Energy HelpOut is back. We’re in lockdown, but we’ve still got energy management in our sights. This week, we’re looking at the coronavirus lockdown as an opportunity, albeit uninvited, to take stock of your business energy management. It’s a chance to interrogate your energy data, to challenge your energy supplier on the quality of the data they supply, and to create a coherent strategy and action plan for reducing energy costs. The post-coronavirus period will see businesses looking to make savings across the board, and energy costs are an overhead companies can easily reduce.Open in YouTube
Hi everyone is Damian and Amaad here, Energy Helpout, this is the second one. You find us in very different circumstances from last time. Amaad and I are stuck at home, working remotely. It’s the beginning of the second week of the UK Coronavirus lockdown. But we are here at your disposal for all things energy as ever. We wanted to keep Energy Helpout taking over and we’ve been talking over the last week about ways and means that businesses can still usefully tackle energy efficiency issues and other opportunities around energy in this period of downtime. Because we know a lot of people are still working, albeit from home. We were talking about how if energy managers, those responsible for energy in their organizations, have got the time now they could have a reflection on some of the things that they would otherwise might not be able to do because they have to be in the day job.
So we talked about some of the things that people could be doing. A lot of this stuff is obviously remote. In fact, all of it is remote because you can’t get into the place of work. So, we talked about things that we can do now and we’ve got a few ideas to share with you and also a few ideas about what you could do as and when the restrictions on moving are lifted and we can get back to actual physical places at work. Some of the things that energy managers or facilities people can do, that initial stage before everybody crowds back in. So we’ve got a few things I wanted to share with you. As ever, I’m happy to discuss days and we want to get your involvement and engagement in them. So please do put any comments below. We will be answering them of course. For today, Ahmad, he’s over there in the electronic etha. How are you this morning Amaad? All right?
I’m all good. I’m guessing you’re the same.
Not bad. I am wrestling with homeschooling and home videoing technologies. But other than that, I think I’m just about all right. So last week Amaad and I, we were talking ahead of this conversation about some of the things that people could be doing, and I think the first thing that sprung into your mind was around the issue of consolidation. So tell us a little bit about that.
Where office managers or building managers might have teams which have to go to the office, that might be like a call center or have some sort of scouting crew, which needs to be in the office. It’s important to ensure where possible that all staff are working in proximity to each other. I.e. in the same room, or the same floor of a building. So it can be all consolidated together essentially, which means that HVAC services, lighting, hot water can be switched off on floors that are not being used. If people are spread out across the building, it means all services are being used across the building where they don’t need to be. It’s good to consolidate all your staff in one place where possible. That was the idea around consolidation. Following on from that. The other idea is around reconfiguring the site’s BMS settings.
If there is a BMS system in place,
They are kind of directly related or interrelated those two things.
Yes. Generally in a normal working environment you’d have your BMS calendar system set up and your HVAC system to come on during your core operating hours. It might be the case that as those operating hours are no longer in place, there’s an opportunity to amend, or even switch off the BMS systems, in most businesses. Most modern BMS systems have a remote terminal that can be accessed via the web, so that can be done at home. Similarly with centralized air con controllers, they have Mitsubishi centralized controllers which can be accessed remotely as well. So your split AC units can be reconfigured to be turned off as well when they’re not required at the moment.
Other than that, the other thing that could be looked at remotely is your utility bills. Particularly water so it can be assumed with buildings being emptied now that your water consumption should be significantly reduced. If you’re still seeing a significant works option, then that could be an indication, or a symptom of a water leak somewhere, or a neighbor, for example, using your water, which you might not have been aware of. You mentioned Damian, when we were chatting about this last week, about modern smart meters. Now you can get real time data. So that that can be utilized to sort of keep an eye on your utilities while you’re away from the office.
Absolutely. Sorry to interrupt, Amaad. In the last video we talked about the findings from Ipsos. In nearly every client that I dealt with in Ipsos, the energy data that they were providing was pretty low rent frankly. at best, they were able to give me 12 monthly rates, which is a bare minimum really for a business to be able to operate and understand it’s energy. But it really is a bare, bare minimum. So many of those sites I was going onto, they had meters that they weren’t even particularly sophisticated meters, but if you looked at their impound number, which is you know the unique identifier for those meters and the double zero within the meter number. That meant that they were capable of providing half hourly data, which I’ve talked about before. But it’s really important especially now because even as we speak, all the time that they’ve been downtime over the last week or so, and in the time preceding that, that data has been recording your energy consumption, half hourly intervals, day and night, weekends.
At this stage you can approach your energy provider and say, “Give me that data. That’s our data and we want to have a look at it.” 12 to say as the starting point and then start looking at it, graph it out, understand what you do, what your baseline is in the evenings and the baseline is on the weekends, if you run a traditional nine to five operation. Understand why you may be using more than you expected to the weekends, or in the evenings and start being curious about why that is the case. But you need to do that investigation with your utility provider, electricity and gas, to understand the data that is available to you and then still are [inaudible 00:07:53]. Now’s a great time. It’s a desktop exercise. It’s something that can be done at home. But you need to just go and investigate and see what’s in there. Then all sorts of opportunities will fall out from that.
Exactly. The other thing we were talking about last week as well, off the record, is cognition now realize the benefits of remote working and teleconferencing. When they go back to normal working routines, teleconferencing should be encouraged over staff traveling to client sites for example, or staff traveling to other companies for meetings, et cetera. So hopefully off the back of this unfortunate event we could see something quite quite good in a reduced transport consumption over the coming months.
Yes. We’ve all seen a lot of Zoom been used lately. There are other video conferencing tools available as well. But I hope that this has dispelled some of the myths around video conferencing. The energy savings are massive potentially, in terms of transport and it turns it just time away when you drive in a car when you could be working. I also hope that it’s sort of dispelled some of the myths around in managerial circles as well, there is no merit to this. Sometimes if you want to meet face-to-face and that will still happen. But there’s quite a lot of the day to day turning the handle sort of meetings that could be done on Zoom from now on, in that sort of fashion. This works if you and I can produce YouTube video using this technology, then people can couple together a few meetings from now and again, and reduce their energy consumption in that way.
Agreed. I know you want to talk about cementing policies and procedures in this downtime period as well. So what were your thoughts on that?
Well, we know that businesses that are successful in managing their energy consume don’t do it in an ad hoc way. Yes, there are some occasional quick wins. People swap out some LED lights for example, but to have a year-on-year improvement and reduction in energy consumption and make a success of it and have that continuous improvement, then they have to think about how energy is managed in the business. Yes, start with an energy policy. Have an action plan for how you’re going to do it. Have it may only be small, but representative, it has someone on board who has some sway in the business, who can properly facilitate sort of investment in the team in terms of money, in terms of time and staff capacity to deliver on the actions in your energy plan. Report back to the management team, to the SLT team in an organization on a regular basis, “This is what we’re doing. Puts it out for scrutiny, this is where we come but we’re going to need this to do the next stage.”
So there’s an interest there and they’ve got the visibility high up. This needs a little bit of time to put that in place. I realize people are busy on all sorts of different things now. The time away from the day job in some respects, or the day to day, a useful time to say stock of where you are with, with, with energy consumption and formalize it in an actual system. You would call it an energy management system. I think now’s a good time to be doing that.
Exactly. So those are the brief ideas that we’ve had. But like Damian said, we’re happy to talk to anybody who needs any further guidance on this, any analysis of your consumption data. If you need us to undertake any of that desktop analysis on your behalf, we’re very happy to do that for you. I think that’s it. Are you going to think more to add Damian?
We said we’d talk a little bit about that little sweet spot that’s going to exist maybe. People go back into their organizations and start ramping things back up again. There will be a few opportunities at that stage where facilities guys and girls, energy managers and those people who have got to prepare the places of work for the influx of people coming back got an opportunity to look around and understand a few bits and bobs of energy and make some assessments. The one thing that we kept is hard to sometimes see when the business, like a manufacturing organization that’s going great guns all week, all weekend or whatever it is, is air leaks in compressors.
So do an assessment of air leaks in the manufacturing side, it’s something that is not as easy to do when everybody’s working there. But as you’re walking into an empty building, you can hear it easily and you can do this assessment. These aren’t things that need weeks on end to do. They need a day to walk around, so half a day. Lots of other examples of similar things like that where you can figure out what’s our baseline energy use, our base load, using unnecessarily so that air leak on a compressor is a good one. There are others as well. Lots to think about during this period, I think, Amaad.
We should wrap it up there. Keep it as short as we possibly can. Like Damian said at the top, feel free to get in contact, leave comments, feedback. If you want to join us on a chat, feel free to get in contact for that as well. But until I see you in the next one.
Thanks Amaad. Take care. I’ll see you soon.
Energy HelpOut’s first video exploring our experiences of ESOS Phase 2, preparing for SECR, and what we’ve got in store for upcoming videos. Amaad Ahmed from Encope and Damian Burton from Tricarbon are your hosts.Open in YouTube
I am Damian Burton from Tricarbon, and this is Amaad Ahmed, from Encope, and we are here in Spaces, in central Manchester today. And we are here for the first ever Energy HelpOut video blog. Energy HelpOut is going to be for anyone who is involved in energy in their organization, and involved in managing it, and figuring out ways how they can use their curiosity to find out reductions in energy and carbon. So Amaad tell us a bit more about what we’re going to be doing with Energy HelpOut.
So the intention of Energy HelpOut is a casual conversation between any energy manager such as us, but also the intention is to include energy end-users. So some of the clients that we’ve got, and also some suppliers, if they want to showcase any of their technologies, highlight energy efficiency technologies, or renewable energy technologies. We’re looking to speak with them as well. Essentially it’s just to shine a spotlight on things that we’ve seen, we’ve come across, we want to point out, and that’s essentially it really.
So for this first Energy HelpOut, we’ve decided to look at ESOS. ESOS phase 2 is just finished. And there are a lot of businesses out there who’ve been through it, and have a lot of lovely shiny audit reports sitting on their shelves in the office of the minute, with a lot of recommendations in there about what they can do to save energy. And one of the pieces of feedback we both get, is that they don’t really know what to do with it next. So we decided to let this first video be focused on ESOS.
So like you said, people have got the ESOS report sitting on their shelves now, or in their drawers. One of the things people can do, is look at the no cost and the low cost opportunities first. These are essentially the low hanging fruit of the business, not a lot of capital investment would be required, and there could be significant energy savings to be had. And on the back of those energy savings, business cases can then be built up to implement larger energy saving projects. So I think both of us felt the metering, monitoring and targeting was lacking in a lot of-
It was woeful in some places.
Organizations and in general, metering is a low cost opportunity. There’s not a lot of capital investment required to undertake regular monitoring and targeting.
So what have you found in terms of metering?
I just think if there were businesses with a million pound electricity bill, and they had one meter for the entire place and they go in 12 monthly invoices throughout the year, you can’t manage an energy spend in that way. Energy’s not a fixed overhead. So you need to monitor it to understand it, what gets measured gets managed, as they say.
If you don’t do it, it’s going to stay the same. Energy prices are only going to go one way. So you need to start tackling it.
So just to pick your brains a little bit then. In that scenario, where there is one fiscal meter, what can such a company do to, in the low cost way, to improve their monitoring?
Okay, well one thing they could do is, if you’re spending a million quid, or even if you spending a fraction of that amount of money, the chances are if you’re a moderate sized business, you can be on a half hourly meter, which means that your electricity consumption is measured every half hour, across a 24 hour period throughout the year.
So that means that you can find out what’s going on in the evenings and weekends where you work.
Yeah, you can also gauge what the size base of consumption is.
And out of hours consumption as well. You can identify energy waste essentially.
Then you can start figuring out, “We’re using electricity at this time of night, everything should be shut down or nearly everything, why is that?” And then you can start investigating why. But until you start figuring out, and interrogating your data more, you’ve got no chance.
Exactly, and a more agricultural route, is just to take weekly meter readings. If you have just got one non half hourly fiscal meter, you can send someone out to take a meter reading every weekend.
At a set date and that will help you get a much better understanding of your energy consumption as well. So aligned to metering, we found, or certainly I found, I don’t know if you felt the same, the energy consumption data around transport was lacking as well.
Actually it was varied from organization to organization. There were organizations which were very good at it, and these ones that who mainly operate heavy goods vehicles, where they’ve got fuel cards, they optimize their routes, et cetera, et cetera, and then there’s companies who have a large company car fleet, a large gray fleet as well, who don’t have any sort of monitoring in place for the transport related consumption. Did you find the same?
I found exactly the same thing. There were quite a lot of instances where gray fleet, so that’s members of staff using their own cars, were just making the odd monetary claim every now and again. But it might be for hundreds, thousands of pounds.
Some people were waiting and just doing it once every six months or whatever. So you can’t tell the first thing about the consumption of that. And if you multiply that against a gray fleet of hundreds of cars, then that’s a huge chunk of energy that you’re using, that you’ve got no management over whatsoever, no oversight over. So unless you get your staff to start monitoring that more effectively, no chance.
And that’s been a benefit of resources, it’s prompted people to start collecting that data now.
They’ve had no choice, because they’ve had to go and find it.
Exactly, so at least there’s been that benefit, if nothing else is going to come out of ESOS.
What my fear is that people will now just kick that into long grass, and forget about it, and not realize or not go and find those savings that are there, staring them in the face.
So this segways us nicely on to SECR.
Because transport is also required SECR. And that’s an annual recurring thing now for four yearly quadrennium. So segwaying from that, in regards to transport consumption, it’s something that needs to be collected annually now for most companies due to the SECR legislation. And that needs to be done on an annual basis. Do you want to just explain what SECR is?
Yes. If you’ve not heard about CECR yet, it’s called Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting. It is a new piece of legislation came live in April last year, and it asks businesses, well it requires businesses to report their energy consumption and their greenhouse gas emissions in a director’s report, alongside the normal financial metrics.
So it brings in about, I think it’s about 11 and a half thousand businesses in the UK, that weren’t reporting any energy or carbon information before, and now they have to report it annually.
And like you said, it requires you to report your electricity, natural gas and transport as a minimum. So again, it’s going to prompt businesses to keep on top of their consumption. Try and collate it in a better fashion now, more regularly. And I think only good can come out of that, once you know what you’re using and you can then manage it better.
That pretty much rounds up our first episode, in relation to ESOS.
So we scratched the surface there, on this first video with ESOS. There is a lot more that can be said, and we’re very happy to talk to you about it. In fact, we’re going to talk about it a lot more, because we’ve got a whole channel of videos for Energy HelpOut planned in the coming months. And we’re going to be exploring all sorts of different areas of energy consumption and management, and carbon and greenhouse gases, and all sorts of stuff like that, that are facing businesses in 2020 and beyond.
We’re going to put a call out now for people to get involved. So if you’ve got a company who wants to get involved in this video, who wants to showcase anything? If you’re an energy manager.
Any good work they’ve been doing.
Absolutely. Financial director, whoever you want to be, and want to come and share your insights or expertise, we’re going to take Energy HelpOut on the road. We’re going to be visiting factories, offices, you name it, and we’re going to be getting our hands a little bit dirty, and looking under the bonnet of some of these businesses, and figure out, and share with you ways that we can save energy better.
Yeah, and some of the pitfalls that are associated with implementing these projects as well, because a lot of people don’t like talking about things that have gone wrong when they’ve implemented a project. So we are going to try and learn from other people’s mistakes essentially.
Yeah, absolutely. So we’ll be coming out to you. Energy is not a fixed overhead. It really isn’t. If you want to contribute then, you can have a look down there, our contact details are below, and they’ll be at the end of the video as well. So thanks for listening.
Thank you. See you next time.