Key Takeaways from a Retail Sustainability Conference

I recently returned from Retail Industry Leadership Association’s (RILA) 7th Annual Sustainability Conference in Minneapolis, MN where representatives from over 80 of the largest retail brands converged to discuss emerging trends in sustainability and the retail industry. I attended the popular conference with over 500 attendees hoping to learn about the direction of the industry and best practices, and the event didn’t disappoint! Overall, the conference focused on two key themes: Consumers are “snack shopping,” taking small bites of information through multiple mediums (phones, PCs, tablets, print). Sustainability connects retailers and consumers through these mediums when the story is compelling, visual, and evocative. Consumers want to buy from responsible companies and...

Strategic Energy Management for Commercial Buildings: Lessons Learned


Our recent blog post, Strategic Energy Management for Commercial Buildings: 5 Key Areas described Ecova’s Strategic Energy Management (SEM) program, as presented at the ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings in August. In many ways, strategic energy management is the ultimate energy savings program, for businesses and utilities alike, driving persistent energy savings and ongoing collaboration around energy efficiency. The Ecova Framework includes best practices in five keys areas: Data People Infrastructure Marketing and Reporting Continual Improvement However, there’s no one-size-fits-all plan when it comes to creating a more energy-efficient and sustainable business. Every organization has its own operational particulars and cultural environment. In working...

How Fiscal Normalization Helps to Sync Your Organization to Data

In the United States, businesses can choose to end the fiscal year on any date of the calendar year, and most tend to use the end of a month to simplify accounting. Furthermore, most companies’ fiscal year coincides with the beginning of the calendar year on January 1st or at the beginning of a quarter (April 1st, July 1st or October 1st), but there are many variations on this theme for diverse reasons. Department stores, for example, decide to let the entire holiday shopping season (including post-holiday returns) fall in one fiscal year. They also might want to have plenty of time to finish post-holiday inventories before tackling the end-of-fiscal-year accounting. As a result, the fiscal year for many of these companies ends on January 31st or the Saturday closest to this date. Most...

5 Important Steps to Help Deliver on Client Needs

As an Ecova Client Service Manager for over seven years, October’s National Customer Service Week gets me thinking about the importance of taking great care of our clients. I recently was asked why so many of our clients have been loyal to us for so long. I quickly responded, “Because we give them what they need!” So, in celebration of National Customer Service Week, I’d like to share some of the services that Ecova strives hard to deliver. 1. ATTENTION Put the customer first. Plain and simple―giving our clients the attention they need and deserve gives them a reason to come back again and again. That’s why our Quarterly Business Reviews, the time where we review results and set future priorities, are part of our normal business practice. These thoughtful planning sessions are in...

Identify and Communicate Energy Price Volatility to Manage Risk

Over the last year, we’ve experienced more volatility in the energy markets than has occurred in the last several years. What caused this change? Are these prices here to stay? And what can be done about it? Recently my colleague, Sheila Johnston and I hosted a webinar titled, “Identify and Communicate Energy Price Volatility to Manage Risk,” to address these very questions. During the webinar, we discussed a variety of topics in an effort to shed light on current energy market trends and fundamentals, as well as on potential budgetary impacts through the upcoming winter season. Some of the main conclusions presented included:  After last year’s frigid winter and wholesale price spikes, wholesale natural gas and electricity prices could be in for another volatile winter;  Early...