The British bicycling team used a strategy known as marginal gains to win the 2012 Tour de France as well as dominate the 2012 Olympics. That strategy involved looking at all the tiny ways a rider’s performance could be improved instead of focusing on simply one or two big improvements. According to their coach, Sir David Bradsford, “Each improvement may seem trivial, but the cumulative effect can be huge.”
Tiny or marginal gains, involving many factors, resulted in massive success for the British cycling team! The team had never won the Tour de France before they started focusing on making marginal gains.
Finding marginal gains in energy expenses
Marginal gains can apply to your energy cost as well. If you want to use less energy and benefit from the improved cash flow from smaller utility bills, it’s important to look for marginal gains across the whole landscape of your business energy profile.
“Each improvement may seem trivial, but the cumulative effect can be huge.” Sir David Bradsford
While the British cycling team was happy to achieve a 1% improvement in many areas, it is often easy to find “marginal” energy reductions of 50% or more in most work settings. Many of the energy technologies used in businesses are holdovers from a time when energy was cheap and concern for energy conservation was nonexistent.
A perfect example would be the exit signs that litter the business landscape. These signs, which are required by law and a necessity in the case of an emergency, are often considered just an expense of doing business. Let’s look at the marginal gains that are possible in just this one area of the energy use spectrum.
If an exit sign using an incandescent light bulb is replaced with an LED version, the energy cost per year plummets! It drops from an average yearly cost of $28 to a miniscule $4! That’s an 86% reduction! Hardly a marginal gain but often overlooked because it’s considered a marginal expense. Multiply that savings by the number of exit signs in a business and the dollars add up fast.
Using that same exit sign there is another overlooked marginal gain possible. The average incandescent exit sign light bulb needs to be replaced at least once per year. An LED on the other hand can last 5 – 10 years while running 24/7. The resulting savings in labor is significant, but again, often overlooked.
“Many of the energy technologies used in businesses today are holdovers from a time when energy was cheap and concern for energy conservation was nonexistent.”
Marginal gains are possible in countless areas when it comes to energy conservation in the workplace. While dramatic reductions in your utility expenses are not as exciting as winning the Tour de France, it will result in a big win for the bottom line of any company! If you would like to know if energy savings are possible for your building or business take advantage of our Complimentary Energy Use Assessment. The Assessment is a convenient way to take the first step towards energy savings.
The Energy Alliance Group (EAG) of North America is an energy solutions company providing energy saving products, technologies and services.