I’m fairly certain that we’ve only begun to tap the energy efficiency potential of this country. I often read news items that explain how XYZ organization saved millions of dollars by implementing an effective energy management program and it raises my hopes that people are being proactive and attempting to make a difference. I recently heard that the public schools in a nearby county achieved annual savings of $4.5 million from energy efficiency improvements, and I commend them for this accomplishment. After all, saving energy saves money and it makes good sense for all of us––so, why do only few adopt this mantra?

We all know that energy and demand costs have an impact on a company’s bottom line. However, it is often a daunting task to convince upper management that money saved through energy conservation is as valuable as any other money on a company’s bottom line. Executives often choose to focus on other cost-control methods. Every business decision comes with its share of risk, but the faster management realizes that a company could see a significant return on investment (often less than two years) and save substantial money on energy costs for decades, the faster an energy retrofit program would be established. This is where you, as an electrical contractor, can play a crucial role and educate your customer about the bottom-line benefits of energy management. It is important for your customers to understand that energy is part of a value chain, which if managed properly, could become a great source of profit.

This month’s cover story by Lewis Tagliaferre (page 82) explores potential opportunities for electrical contractors in the field of energy management and provides case descriptions of contractors who have chosen to promote and participate in energy-efficient solutions. As the author concludes, selling energy management is a patriotic and profitable business to be involved in. And considering the recent blackouts that crippled most of the Northeast and Midwest, this month’s issue also focuses on the importance of backup power systems and what we can do to keep the lights on and control our vulnerability.

Last but not least, I’d like to leave you with a couple of fun facts about energy in general. Did you know that enough sunlight falls on the earth’s surface each minute to meet world energy demand for an entire year? How about the fact that gasoline-powered lawn mowers give off as much air pollution each year as four million automobiles? Perhaps these give you some ideas. Hope you enjoy the issue. EC

—STANIMIRA Z. STEFANOVA, Editor