3 Questions Featured

7:00pm EDT December 26, 2008

Delbert Reed has been the director of engineering and maintenance at Shriners Hospital for Children — Houston for 12 years. He started a low-cost energy strategy in 1996 and took the hospital from an energy rating below the national average to one of the top energy-rated hospitals in the U.S.

Q. How can a company initiate a plan to be more energy-efficient?

Set modest goals and objectives. Initially set a goal for a year’s time and see what you’ve accomplished at that point. You may even reach your goal early, which will be a better incentive than planning for a tough figure only to fall short. Your attitude and the staff’s must be upbeat and positive for the effort to succeed. Dedication to be more energy-efficient is really the key. You need to get an energy rating and work to improve that through tracking progress.

Q. What are some of the reasons a company should consider becoming energy-efficient?

By replacing light fixtures with more efficient ones and improving the control of a building’s air-conditioning units, a business can save thousands of dollars a year. I hear, ‘I have no time or money for an energy campaign,’ from my colleagues, but they really don’t have the time or money not to do it. The cost of energy is steadily increasing. It is more financially intelligent to make the change now — more than ever.

Q. What is the biggest hurdle in the success of energy-efficiency programs?

The biggest hurdle is getting in the right mindset. A change in attitude — as opposed to aptitude — is a hurdle. Taking pride in the performance is necessary. A serious program needs to be employed and followed. The company’s culture must go in the direction that supports energy efficiency — so making sure everyone is aware of needed changes — and alterations are made to products used and ordered. Make sure employees are more cautious of why something is being used. If everything isn’t digitally controlled, assigning jobs to make sure electronic devices are off is essential.