Implementation of energy efficiency in small and medium sized organisations using team-based methodologies delivered via the World Wide Web and collaborative virtual environments
Costello, Gabriel J.
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The promotion and implementation of energy policy is a major EU and Irish priority driven by three primary objectives: security of supply, environmental protection and cost competitiveness. The target given to Ireland under the Kyoto protocol is to limit greenhouse gas emissions to 13% above the 1990 levels. This objective was breached in 1997 and projections are that emissions will rise to almost 40% above the 1990 level if the country continues on its present path, which could cost the exchequer up to €240 million per annum in penalties. Furthermore, Ireland’s energy import dependency at 86% is the highest in the EU outside of Luxemburg. The estimated cost saving potential of successfully implementing energy efficiency is approximately 30% of final energy demand with the introduction of “no cost” and “low cost” measures resulting in savings of up to 15%. Based on 2002 energy consumption figures, there is a potential saving of €1 billion to the Irish economy if the latter measures could be successfully implemented. The Large Industry Energy Network (LIEN) is a voluntary network operated by Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) for eighty of the largest energy consumers, accounting for approximately 10% of the country’s total primary energy requirement (TPER). Meanwhile, small and medium sized enterprises (SME) are also being urged to become more involved in reducing the national energy bill and resulting greenhouse gas emissions but without the same level of support. The task of implementing energy efficiency in this latter sector poses a significant challenge given the number of organisations involved, their geographic distribution and low energy intensity. This thesis proposes that energy efficiency must be addressed through organisational learning and cultural change. A process called STEMS (Structured Team-based Energy Management System) has been developed to help implement energy efficiency in organisations. The process is delivered by means of a web-based collaborative virtual environment and focuses on “no-cost” and “low cost” measures. STEMS integrates technology and people, promoting collaboration between policy makers, energy users, educators and professional energy managers to facilitate organisations to become energy efficient. A case study is presented of a Rational Use of Energy (RUE) project undertaken by a multi-disciplinary team in the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology that involved the participation of four geographically dispersed campuses. This energy project contributed to a net 8.5% reduction in electricity use and the study showed the effectiveness of the application of STEMS to introducing energy efficiency practices in the Institute. It also demonstrated the use of a web-based collaborative virtual environment (CVE) to facilitate both the management of the project and the multi-site implementation. In a second case study, a prototype energy management service was developed with an energy management consultant to evaluate the practicability of using web-based technologies to support STEMS users and develop new business.
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