1. Introduction: Why have a strategy?
Earlier articles in this series have discussed sustainability in terms of the simple, low-risk, short-payback tactics with obvious benefits. However, when it comes to the bigger and more expensive opportunities you need a strategy that will guide you to the most effective ones first and help you plan how to pay for them. Currently the most common strategy is the payback calculation. This is a strictly monetary metric that says if you get your money back in a reasonable amount of time, and continue to save after that, then the project is worth it. The problem with this approach is that it may miss synergies that can come about by combining projects, and can’t adapt to changing conditions. In this article we’ll also talk about Fossil Energy (FE) reduction, and a 100% Renewable Energy (RE%) target strategy. The new metrics have the benefit that they are absolute, meaning that they don’t depend on a baseline that might change over time. As such they mark progress toward an absolute goal instead of a relative one. Here we’ll also track the traditional metrics like energy cost and payback time.