3 things we learned on the conference circuit this spring

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The conference circuit is back, and business professionals are getting out their air miles.

The return of in-person networking lets companies build relationships with solution providers—and EnPowered used the opportunity well this spring.

Meeting face-to-face gave us the chance to gather insights from businesses about their challenges in the energy sector.

While businesses navigate uncertainty, they are also discovering business opportunities. Sharing best-practices and market insights helps firms make good energy decisions as they weather the recession.

To this end, we’ve highlighted three main themes that are top of mind in the conference circuit: the importance of environment, social, corporate governance (ESG), the need for strategic decarbonization (particularly for buildings), and the uncertainty surrounding investing and purchasing.

1. More companies are implementing ESG programs

ESG is on everyone’s lips, and the number of companies appointing chief sustainability officers (CSOs) tripled in 2021.

Reducing emissions saves money, but it also attracts talent and investors, and keeps customers happy. As more companies adopt this mentality, clean technology solution providers benefit from more projects.

A main takeaway from The Energy Professionals Association (TEPA) event in Boston was that businesses need to nurture and expand their partnerships to meet their ESG goals.

A strong partner network—such as EnPowered’s Accelerator Partner Program—of solution providers and financing partners empowers businesses to reach their ESG goals.

Companies need to view clean technology investments as savings opportunities, not costs.

Many companies are reporting substantial ESG commitments in their pipelines. As such, ESG is becoming a key factor when building business cases for cleantech solutions, such as building retrofits. The crucial point in these business cases is that companies need to view clean technology investments as savings opportunities, not costs.

Counter-intutitively, holding onto your capital actually costs you money. Doing nothing and continuing as usual leads to real losses from missed savings, inflation, high energy and electricity prices, interest rates, carbon pricing, consumer backlash, and trickier access to funding. Put simply, the cost of waiting is real—and no more real than in real-estate.

2. Buildings are prime targets for decarbonization

A key area that businesses are looking at to improve their ESG commitments and reduce emissions is building management. Buildings present many opportunities to improve sustainability, including new lighting systems, building management system automation, and deep retrofits.

Building owners are adopting clean technology solutions to capture savings, and because of tougher building performance standards. Governments (particularly at the state and municipal level) are focusing on building decarbonization to meet their 2050 net-zero goals.

The Biden administration includes tougher building standards in its climate change plan, and a cohort of 33 U.S. cities are calling for even higher benchmarks. The Northeast—and New England in particular—is forging ahead with building retrofits.

One well-known example is New York’s Local Law 97, which implements emissions caps, forcing large building owners to upgrade or face hefty fines. Keep an eye on similar developments at the state and city level, as these are driving more and more energy efficiency projects.

Corporate ESG commitments and emissions legislation both increase demand for deep retrofits and efficiency upgrades. While demand is there, a key question is how to accelerate projects and secure funding, especially in a difficult economy.

3. Companies remain hesitant and uncertain

Market instability makes businesses hesitant to part with capital. Changing legislation also slows down investment in new technology, as firms want to be sure their plans meet new standards in the future.

On top of this, brokers may be feeling nervous about which solutions to recommend, in light of high energy prices. This anxiety is compounded by a crowded solutions market, making it hard to differentiate competing offers.

Businesses need the flexibility to pursue strategic decarbonization.

Questions about a solution’s cost-effectiveness also delay purchasing decisions, as companies wonder whether the promised savings actually outweigh the costs.

During the Canada Retrofit Conference, a key topic was the need for businesses to be able to quickly and strategically decarbonize. As part of their ESG and emissions plans, businesses need the flexibility to pursue strategic decarbonization—making the right purchasing decisions at the right time.

This requires access to flexible funding with minimal risk, so they can purchase impactful solutions that move their programs forward.

EnPowered helps businesses decarbonize now

EnPowered Payments—our on-bill payments platform—lets companies pay for solutions with part of their future energy savings. Businesses can acquire solutions right away and enjoy 100 percent of their savings once the solution has been repaid. Payments helps customers pay the way they want; without upfront costs, on a tailored schedule, and through their electricity bill.

Energy solution providers leverage Payments to move deals forward in their sales funnel. With EnPowered’s help, providers can provide an innovative payment option, provide customers with funding, minimize customer-facing risk, and stand out from the competition.

Want to learn more? Reach out today to see how EnPowered accelerates building retrofits and helps solution providers unlock stalled projects.

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Bridget Bray

Director Strategic Partnerships

Bridget has applied her expertise at EnPowered since April, 2020. With 15 years of experience in the energy sector, she works with businesses to overcome big challenges to access smart technology assets. Bridget has a deep understanding of the industry’s complex landscape, including its barriers and opportunities. This enables her to collaborate with businesses effectively, helping them implement innovative solutions and drive sustainable growth.