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This summer I introduced my six year old son to golf. It’s been a delight, even if we’ve had our moments. After all, what’s golf without a few challenges?

Teaching my son taught me a good lesson. Learning to manage energy is like learning to play golf. 

First, I had to explain to him the rules and the object of the game. Then, I had to introduce golf balls and equipment, showing him that each club is uniquely designed for specific purposes.  

The object of golf is to play the course with a minimum of strokes. The object of energy management is to reduce an organization’s energy use and costs as much as possible. 

 You can’t play golf with just one club. You can’t manage energy with just one energy person. 

Golf requires drivers, irons, wedge, putters and a scorecard.  To manage energy requires the C-suite, operations, procurement, finance, maintenance and energy reporting. 

Drivers are used for distance, putters are used for closing. Irons and wedges advance the ball closest to the pin from wherever it is on the fairway (or in my case, all too often from the rough!). Golf is a game of mastering ball control and accuracy.  It requires constant practice.

Each person on an energy team has an indispensible role. Executives drive the effort. Operations, procurement, maintenance, engineers, finance – all are needed to bring it home. Energy management is a process of control over an organization’s energy use and pricing options to reduce costs. 

When organizations use energy teams instead of solely relying on an energy manager, they are much more effective. They tend to play the game much better.  The energy teams at some organizations have honed their skills and knowledge to make energy reductions they never thought possible. An energy team gets better as it continues to work and learn together. 

With each game we play, my young son is demonstrating rapid improvement. He’s gotten the hang of how to use the clubs. He now has a lifetime to enjoy golf and gain the satisfaction that comes from continually improving.


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