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America’s Energy Coach gives Ohio business leaders “pep talk” at Voinovich School’s “Energy Choices for Ohio” workshop in Columbus

Rebecca Cochran October 24, 2012

Tom Kiser GHGRP Sept 2012 

On September 18, Ohio University's Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs hosted "Energy Choices for Ohio: Impacts of Efficiency, Technology & Carbon Management," a workshop on greenhouse gas emissions reporting for Ohio businesses.

The workshop aimed to help Ohio companies stay informed about the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program initiated in 2009 by the U.S. EPA. This rule requires specific sources of greenhouse gas emissions, by both source type and quantity of emissions, to report their emissions data.

Following two successful webinars focused on the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program, the workshop was funded by a grant from the U.S. EPA to facilitate a dialogue across affected entities and provide information promoting increased awareness and understanding of the program and the relationship between greenhouse gas emissions and energy usage.

Workshop panels and breakout sessions were designed to engage Ohio companies seeking information on greenhouse gas reporting tools, energy efficiency technologies and incentives, financing mechanisms for energy projects and other innovative sustainability strategies.

Toward that goal, Thomas E. Kiser, President & CEO of Worthington Energy Innovations (formerly Professional Supply, Inc.) delivered the keynote address entitled, "Designing Energy: Efficiency Strategies to Meet GHG Reporting and Reduction Goals Now & in the Future."

Donning a white baseball cap with a red "O" stitched across the front, "America's Energy Coach," as he's referred to, opened his discussion with an anecdote of the power of attitudes and perceptions.

To Ohioans, he explained, the "O" atop his cap unmistakably signifies The Ohio State University. But as a keynote speaker in 2006 at the Zero Waste Conference in Anaheim, California, he described, people in the stadium perceived the "O" as signifying "zero waste." The red, they perceived as a corresponding sense of urgency associated with reducing energy waste in the United States.

Kiser explained how this particular experience underscores the human ability to perceive things positively.  "Energy efficiency," he reinforced, "… is an attitude."

Continuing, Kiser related his observations of a general shift away from the "bigger is better" paradigm of the 20th century. The recent shift is in part due to the state of the economy, he says, and has made pursuing energy efficiency strategies more critical to controlling energy costs than ever.

Despite this shift, Kiser described the ongoing "mental pushback" associated with pursuing "green" strategies.  Conversely, he insisted, firms must have the courage to enact change and embrace innovation. By introspectively evaluating their own evolution of attitudes and goals over time, Kiser offered, firms can forecast how best to pursue energy efficiency strategies moving forward.

For Mr. Kiser and Worthington Energy Innovations, it's through teamwork. "Human beings are meant to be a team," he insists. "Without being a team they are unsustainable."

He identified the goal of his presentation, and the Voinovich School workshop at large, as a mechanism to work together to exchange new ideas for pursuing these strategies – something Kiser acknowledges as an intangible asset in reducing society's energy consumption. "You don't have to be an expert to leverage resources," he stressed to the workshop's more than 60 attendees.

Kiser concluded his keynote by introducing what he has termed the "Kiser Quotient," a concept for energy usage he has incorporated to reduce the energy costs of firms including Ford Motor Company, Goodyear, Gas Metropolitan (Montreal) and TRW Automotive.

"Traditionally, you only measure the energy purchased," he said, "not the energy actually needed."

The Kiser Quotient, expressed as Energy Needed / Energy Purchased, differs from this view by first assessing the energy needed and then comparing it to the energy purchased.  Energy consumers often purchase more energy than they need: the Kiser Quotient identifies the opportunities for improvements in efficiency that can reduce this perceived need and related over-purchase. By also reducing and recycling waste and incorporating renewable energy sources into their portfolios, consumers can actually purchase less energy than they need and still operate successfully. Kiser refers to this design philosophy as the "Green Machine Protocol," which has a goal of achieving a Kiser quotient of 3/1.

For firms looking to preserve their bottom line and improve their own energy efficiency standards, Kiser indicated that reexamining approaches to energy efficiency using strategies like the Kiser Quotient presents potential for firms to embrace new innovation.

In closing, he encouraged workshop attendees: "Industrial and commercial property owners have a new landscape of opportunity."

For more information about the project, to view presentations from the workshop, or to read CE3's case study on Worthington Energy Innovations, visit the Voinovich School's Greenhouse Gas Reporting Portal at: www.ohio.edu/ce3/ghgrp.