CEO Today speaks to George P. Sakellaris – the President, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Ameresco. He is a visionary, entrepreneur and leader in the energy industry, well-known for his commitment to energy efficiency and innovative energy solutions. For more than 40 years, Mr. Sakellaris has persevered in the industry, working to eliminate regulatory barriers to investing private capital into energy efficiency and renewable initiatives. Mr. Sakellaris leads Ameresco (NYSE: AMRC) – a comprehensive energy efficiency, renewable energy, and distributed energy solutions company that employs more than 1,000 people in more than 70 offices located throughout North America and the UK.
Mr. Sakellaris founded Ameresco in 2000 when he aspired to create a flexible and nimble independent company that provides a broad range of customer-focused services with the stability to deliver on its promises. His foresight has been instrumental in Ameresco’s position at the forefront of influencing and reshaping the industry, and in delivering technologically-advanced, innovative solutions, providing added-value and customer satisfaction.
Today, with Ameresco’s vison ‘Energising a sustainable world’, the company is leading the quest to change the world as a trusted sustainability partner creating valued, single-sourced, efficient energy solutions delivered with passion, expertise, teamwork and a relentless focus on customer satisfaction.
What five key features differentiate Ameresco from your competition?
Independence: Ameresco is an independent technology-agnostic company that neither manufactures nor produces products, but integrates the best products based on customer requirements. Most of Ameresco’s competitors provide solutions with their own manufactured products embedded within, rather than potentially the most advantageous solutions based on the customers’ needs.
Ameresco Team: Ameresco has a solid, experienced team. Our people have tremendous depth and breadth of expertise and are at the forefront in driving innovation and offering solutions of great value to customers. Ameresco strives to hire and retain the best team.
Comprehensive Solutions: Ameresco is a one-stop comprehensive service provider offering a full-range of energy, energy efficiency, renewable energy, distributed generation and battery storage solutions with a flexible and differentiated model depending on the customer’s preference (design, build, own, operate and maintain).
International Footprint and Local Presence: Ameresco has more than 70 offices throughout North America and the UK, aiming to serve customers ‘locally’.
Customer Satisfaction: Ameresco has a sharp focus on its customers’ needs and is known for its commitment to quality, innovative designs, and customer service.
Can you shed some light on what Ameresco does?
Ameresco helps organisations reduce their energy and operating costs, meet energy management challenges, achieve resiliency, and attain their sustainability goals with an integrated and comprehensive approach. Our team delivers long-term customer value, environmental stewardship, and sustainability through energy efficiency services, alternative energy, and supply management all with practical financial solutions. Ameresco’s solutions serve a wide-range of customer requirements including upgrading energy infrastructure and generating new capacity. Leveraging budget-neutral solutions like ESPC and PPAs, Ameresco also helps eliminate the financial barriers that traditionally hamper energy projects. Projects include a variety of measures that incorporate innovative technology. Solutions may include a combination of efficiency measures, water reclamation, LED lighting, smart metering, microgrids, battery storage, CHP, or the installation of renewable energy. As a renewable asset developer, Ameresco provides solutions on both sides of the meter. From rooftop and ground-mount solar, solar arrays on capped landfills and parking lot carports, solar thermal installations, to biomass, biogas and landfill gas solutions.
What has been a challenging aspect of building up the company from the beginning?
Gaining acceptance for eliminating waste and instituting greater efficiencies has been a challenge. Energy efficiency is the greatest and most compelling global energy resource and acknowledging and embracing efficiency is key. Even small steps are important. For example, replacing just one outdated boiler can save up to 40% in energy costs in the first year alone. And while the energy savings and economic benefits can be huge, the benefits to society are even greater. If everyone adopted best practices and embraced the most innovative technologies in their homes and businesses, we could eliminate over 10 billion metric tons of CO2 emissions every year. That’s not something we should do, but something we need to do.
What do you hope for your company in the year ahead?
I expect Ameresco to be the number one energy service provider. I am gratified by Ameresco’s success to date and will continue to advocate for even more widespread adoption of energy efficiency, strategic energy utilisation, sustainable business practices, renewable energy sourcing, and distributed energy systems. I’m even more excited about what Ameresco will do in the future, particularly given the ongoing technical advances and the growing acceptance of efficiency, distributed generation, and sustainability practices.