Program vs. Project

Program or Project?

Q. How is a "Program Approach" different from a "Project Approach?"
A. With a “Project Approach” you are usually focused on one specific piece of equipment that you want to have installed. There are a lot of great energy and engineering firms that offer this approach. This is also the approach that all equipment providers use.
As an example, you call a solar panel company, and they install their equipment. You bought their equipment, they installed it, and now you have solar panels.
With a “Program Approach”, we work with your company leaders to identify your goals; do you want to use less energy? Do you want to reduce your energy costs? Do you want to reduce your carbon footprint? These are 3 very different goals that can take you in very different directions. As part of the program to meet your needs, we might recommend installing solar panels, or we might not. But we will develop a portfolio of options that will best meet your needs. This could include capital additions such as Heat Recovery, Solar Photovoltaic, Concentrated Solar Power, Geothermal, Wind, Co-Generation, Waste Gasification, Lighting, HVAC, Variable Speed Drives, Variable Frequency Drives, etc. Or it might focus on non-capital areas such as load balancing, procedural improvements, cascading processes, etc.
Q. How can I know which approach is best for us?
A. If your company has the internal expertise to determine a single, specific projectto meet your energy goals, but you need additional resources to execute the work, then a Project Approach could be a good one.
However, if you have a sustainability or profit goal in mind (e.g.: “I want to reduce my energy costs by 40%”), then the Program Approach is far superior.
Q. Is there a difference in cost between the 2 approaches?
A. Yes there is.
In the short-term, a Project Approach is often the least expensive. The firm completes their specific project, and then leaves. When you need them again, you call them again. And again. And again.
With the Program Approach, you invest in your own people, integrating our improvements into your existing organizational design and structure. When future challenges arise, you need us less and less because we have enabled your employees to do the work internally. We also confirm that the individual components of the Energy Program do not compete or interfere with one another. With a Project Approach, this happens regularly.
Example: Project 1 hires a firm to install timers on their warehouse lights to reduce the kW by 50%. Simultaneously, Project 2 hires a firm to install T8 bulbs in the same warehouse to replace the T12 bulbs to reduce the kW by 40%.
Both are great ideas, and the contractors will certainly install the correct equipment for the Projects, and energy will be reduced. But, when considered under an Energy Program, these are not ideal solutions because they are both claiming the same savings. Money and time will bewasted in good ideas that were implemented improperly.
Q. Do they both Programs and Projects have long-term, lasting effects?
A. No, in our experience they don’t.
For example: If the Utility Manager of a company decides to call a vendor to install a new high performance air compressor to save money, the improvements will be significant in the beginning. The compressor will perform as designed and the company will save money.
But this is one of the failures of the Project Approach. After a few years, the results will drift off, and the ongoing savings will diminish. Several factors cause this: The Utility Manager may move to another role or another company, no one else felt as though they "owned" the project, so the equipment is not properly maintained, or perhaps the new equipment was never integrated into the company’s maintenance program in the first place. Or worse yet, the comprerssor's setpoints and balance drift off, just as they did with the previous compressor. And now you realize that you didn’t actually need a new compressor, you only needed to re-balance the original one.
Q. Do I get better equipment with one approach versus the other?
A. You will almost always get better equipment and a better price with a Program Approach. The reason is simple: If you call ABC Company to install their Widget, you will pay the full retail price.
Brightwave Energy does not manufacture or sell equipment. First, we evaluate if the Widget is truly the best equipment for you, when considered as a piece of your overall portfolio. And if it is, we utilize our past experience and industry relationships to improve the competitive bidding process on the Widget instead of just calling ABC Company.
Q. Why don’t all Consulting & Engineering Firms use the Program Approach?
A. Because they don’t know how. Vendors specialize in selling their own equipment and/or technology.
Brightwave Energy developed the Program Approach based on it's 25+ years of experience leading teams in successful energy programs. We have personal experience with these technologies, so that we can always create the portfolio that is right for you.
  • High Performance Work Systems
  • Autonomous Maintenance
  • Total productive Maintenance
  • Autonomous Maintenance Step 4
  • Preventative Maintenance Step 2
  • Regression Analysis
  • Failure Analysis
  • OSHA Requirements
  • Federal & State Incentives & Rebates
  • Monetizing Carbon Credits
  • CA AB32
  • Heat Recovery
  • Photovoltaic Solar
  • Hot Water Solar
  • Concentrated Solar Power
  • Solar-Tracking Skylight
  • High Efficiency Lighting
  • Building HVAC
  • Waste Gasification
  • Geothermal
  • Bio-Fuels