David Solsky, the CEO and co-founder of sustainability data specialist Envizi, has some good advice on how Australian businesses can better manage energy bills in a time of rising prices.

In an email to stakeholders in June, Solsky reflected on his meetings so far in 2017 with dozens of executives responsible for energy in their organisations. The message was consistent: rising electricity and gas prices are now materially impacting the bottom line for their organisations.

Energy-saving initiatives, he says, now have the attention of the C-suite.

Free eBook: The Energy Goldrush

A comprehensive look at money-saving options for business can be found in the excellent free eBook published by The Fifth Estate and co-created by Envizi and its partners AGL and Energetics.

The book starts by making a compelling business case for energy management, followed by practical tips on how to pay less, uses less, generate your own power and how to finance your projects.

Download the eBook: The Energy Goldrush: Your toolkit for strategic energy management (PDF, 5MB)

First steps to reducing power bills

Solsky also suggests three actions an organisation can start with to quickly mitigate energy price rises.

1. Install Solar PV

Component prices for solar PV systems have continued to drop over the past 2-3 years, meaning quicker returns on investment in onsite generation and battery storage. CitySmart partner Bradford Solar, for example, is among the solar companies now offering installations for small, medium and large businesses.

Flexible financing options such as purchase power agreements (PPA) are also making solar more affordable. They allow your business to lock in low rate electricity tariffs for a long-term fixed period, without capital expenditure. Read this post by Landon Kahn from Todae Solar which explains how PPA’s work.

2. Upgrade your lights

More efficient lighting remains a compelling energy saving opportunity and Solsky says he is seeing many such projects yield paybacks in the 2-3 year range.

New financing models such as Lumens as a Service can eliminate technology risk and avoid the need for lengthy capital approval processes. Landlord-tenant incentive issues around lighting upgrades can be solved with the innovative t3 program launched this year by CitySmart and its partner Incorp Property Solutions.

3. Eliminate energy waste

Identifying sources of energy waste is now both easy and cheap.

Internet of Things (IOT) based metering and software-based metering can detect issues like after-hours use, equipment short cycling and unusual changes in base and operating loads. Such problems can usually remedied via changes in system control settings without any capital expenditure, yielding reductions in the energy consumption of a typical business premises of 10-15%. Solsky’s company Envizi is a specialist in energy waste reduction and explains simply on its website how such IOT-based tools work.

Also, the Queensland-based ERM Business Energy offers a web-based energy and emissions software suit called Greensense that helps organisations identify opportunities to reduce their energy, water and waste.