At Elephants Deli, we never settle for “good enough” – in our food, our business or our sustainability practices.
That’s why we’ve set a goal of net-zero emissions by 2030, and why we’re doing everything we can to reach it.
Lowering our energy use is a big part of the effort. We’re not only becoming more energy efficient; we’re also saving money.
Since enrolling in the program in 2020, we have received $18,000 in incentives for reducing our energy use and thousands of dollars more to pay for equipment and lighting upgrades.
We’ve also cut our electricity and natural gas use by 25%.
Your business can do it, too. With energy prices only going up, now is the time.
Here are five tips to help you get started:
- Make it a team activity.
Build a diverse team of experts with different perspectives and skillsets from across your company. Give them the time and resources to do the work. Establish ownership of tasks and set deadlines to keep the team accountable.
- Track energy use and look for anomalies.
You can’t manage what you don’t measure. Tools from local utilities, such as PGE’s Energy Tracker, can help you track your usage as often as every 15 minutes. When it spikes, you’ll have a better sense of where to start looking for waste.
- Set clear and achievable goals.
Once you have established a baseline for your energy use, the next step is to set attainable goals for your business. Then you can measure and report your progress.
- Access resources and incentives.
If you’re looking for financial resources to invest in energy efficiency upgrades, check out your local utilities, environmental agencies and non-profits to see what they offer.
- Keep an inventory of your equipment.
Elephants created a registry of all our powered equipment with details about how much energy each one uses. This list helps us understand our power draw and identify equipment that needs to be maintained or phased out.
If you’re worried about taking on too much, start with a few easy wins to build momentum and boost engagement from your team. For instance, you could swap out inefficient lightbulbs with LEDs, install occupancy sensors, only run the dishwasher when full, or put your thermostats on a schedule.
And don’t forget that failures move you forward. While some efforts may not pan out, you can still learn from them. That’s all part of the process. It’s as important to share the mistakes as it is to share the successes.
At Elephants, we’ve learned the wins are worth it – to sustain both our business and our environment.