When you’re in the business of engineering consulting for sustainability and organizational change, much of the work can tend to be upstream in the assessment and planning processes. In this sense, being a sustainability consultant is a bit like being a school teacher – results can sometimes take years to realize. And yet a delay in results exacerbates the sense of urgency surrounding today’s global sustainability challenges. Besides that, there’s often a significant cost of delay for most recommendations we make. For these reasons, everything we do at Brendle Group is considered with an eye toward implementation – specifically, how to help our customers make implementation easier, cheaper, faster in any given circumstance to lead to real action, and real change.
In our latest newsletter, you’ll read about the work of our Energy Services Team in flipping the traditional balance between assessment and implementation on its head – finding things and fixing them on the spot, including follow-on support to our customers. And in our community sustainability planning efforts, you’ll learn about our plans that include a strong tilt toward implementation combined with traditional planning to support early wins. Finally, an important thing we can do is to practice implementation ourselves. So we’ve included a short piece highlighting the energy performance of our building – comparing energy modeling predictions to Year 1 and Year 2 actual results – reaping significant savings due to ongoing implementation of monitoring and fine-tuning in how the building operates.
Through these examples and more, we’ve experienced various lessons learned when it comes to implementation – most are obvious yet often overlooked. Here are a few examples:
– Never plan for planning sake, it’s an easy rut to get stuck in – planning should always drive action.
– Implementation happens faster when there is “skin in the game” – a commitment in terms of funding, staff time, or other resources.
– Whether our customer is a ski area, school district, university, or an entire community or region, a top priority is understanding an organization’s capacity and ability to implement. Does it have the right people and skills, organized in the right way? Addressing organizational barriers and leaning on bright spots helps to speed implementation.
– You don’t have to have a perfectly minted plan to begin implementation. So if you run across something during planning that should be done, just do it. Implement it. Don’t wait for the plan to be done.
Bottom line, we know that having bias or built-in slants toward implementation is the way to do it. We hope you enjoy the newsletter and look forward to your feedback and suggestions for other ideas for implementing sustainability through the lens of both engineering and strategic planning.