LESsor Sustainable Energy Network (LESSEN): A Lesson in the Value of Community-Based Education

Large energy buyers continue to drive progress through their ambitious clean energy goals in effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Corporate initiatives like the Business Alliance for Scaling Climate Solutions and  Amazon’s Climate Pledge are emerging with increasing frequency, and the number of companies setting Science Based Targets continues to grow rapidly. Knowledge-sharing and education among large energy buyers is critical to meet the pace and scale of corporate climate ambition.

Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA) members, who are leaders in corporate sustainability and renewable procurement, are quick to say that they are never done learning. While REBA provides its members with a place to address market barriers, discuss new solutions, and engage in policy advocacy, first and foremost, REBA provides a place to build and learn from a community. One opportunity to engage in community-based learning is REBA’s LESsor Sustainable Energy Network (LESSEN) program, which concluded its first season in May 2021.

LESSEN is a training program for owners and operators of data centers and commercial real estate that focuses on the key elements of a successful sustainable energy strategy. The program combines presentation of foundational knowledge with real-world insights from experienced energy buyers serving as faculty who engaged with topics first-hand. Large energy buyers who have pitched a business case for renewable energy, pursued on-site generation, or completed an off-site deal can share best practices for project execution, as well as the common pitfalls to avoid:

“This program educated me on all of the different options for renewables in the context of real estate. A huge value-add was having experts who had been through the process before and could share their experiences.” – LESSEN Season 1 attendee 

While most participants joined the program to address specific questions about renewable energy procurement, what they found beyond knowledge acquisition in the sessions was a community that can support them going forward in their renewable energy journey, long after the LESSEN program is over:

“My goal was to absorb as much information as I could about sustainability. While I now feel equipped to get into the weeds, my biggest takeaway from the program was my connection to this group of people who have extensive knowledge of renewable energy and can give me honest guidance about how to move forward with my process.” – LESSEN Season 1 attendee 

“I can hire the experts I need to do a project, but having the LESSEN network is the most important thing to me as I’m building out our sustainability program.” – LESSEN Season 1 attendee

As more corporations recognize the imperative to decarbonize their entire value chain, including data services and leased space, LESSEN serves as a strong reminder of the importance of community-based learning to advance corporate renewable procurement. 

The second season of LESSEN begins this September. To learn more on how to join this program, contact supplychain@rebuyers.org

If you are not a REBA member, find out how you can join this community of collaborative learning