“Selling” energy efficiency often requires more of an educational approach than, for example, trying to convince the C-suite to invest in a new printer that will improve employee productivity. It may seem like a team approach is best when discussing possible energy-efficiency improvements, but some experts say the right move is to have a face-to-face discussion with the person who writes your company’s checks.
Before approaching the CFO with data about energy savings and reduced utility bills, first make sure that energy savings is a topic of concern. If it is, quickly establish an obvious connection between energy savings and return on investment (ROI). Talk about payback periods; focus on the amount of time it will take for the energy conservation measures savings to kick in. Also bring up any available utility rebates, tax incentives, or other financing opportunities that will reduce the upfront investment required for the energy-efficiency project.
If energy savings isn’t top-of-mind for the CFO, energy-efficiency proposals can be viewed as unexpected (and unnecessary) capital investments that fix something that’s doesn’t seem broken to them. Instead, spend time finding out what is of concern:
- Increasing the building’s lease rates? Several studies have solidly indicated that green offices experience higher lease rates than traditional buildings.
- Improving occupant productivity? Research backs up this claim, too, offering proof that green, energy-efficient buildings can contribute to faster, more efficient occupants.
- Reducing tenant churn rates? Tenants may not renew if energy rates are too high or increase over time. Colliers International successfully lowered its churn rate by investing in energy-efficiency projects that lowered utility bills for tenants.
- Increasing the facility’s capital value? According to a recent article in Forbes, lowering a commercial building’s operating expenses can lead to higher capital values. In their example, reducing utility costs by $100,000 can raise a building’s capital value by between $1.1 million and $1.4 million.
Once you’ve identified the pain points, you’re better equipped to bring data and information to a meeting that will help them understand how the energy-efficiency upgrade will not only save energy, but also help them solve one of their toughest challenges.
What approaches work best when you’re trying to get funds for a new energy conservation measure?