Even though metrics are not required for your Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Award application, it is still a very good idea to add them to your application. By adding metrics to your application, it allows for application evaluators to truly see the quantitative or qualitative impact that your organization, program or technology have achieved.
Without an understanding of resource use before starting a project, how can you truly understand its impact on your bottom line and resource reduction? A major key to understanding project or program impact is to create a baseline for your project, program or initiative. By creating a baseline, you are creating a road map to tracking the success of an initiative and seeing what resource use looks like before implementing a new program, technology, initiative, or strategy. This is important to tracking the success of your initiatives and can even help when asking for more money or resources for future environmental projects or initiatives.
There are many different types of tools and calculators that can be used to help create an annual baseline, such as ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager (tracks energy and water). However, entering use data in a simple Excel spreadsheet can also yield a baseline. Important resources to baseline in your organization or business are energy and water use, waste, chemical use, and purchasing. If you have a fleet, fuel use might also be a good metric to track.
Before you start your project, choose an evaluation timeline – how long are you going to track metrics to see if your project was successful? What information would you need to collect? Remember to keep it simple and hone in on exactly what few metrics will show reduction in resource use. Throughout the duration of the project, continue to track those metrics, even after the initiative or project has been implemented. Then, take time to analyze the data and see if a change has been made in the resources used.
Metrics don’t always need to be quantitative – especially if you are tracking impact of outreach or effect of a program on a particular group of people. Data such as number of people reached with information, or number of people participating in the program can be valuable as well. If you’re working with a group of people, get testimonials on impact of the program in their organization or everyday life. Ask whether the initiative, project or program will or has already affected their future success, or if connections outside of the project, program or initiative were made that otherwise would not have occurred outside of the initiative or project.
The Sample Application section of the website can give you an idea of how to enter in data and metrics into the spreadsheet and talk to your team about what per-unit measures you might use in your application. If you have further questions,
Remember, applications are due May 20. Start your application now!