Cut Carbon Emissions and Save Money with Energy Management

Published on : 3/31/23
  • Taking a hard look at utility use is a powerful action businesses can take to reduce their carbon footprint – and cut expenses. In some states, like California, it’s also critical for compliance. 

    At Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, General Manager Timothy Fessler heard the university was grappling with the need to report its energy consumption and spending to the city and state. Fines for not reporting could add up to $2,000 per day. 

    Sodexo only provides food services for the university, but Fessler wanted to help. So, he connected the university’s sustainability department with Sodexo’s Facilities Management team, which offers Utility Expense Management.  

    The service provides auditing, management and analysis of all utility spending, uploading data directly to energy compliance programs, such as the EPA’s ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager. Sodexo provides each client with a unique portal displaying all utility bill details, reports and bill copies. We pay all bills (gas, electricity, water, sewer and fuels, like propane) automatically, guaranteeing no late fees. 

    At Point Loma, we provided accurate data for Scope 1 and 2 emissions (direct and indirect emissions stemming from purchased energy sources) helping it reduce consumption and comply with regulations. 

    Linda Tumlinson, Manager of Energy Analytics, says:

    It was a great result for Point Loma Nazarene University. They met their compliance requirements with the state and received recognition as a City of San Diego 2020 Energy Champion.

    Diverse Sites, Significant Benefits

    Clients can benefit from Utility Expense Management in numerous ways.  

    For sites required to report to ENERGY STAR®, we provide consistent reporting and recommendations that help them achieve compliant scores and avoid fines. 

    Not every client is required to report (based on city or state), but Sodexo consistently collects similar information. We use this data to compare energy usage to comparable sites through our benchmark reports, defining ways to reduce consumption and save on utility bills. 

    In deregulated markets, our procurement specialists can help with crafting the right strategy for purchasing electricity and natural gas, based on our clients' risk tolerance and other key factors. Contract information is available through the client’s portal, and in quarterly energy reports, which also detail market trends. 

    Our quarterly Sodexo Energy Management Report provides analysis of consumption, spend, energy cost, benchmark reports, ENERGY STAR® scores and greenhouse gas emissions, along with local rebates, recommendations and best practices. This information is also available through client portals, updated daily. 

    By benchmarking across the facility or against similar facilities in the area, we can identify the outliers and ask, what can we do to bring these costs in line? Tumlinson says.  

    Some clients are already efficient but want to improve their carbon and cost reduction. Each site has diverse needs, challenges, and opportunities – from multi-site hospital systems to single buildings. 

    At the Ashbury Foundation, which manages retirement communities, we educate residents on energy reduction, along with implementing cost-saving measures.  

    Auditing bills carefully identifies mistakes, erroneous fees, incorrect taxes and misapplied payments, which we resolve directly with energy providers, acting as our client’s agent. All recovered monies go directly to the client, with no shared savings. We conduct more than 200 standard audits, plus unlimited custom audits. 

    One school district in Oregon received a $1 million charge on its water bill, which we quickly got corrected. The Chief Financial Officer commended us, in recognition of how much time his accounting staff saved because we handled the problem efficiently. 

    Tumlinson says:

    We have found about $7 million in mistakes for clients. And we save them so much in accounting time, guaranteeing no late fees, and resolving errors directly with the utility for our clients.

    Saving More Than $400K: One Site’s Experience

    At Methodist Hospital in Northwest Indiana, Utility Expense Management saved the client thousands of dollars, combined with energy savings measures implemented by the Facilities Management team. 

    It’s really good for identifying trends, for example, water use, says Kevin Parker, Director of Plant Operations for the hospital, a SodexoMagic account. 

    If they notice a high bill, they can investigate, he says. Is a pipe broken? Do we need to check the sprinkler heads?

    Parker’s in-house team installed 15,000 LED lights at the hospital, saving $2,000 annually. Installing new energy-efficient equipment led to cost savings and utility expense management identified untapped tax breaks. 

    In its first contract year, the SodexoMagic team saved the system $415k in facilities costs. (And an additional $400k on food procurement.) 

    For Tumlinson, Utility Expense Management is a highly effective tool that helps clients achieve sustainability goals, as we pursue our own commitment to Net Zero by 2040. 

    We’re turning utility bills into actionable measures, she says.