Today, we know that so much can be done to optimize a greenhouse’s energy consumption and purchasing practices leading to improved margins. Even with this understanding, there are still some greenhouse operators who believe that controlling Energy:
- Makes no difference to their bottom line.
- Or, they are doing enough already and cannot do anything more to reduce energy costs.
- And treat energy as a fixed cost.
by Alana Arkell, 360 Energy
The greenhouse industry has seen significant changes. New technologies have not only brought an increase in production while reducing energy consumption levels but have also allowed more competitors to enter the industry, leading to smaller margins. The net result, greenhouse operators, require improved execution and cost control measures to remain competitive.
Since Energy is typically the 2nd or 3rd highest input cost for a greenhouse operator, it is hard to imagine Energy not impacting net profits. For example, if your net profit margin is 5%, saving $1 on energy costs will bring in $20 of additional revenue. Extrapolating, saving $100,000 on energy costs is the same as an additional $2,000,000 in sales, a significant impact on your bottom line.
An excellent place to start is to utilize your monthly utility bills. Besides understanding how much you are paying, what you are paying for, and how much you are consuming, your monthly utility bills provide you with an abundance of important information to better manage your operation. 360 Energy analyzing your utility bills is only just the beginning; being able to capture and identify areas of improvement, then implementing change and monitoring your actions’ effectiveness, is required to improve your organization’s performance continuously.
We know that 99% of the customers do not review their utility or supplier bills in detail on their own from our experience. It is time-consuming and not a simple process to capture and analyze all the various pieces of data presented on your bill. 360 Energy Greenhouse Performance Reporting does the heavy lifting for you of capturing and deciphering utility bill information into a simple and straightforward presentation. The report shows how your greenhouse is operating compared to an established baseline/forecast so that you can quickly identify any variances to previous months or expectations. Our experience with this type of information provided to the customer leads to a Greenhouse customer reducing their energy cost by 20% and reducing their total energy usage by 15% over a 3-year period.
Greenhouse operators who properly use their utility billing data can quickly expect their annual consumption to drop by at least 5%.
The results of monthly Energy Performance reporting need to be shared and discussed with other vital members of your greenhouse staff, such as the Grower, Accounting and the owner, to achieve real, measurable savings.
360 Energy has helped many greenhouse operators understand and prove that controlling Energy is possible and saves money, improves productivity, and builds an educated, entrepreneurial culture. Every grower has a unique situation, and no two growers will require the exact same actions but utilizing energy performance reporting will help you realize the benefits of controlling Energy to grow your margins and plants.
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