Energetics welcomes senior energy advisor, Mike Bosnich

10 Oct 2014Archived News Tony Cooper Climate Change Matters

Mike joins (actually re-joins) Energetics after more than 12 years with retail giant, Woolworths where he was Group Manager - Engineering. In this national role Mike was one of the main architects of their energy management strategy, and responsible for the delivery of the technical aspects of their sustainability strategy.

A case study in the evolution of energy management

Mike joined Woolworths in 2002 to become their National Energy Manager.  At Woolworths, energy costs are a significant component of total operating costs, with annual energy expenditure in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

The company’s first steps towards strategic energy management began with better management of energy data: developing a database and moving data onto a reporting platform.  From this ‘hygiene’ work, Woolworths was able to view energy as a controllable cost which became particularly valuable as energy costs began to rise.  With the emphasis on data management, and the accurate insights into identified opportunities and costs it offered, Woolworths lay the foundations recognising that as energy and carbon was going to become increasingly important, robust and accurate data was needed to underpin management plans.  Woolworths began this work 5 years before everyone else.

During this data management process Mike sought to improve energy procurement practices, in the first instance disaggregating the company’s large NSW supply account into three, more manageable components.  This initiative significantly reduced risk and is a management approach that remains today.  To further improve energy management outcomes, Mike also focussed the installation of lighting control systems in Woolworths’ supermarkets – time- based and zone-based controls, as well as the implementation of MAXIMO, the computerised maintenance management system still in use at Woolworths.

As energy management evolved, Mike’s portfolio expanded to include waste, water, trolleys, cleaning, pest, hygiene and recycling.

By 2006 Woolworths recognised the impact of climate change on long-term sustainability and food supply security as its most crucial environmental challenge. With the organisation accounting for around 0.6% of Australia's total CO2 emissions, Woolworths developed and launched its ‘Doing the Right Thing: Sustainability Strategy 2007‑2015’ in November 2007.  The organisation’s carbon emissions target is to remain at 2006 levels out to 2015, representing a 40% reduction in emissions from fixed assets on projected business growth. 

Around this time, there was an interest in incorporating sustainability into the design of supermarkets.  Mike managed the integration of the sustainable engineering initiatives within Woolworths’ first ‘green’ store at Rouse Hill, NSW with new concepts in refrigeration, HVAC, food production and lighting sources.  Other stores followed and over time, the company recognised that ‘green stores’ delivered commercial results.  For example, new low-Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigeration technologies proved to be just as reliable as conventional refrigeration, but they delivered more than 25% reduction in energy consumption and reduced GWP of more than 75%.   Similarly, there was a push across the business to install highly efficient LED lighting, to that extent that nearly all light sources within a new Woolworths Supermarket are LED.

Further progress was made as sustainability and energy management in supermarkets was extended across other business units.

More recently, Mike was part of the Woolworths’ management team review of the Australian commercial refrigeration industry which was experiencing significant upheaval.  Refrigeration is business critical to Woolworths’ as “Australia’s Fresh Food People” with it accounting for around half of its electricity consumption and significant annual investment in equipment procurement, installation and maintenance.  The key outcome of Woolworths’ review was the development of refrigeration and HVAC installation and service capability within Woolworths.  This new entity, known as Retail FM, secures essential installation, repair and maintenance services, vital to Woolworths’ business goals. 

What makes a successful energy management program?

Looking back over his career, Mike considers that there are three major features that characterise successful energy management programs.

1.     The full benefits of energy management are realised when quality energy data and information, supported by thorough Measurement & Verification, are considered a priority.

2.     Where energy efficiency enjoys broad support – and particularly the support of the leadership team - the company can reap a competitive advantage as its exposure to volatile energy costs and any carbon pricing initiatives is reduced.

3.     Measures labelled as ‘sustainability’ initiatives consistently prove to be good commercial decisions.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss any aspect of this article, Mike can be contacted on (02) 9929 3911.  

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