By now, you may be familiar with the concept of “non-energy benefits” or NEBs. NEBs don’t save energy from the installed lighting or HVAC technology, but they add value to the company operations. It might be anything from improving the work environment, improving productivity or reducing maintenance and repair costs. Technology that delivers energy savings is still important, but if it can solve other business issues as well, then you’ve made yourself more valuable to your customer.
Ask questions and listen
How do you find out which benefits are important to your customer? You are the consultant, so your job is to ask questions and listen! Whether you’ve been asked to resolve a lighting or HVAC problem, ask questions to find out how the company operates and if there are larger issues involved. What does a week look like at the company doing the upgrade? Use the findings to identify possible non-energy benefits.
Start by evaluating the project and space type. Make sure you understand the functions and tasks taking place in the affected area. Learn more about the operating hours and whether they are flexible, shift-based or 24/7. Do they always need full light output or heating/cooling in each area during these flex times?
Ask your contact:
• If you had your company’s checkbook, what would you work on first?
• Do you have varied operating schedules?
• Have there been any employee complaints regarding lighting or HVAC systems?
• What are your goals or needs for the facility?
• Are there shift changes? Seasonal changes?
Non-energy benefits add to savings
It is easy to quantify energy savings, but you can also put numbers to non-energy benefits. For example, to make your case to the customer, you can calculate:
Lastly, make sure you put these NEBs down on paper and present them along with the other financials. Customers may not understand the complexities of lighting power densities and energy savings measures, but they can understand the value of improving their operation and environment in the process. Non-energy benefits are valuable elements of efficient technology implementation proposals, making them more appealing to the customer. You’ll help excite and engage your customer and build your relevancy and value.