Energy created from renewable sources is not only a sustainable choice that can help to save our planet, but, more and more, represents a considerable cost-saving opportunity. In fact, consumers find it increasingly easy to convert to ‘green living’ thanks to incentives promoted by by governments and private entities.
FORFIRM has implemented practices to support all those who share the vision of a sustainable world.
Starting from an audit verifying the as-is status, the best solution is outlined in terms of cost and feasibility. Next, a plan of action is defined, identifying the energy performance contract to be implemented, immediately delivering a reduction in the cost of energy bills. At the same time FORFIRM identifies how to support the company in its green investments through fund raising (national or European, through direct or indirect funds). Finally, we monitor the progress of the project on each day of implementation, monitoring any issues and mitigating project risks
The energy audit, or energy diagnosis, is an analysis aiming to produce a picture of 'real energy consumption' of a building or a company, an industrial plant or an activity. Carrying out an energy audit essentially involves identifying and measuring the energy use of a particular building or plant and, above all, identifying possible energy efficiency and energy saving measures that can be achieved.
The energy diagnosis is carried out to define parameters that are the most corresponding to reality, in order to implement new measures and improvement actions.
The main objective of an energy audit is to understand how to optimise the energy consumption of a plant or activity. Therefore, reconstruct the consumption of each activity or production line, identifying any waste or energy losses, FORFIRM are able to understand how to improve production flows and processes and evaluate how to integrate energy from renewable sources.
We define an action plan that contemplates all factors involved, from environmental to technical, up to the management of issues and risks. The steps are divided into:
The Energy Performance Contract (EPC) is the agreement under which FORFIRM, following a careful feasibility analysis, carries out a series of integrated services and interventions (with its own financial means of third parties), aimed at the requalification and improvement of system efficiency, allowing savings on the energy costs.
Customers can find themselves initially in a situation where they need to reduce their bill costs, but find only obsolete systems, difficult to manage and with high management costs
Once the EPC has been activated, an immediate decrease in energy costs is possible, alongside an increase in efficiency both from a performance and sustainability standpoint. Once the EPC contract comes to an end, the customer becomes the actual owner of the plant.
The EU has several different funding programmes that businesses may be able to utilise, depending on the nature of the business activities or project. There are two different types: direct funding and indirect funding
Direct funding - The allocation of direct funding capital is managed by European Institutions. There are two types of funding available: grants and contracts
Grants are given to specific projects that relate to EU policies, usually following a public announcement known as a call for proposals
Contracts are issued by EU institutions to buy services, goods or works that they need for their operations – such as studies, training, conference organisation or IT equipment
Indirect funding is managed by national and regional authorities and comprises nearly 80% of the EU budget
Domestic funds incorporate several different funding programmes that businesses may be able to utilise, depending on the nature of the business activities or project. There are two different types: direct funding and tax discount funding
Direct funding - allocation of direct funding capital is managed by the relevant country. There are two types of funding available: grants and co-investment
Tax discount funding - represents a discount on taxation related to R&D initiatives.
Within the ‘Controlling a Stage’ process, it is vital that any work to create specialist products must not start unless the work package has been authorised by the Project Manager, as in a world where individuals make their own decisions about when and how work should start, chaos would ensue.
Work packages are therefore used to define and control work that needs to be done and, optionally, to set tolerances or team managers. Work packages are used to pass responsibility for the work to be carried out to the team manager or the team members themselves, and are used within the ‘Managing Product Delivery’ process
A work package can be done informally or formally depending upon the nature of the project, and should include the work steps necessary to create one or more specialist products. Such a work package may include sections from, or reference to, the project plan, stage plan or project initiation documentation
The project initiation documentation should also examine and note the project controls required with regards to progress reporting arrangements and quality standards that must be met (defined within the quality management strategy). If any products are to be handed over after approval during the stage, the configuration management strategy will lay out any handover procedures
The Project Manager is responsible for authorising a work package, and this will be the first activity within a stage. Work packages may be given out singularly or several at a time, and every work package must contain at least one product description
The team manager will also optionally produce a team plan, covering the execution of one or more work packages. Whenever the Project Manager takes corrective action in response to an issue or risk, this may result in the issue of a new, or a modified work package. Each work package must be reviewed with the team manager to ensure that they have accepted it and that they are authorised to begin work
If a team plan has been created, the full plan or milestone extract should be reviewed by the Project Manager. As a result of accepting a work package, it may be necessary to update the stage plan and the configuration item records to show the status of the work package products now under creation. The planned quality management activities should also be updated with in the quality register, the risk and issue registers should also be updated if required as laid out within the risk management and configuration management strategy
As a particularly important step, the project assurance should be consulted to ensure the selected quality reviewers are acceptable to both from a knowledge, skills and experience perspective and that they are suitably independent from those who are to create the products
The team manager will produce checkpoint reports to the frequency and formality laid down within each work package. The Project Manager will use these to ensure that the work package and hence the stage, is on track to deliver on time, budget, and within tolerance.
As an absolute minimum, the Project Manager may give out one work package whose scope covers the creation of all of the products within that stage
Usually, however, this is not the case, as there is a logical sequence which work and product creation must adhere to. It is, therefore, highly likely that several work packages will be authorised by the Project Manager in either a parallel or series fashion. Suppose, for example, that the Project Manager has several teams working within a particular stage - they will often want to specify the exact work and products to be created by each team, and will issue more than one work package at the same time
On some occasions, the team manager may wish to create a team plan that covers one or more work packages that they are responsible for. In this case, this team plan will need to be created before the team manager can agree to accept the work package, so that the team manager can develop some form of Gantt chart, and check that the schedule is realistic and feasible based on resource availability. Again, it is likely that the team plan has been already created during the planning, as mentioned above. Care should be taken here, however, as any planning and discussions of work to be done on the next stage will likely take time and cost, and the wise Project Manager will ensure that such costs are available within the current stage or the next stage plans
The Project Manager will be using checkpoint reports as one of the main inputs to creating the regular highlight report agreed with the project board at stage approval time. The checkpoint reports will contain the information, structure and format as laid down within the work package. The Project Manager will want to collect actual information such as work effort, cost, and the duration of the work activities. If this is being done via timesheets, then it is likely that project support a will aggregate and report such information to the Project Manager. The Project Manager will also want to know that the products are fully complete and that they are being produced to the right level of quality, and to check that the right tests are being done at the right time by the right people. In addition, the Project Manager will readily check the contents of the quality register which describes what actions have been taken and what the true status of each product is. Put simply, each product is first created, then tested, then checked that it meets the quality criteria, and if it passes, that the right individual has authorised the product as complete
When all products within a work package are deemed complete as explained above, the team manager will deliver to the Project Manager as part of the process activity ‘deliver a work package’. Of course, in the real world, this may not happen exactly as described above. It may be that the team manager merely advises the Project Manager that the products are complete and that the actual products themselves are passed to someone else.