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Thought Leadership from Sieben Energy Associates

Why Pursue Energy Efficiency in Commercial Buildings?

Earth-at-Night
It is hard to conceptualize the impact that our own energy use has on the world, particularly as it relates to carbon emissions and climate change. Although we understand the importance of reducing energy consumption, it often feels like the energy we use on a regular basis is just a drop in the bucket. But the key is to remember that those many small drops add up quickly. Reducing energy use in our buildings, even by a modest amount, can, in aggregate, have a significant impact.

According to the International Energy Outlook 2016, published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), energy consumed in the buildings sector constitutes about 20% of total global site energy consumed. The "buildings sector" includes residential and commercial users, and encompasses all energy consumed at the building for uses such as heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting, refrigeration, computers, and other various equipment and consumer products. Of this 20%, residential users are responsible for about two-thirds, while commercial users are responsible for the remaining one-third. In other words, commercial buildings around the world account for 7% of global site energy consumption.
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How IKEA Plans to Take Its Buildings Energy-Neutral

IKEA, the home furnishings company, has a stated goal of becoming "energy independent" by 2020. Their plan for energy independence required a substantial investment of time and resources. IKEA developed their strategic plan following several years of painstaking energy data collection, extensive energy audits, and an assessment of portfolio energy needs. 

In "How IKEA Plans to Take Its Buildings Energy-Neutral", an article published on GreenBiz.com, author Judith Nemes describes IKEA's business case for pursuing energy independence, and their steps to date towards achieving their goal. As the article notes, Sieben Energy Associates served a critical energy consulting role for IKEA.

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Efficiency By The Numbers

​Energy data is collected and analyzed as never before. Nearly every industry has been revolutionized by the continuous processing of numbers at unprecedented speed and scale. Purposeful data analysis elicits new perspectives on how value is assigned to products and services. Data collection and handling is important, yet we find that the value is in the interpretation as well as the response. 

While there are costs associated with data management, if leveraged appropriately the advantages will produce significant ROI. The more accurate and in-depth the data analysis, the more value is derived from it. The same is true of data use: the more an organization uses data to inform day-to-day operations and to develop long-term goals, the greater the return.

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