Step 3: Setting of general goals

3.1 Definition of overall goals

The energy manager has to clarify the scope of the analysis and set the general goals for the intervention. The most common goals that are expressed are:

  • Reduce energy consumption from non-renewable energy sources

This goal is usually expressed in terms of specific decrease in quantity or percentage of energy use.

  • Reach a certain level of performance compared to an established benchmark, such as another institution that is presented as a good practice 

This can include a general review, the investigation of unusual losses, and the institution’s position in relation to benchmarks as well as organisational aspects influencing consumption.

  • Environmental improvement which translates energy savings into pollution prevention or reduction goals

These goals represent the major concern in reducing the institution’s environmental footprint and can be expressed by quantified examples of specific targets.  

Certainly, the level at which performance goals will be set, depends on the nature of the institution and the way it uses energy. Common levels for setting goals include:

  • Institution-wide

This level includes the entire institution and provides an overall frame for the institution’s vision for improvement.

  • Departments

At this lower level, goals may vary and depend on the performance and needs of each department.

  • Procedure

At this level, goals are set for a specific process followed in the institution, such as the procurement of new equipment.

  • Time frame

Establishing appropriate and realistic target dates for goals ensures that they are meaningful and promote change. A combination of short and long-term goals can be effective, such as annual goals used to track progress on a regular basis, and long-term goals used for the institution’s strategic planning respectively.

3.2 Decision-making

As soon as the Energy Manager formulates the general goals (if necessary with the help of an external expert), he/she brings them forward to the Senior Management of the institution (Rector, Directors, Executive Board). It is up to the Management to make decisions and set the strategy that will be mandatory. On the other hand, even though the participation of key stakeholders in this stage is optional, it could be helpful, in order to increase the legitimacy of the decision-making process.

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