More than three decades after the 1970s oil embargoes, and President Jimmy Carter's famous Sweater Speech extolling the virtues of doing less, energy conservation remains the ugly stepchild of environmental improvement. True, the White House is urging us to walk instead of drive, while others advocate shunning clothes dryers for clotheslines or swapping out incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescents. But these are suggestions that few folks heed, since such notions suggest "doing without," a concept unacceptable to most Americans, and to many others around the globe.
But for companies, it's a different story. Energy efficiency (the more business-like alternative to "conservation") has a strong foundation in a bottom-line-centric world. And there are rich resources -- case studies, how-to manuals, calculators, incentive programs, technical assistance agencies, and more -- to help companies manage the process. There's also a sizeable industry that's grown up around helping companies audit, assess, implement, and finance energy-efficiency solutions.
And yet, we've barely begun to harvest the low-hanging fruit, let alone sow the seeds of an economy that can continue to grow and prosper using continually less energy from oil and other polluting resources.
So, what is your company doing to ramp up its energy-efficiency efforts?
Here is a directory of my 30 or so favorite energy-efficiency resources for companies, culled from the thousands that exist. While they don't cover the full range of business operations or energy impacts you may encounter in your company, chances are it will provide leads to solutions to most of your organization's major energy guzzlers.
Energy Efficiency Best Practices
More than 90 best practices detailed to help users enhance the design, implementation, and evaluation of their own energy-efficiency programs.
Energy Ideas Clearinghouse
A comprehensive library to energy-efficiency tools and resources.
Energy Star for Business
Provides a wealth of information, including guidance on developing a corporate energy management system, benchmarking tools, calculators for upgrades, corporate purchasing guidelines, and plant energy auditing information.
Best Practice Guide for Office Buildings
Focuses on energy savings in commercial office buildings.
Building Energy Software Tools Directory
More than 300 software tools for buildings, with an emphasis on renewable energy and energy efficiency, including whole-building energy simulation programs.
Calculate Your Possible Energy Lighting Savings
Calculates monetary savings associated with using fluorescent light bulbs.
Emerging Energy-Saving Technologies and Practices in the Buildings Sector
Reviews 200 building technologies and practices to select those that promise to save energy and money.
Greening the Building and the Bottom Line: Increasing Productivity Through Energy-Efficient Design
Examines how energy efficiency in the workplace can increase employee productivity and provide economic benefits.
Options for Energy Efficiency in Existing Buildings
Analyzes the most effective strategies for improving energy efficiency in buildings, including the most effective strategies for producing financial savings.
Flex Your Power: Commercial
Tools and resources for energy-efficiency projects in the commercial sector
Online Guide to Energy-Efficient Commercial Equipment
Helps businesses invest wisely to control costs by reducing energy consumption through efficiency.
Corporate Guide to Green Power Markets
Helps companies understand, explore, and evaluate renewable energy opportunities.
Green Power Analysis Tool 2.0
Helps environmental and facility managers make decisions about purchasing and using green energy.
Green Power Network
News and resources on buying clean energy.
Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy
Promotes renewable energy in business, industry, and government by disseminating information on incentives, policies, programs, and regulations.
Energy Management and Shareholder Value
Makes the business case for strategic energy management and energy efficiency systems and describes the growing interest of investors and others.
Financing Manufacturing Efficiency and Growth
Profiles financing resources available to small and mid-sized manufacturers.
Toolbook for Financing Energy Efficiency and Pollution Prevention Technologies
Lists financing resources and technical assistance available to manufacturers.
CIBO Energy Efficiency Handbook
The world of possibilities for increasing the energy efficiency of boilers.
Combined Heat and Power Project Analysis Model
Software model helps users evaluate the energy production, life-cycle costs and greenhouse gas emissions reduction for CHP projects.
Efficiency and Innovation in U.S. Manufacturing Energy Use
Offers 17 case studies, including one featuring Frito-Lay, whose energy efficiency upgrades are returning 30% on investment annually.
Energy Management Pathfinding
Documents real-world solutions to rising industrial energy costs, showcasing ten industrial energy-efficiency leaders.
Industries of the Future Best Practices
A clearinghouse of the most energy-efficient practices for motors, steam systems, and compressed-air systems.
Industrial Assessment Centers
Provide eligible small- and medium-sized manufacturers with no-cost energy assessments.
WasteWise Climate Tools
Newsletters, software, and other resources to help companies understand and address the connection between climate change and solid waste.
Wise Rules for Industrial Efficiency
Based on the experiences of participants in the EPA's Climate Wise program.
TRANSPORT AND TRAVEL
Alternative Fuels Data Center
Find alternative fuels, alternative fuel vehicles, and refueling sites in the U.S.
Alternative-Fueled Vehicle Fleet Buyer's Guide
A guide to understanding and choosing an alternative-fuel vehicle.
Employer TeleCommuter Hire Savings Calculator
Shows that getting cars off the road can help drive down the cost of employment. Compute how much money your company could save on payroll taxes, benefits, real estate and productivity improvements.
Offers information about how to buy an alternative fueled vehicle, including an extensive database of current models.
Hybrid Electric Vehicle Fleet Cost and Benefits Calculator Tool
Compares the costs and emissions of hybrid electric vehicles to conventional vehicles.
Source Book on Good Practice in Freight Transport
Offers five approaches to the adoption of environmental concerns in freight transport.
Teleworking Impact Estimation Tool
Web-based tool allows users to estimate the net environmental impact of teleworking.
Features an emissions calculator that shows how an individual's travel patterns translate to greenhouse gas emissions.
And if you find a valuable resource not listed here (or if your company or organization produces one), please let me know so I can share the wealth.