Fernando Tirado
Country Manager
Centrica Business Solutions
Expert Contributor

Energy Efficiency: The First Step on the Road to Net Zero

By Fernando Tirado | Tue, 10/26/2021 - 11:13

In today’s market conditions, all organizations must pay close attention to risk. It is imperative to understand and prepare for everything, from financial feasibility to cyberattacks that can disrupt the market and derail the longevity of an organization.

Climate change is arguably the biggest and most complicated risk an organization faces in the long term. The solutions can seem complex and expensive, and organizations must decide not only what they can do in the long term but, also, what can be done imminently.

In a global environment in which the UN General Assembly has highlighted the need to almost triple the installed capacity of renewable energy in the next 10 years (from 2,800GW to 8,000GW in 2030), Mexico and the rest of the world are naturally on the way toward decarbonization and energy transition, at least a little bit.

Despite the current government's prioritization of fossil energy projects, the Mexican government's "Transition strategy to promote the use of cleaner technologies and fuels," published in the Official Gazette of the Federation in 2020, mentioned that the country aims to achieve 35 percent of total electricity generation from clean energy by 2024, 39.9 percent by 2033 and 50 percent by 2050.

Is this goal feasible? We still have a very long way to go but the good news is that in the private sector, large companies in the country, such as CEMEX, Bimbo, Volkswagen and Walmart, are leading the way toward decarbonization. More and more companies (regardless of size) are making an effort to reduce their environmental footprint and work sustainably, generating a positive impact in terms of environmental care, the development of local communities and their own business.

The average commercial building annually wastes 30 percent of the energy it consumes. Read that again, 30 percent every year. Imagine what you could do with less wasted capital?

Enter energy efficiency measures. What is considered an energy efficiency measure? It’s not just LED lighting but a suite of options that allow an organization to upgrade a facility’s energy infrastructure, eliminate waste and dramatically reduce energy consumption and utility costs.

Building automation systems, water management, LED commercial lighting and EV charging infrastructure all make the transition easier, faster and more cost-effective.

Energy efficiency offers a unique opportunity to save money and reduce your impact on the environment; it’s a win-win. Why aren’t more Mexican organizations taking advantage of this?

The main reason we see is lack of knowledge. How do I start? Will it be expensive? Will it mean I have to stop operations? Is the Mexican regulatory framework adverse? We have found that these are some of the most frequent questions in the country and the reality is that they are 100 percent understandable.

The national energy sector is as fascinating as it is complex, so a decision like this may seem difficult, but we must not lose sight of this fact: making better use of resources invariably results in savings, regardless of whether you are in China or Mexico. This is what energy efficiency refers to. It is a concept that is not only beneficial but necessary. As far as we know, Mexico aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 22 percent and short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) by 51 percent by 2030. The private sector will play a key role in achieving this, so I want you to think about taking the first step. Learn about the options that exist to advise you, because, while you do not need to be an expert in sustainability to realize that reducing carbon emissions is vital, you do need an expert to guide you to achieve it.

The regulatory framework is changing and, therefore, it is important to have an early vision of the existing possibilities depending on the needs of each one. Like everything else, a jacket may fit you perfectly but it may be too tight for me, or the other way around. This is the world of energy simply put.

In terms of costs and the impact on the operation of facilities, I do not want to get too technical but, spoiler alert: yes, it is possible to lead a business that is economically profitable and environmentally responsible and no, there is no significant impact on the production times of plants and businesses.

Acting now to ensure business can survive future challenges is the key to building a resilient and sustainable organization. The truth is that there is no perfect time to act; the sooner we start, the greater the benefits.

Your organization may already be exploring what you can do to make an impact. You may already know that significant organizational, reputational and financial benefits can be gained by improving your energy efficiency. If so, nice work. The key is taking the first step on that road to net zero and making changes today that will start making a positive impact and set your organization up for long-term sustainability.

The road to net zero is most definitely not paved and it is full of forks but we don’t need to navigate it alone.  We are all in this together.

Photo by:   Fernando Tirado