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Energy Helpout – Lockdown Energy Help

Damian (00:06):

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.

Damian (01:20):

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?

Amaad (02:16):

I’m all good. I’m guessing you’re the same.

Damian (02:21):

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.

Amaad (02:50):

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.

Amaad (03:49):

If there is a BMS system in place,

Damian (03:53):

They are kind of directly related or interrelated those two things.

Amaad (03:54):

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.

Amaad (04:54):

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.

Damian (05:51):

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.

Damian (07:09):

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.

Amaad (08:05):

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.

Damian (08:52):

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.

Amaad (09:56):

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?

Damian (10:07):

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.”

Damian (11:26):

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.

Amaad (11:58):

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?

Damian (12:22):

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.

Damian (13:20):

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.

Amaad (14:05):

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.

Damian (14:23):

Thanks Amaad. Take care. I’ll see you soon.

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