sources of up-to-date intelligence and case studies are:
- Bloomberg Green
- ENERGY STAR
- FES View
- Local and community environmental groups and membership associations that cover your industry
We don’t have a green crystal ball. Still, we are confident that the emphasis on sustainable business practices is here to stay and that those businesses who make strides in energy conservation will not only thrive but will attract more of the right customers.
Start your 2021 off with a tangible energy plan. Get your free energy audit today.