Goal setting is probably one of the toughest and most overlooked parts of your job as an energy manager, yet it is the core driver of your day-to-day activities. Heck, it promotes constant improvement for your entire company – especially to fatten that triple-bottom-line.
So why is it so hard to find time to sit down, roll up your sleeves and actually DO the thing? Not only do you have a million urgent tasks calling for your attention now, but vague goals set in a hurry only lead to frustration and failure – often sending you right back to square one.
If this looks and sounds familiar, you’ll love this free tool we built especially for energy managers to help you set energy performance goals more effectively.
What is a SMART Goal?
The key to performance-driven energy management is setting SMART goals. The SMART methodology first appeared in the November 1981 issue of Management Review by George T. Doran.
A SMART goal is:
- Specific: Define what you aim to achieve without falling back on generic, vague descriptions. A clear, concise goal is easier to communicate and for your team to understand, whereas overly complex or ambiguous goals mostly lead to confusion and frustration.
- Measurable: Quantify what you want to achieve with specific energy industry metrics. Saying you want to “improve” at managing energy is not enough – how will you measure this? Identify the areas you want to get better at, and set a tangible number or KPI you want to reach.
- Assignable: Define who will be involved, their role, and how they will be held accountable. Goals without some form of ownership or accountability are rarely accomplished.
- Realistic: Be honest, but also ambitious! Striking a balance of difficulty is essential when setting energy management goals. If the goal is too easy, there will be little sense of accomplishment when it is reached. If it is too difficult, you and your team will feel let down when you fail to meet it. The ideal goal strikes a healthy balance between challenging and achievable.
- Time-bound: Set up a timeframe to achieve your goal. Will you achieve it in one week, one month or one year? And remember – time is money! Setting a deadline for your goal creates a sense of urgency; without one, things usually don’t get done. Make sure your deadline is realistically attainable, though. If you have a big goal, break it up into several small steps and set a timeframe for each.
In his article about energy management goal-setting, experienced energy manager and process engineer Magdy Aly suggests formally establishing energy performance goals by having them recognised by senior management as a mission for the entire organisation.
“Once the the potential for improvement has been estimated, goals can be established at the appropriate organisational levels,” remarks Aly. One way to assess the improvement potential of your organisation is to try a virtual energy audit. Free online tools like Energy Grader are available to help with this.
Establishing SMART Goals for Energy Management
Here are a few examples of what a SMART energy management goal could look like:
“In Q1 2017 I will save €1,000 of electricity in our main building.”
“By June 2017 we will have the gas metering and analysis implemented with 10 new meters installed and the goal to save 5% on gas by the end of the year.”
Some more common ways of expressing energy performance goals include:
- Defined reduction – always presented in terms of a specific quantity or percentage decrease in energy use, such as a 10% reduction or a decrease of 300 million Btus.
- Best-in-class – aims for a certain level of performance compared to an established benchmark, which should also be specified
- Efficiency improvement – expressed as a function of reducing the energy intensity of a specific performance indicator, such as 2 Btus per unit of product.
- Environmental improvement – translates energy savings into pollution prevention or reduction goals, usually quantified in CO2e or GWP
For more information on developing effective energy performance goals, check out this article by Magdy Aly.
Ready to start creating your own? Get your free-to-download template below: