Viridista - Energy Solutions

Tel: +44 (0) 1962 217007   

Energy Management

Energy costs are a significant part of the cost base for many organisations. This can range from two percent of annual turnover for an average commercial organisation to fifty percent in some energy intensive industries. Despite this fact, energy consumption has historically been one of the most poorly understood expenses in many organisations. Indeed, according to the Carbon Trust, some thirty percent of energy consumed by British industry is going to waste¹. Over recent years, this has started to change. Rapidly rising prices, increasing competitive pressure, environmental legislation, government spending cuts and CSR concerns have all combined, meaning that management of energy and green house gas emissions can no longer be viewed as optional.

energy management

"significant energy savings can often be made with little or no capital investment"

One of the most common reasons people cite for not tackling energy consumption is the lack of available finance. This does not have to be the case if self funding energy retrofit programmes are utilised as described on our energy retrofit page. However it is often a surprise to many organisations that some of the most significant energy savings can be made without capital investment. Driving down energy consumption with little or no capital is what energy management is all about. For this reason, we would recommend that organisations start by implementing low cost energy management schemes prior to considering energy retrofit projects. In addition to the low capital requirements, energy management does not require significant facility modifications or upgrades. For these reasons, energy management is often favoured by private sector tenants who may not wish to enter longer term energy retrofit agreements or simply do not want to retrofit a landlord's property.

"just like managing materials or consumables budgets, once you know where you are consuming a resource you can start to make comparisons and manage consumption down to a target"

Energy management is the same as every other resource management discipline you simply figure out what you are using, where and when. And just like managing materials or consumable budgets, once you know where you are consuming a resource you can start to make comparisons and manage consumption down to a target. Managing energy in such a way often remains elusive because you can't readily see or visualise the waste. A well structured energy management programme identifies this waste and establishes methods for managing this out. One of the starting points for such a programme is data collection and analysis.

Once consumption data has been analysed, it is possible to identify where the majority of your energy is being consumed and when. This initial analysis often yields unexpected insights regarding energy intensity, such as energy per square metre or per unit of business activity, e.g. energy per tonne of production. It is also common to find that consumption outside of business hours makes up a significant percentage of overall consumption, often with no good reason. Other key stages in developing an energy management programme are shown below.

•  Developing an energy strategy

•  Data collection and analysis

•  Internal and external benchmarking

•  Utility bill validation

•  Turn it down - turn it off programmes

•  Controls and set-point optimisation

•  Employee engagement

•  Monitoring and targeting (M&T)

Once an organisation has gained control of energy consumption through an energy management programme, the insights gained may then be used to develop an energy retrofit programme as detailed elsewhere on our site.

If you are interested in developing your energy management programme or simply need some additional support, feel free to contact us.

1 : Making the low carbon economy a reality – The Carbon Trust – August 2007





How we can help:

If you want us to develop and implement your energy management programme or simply need some additional support, feel free to contact us. We can provide support in a number of areas, examples of which are given below:

energy management

Energy management strategy
Like most things in life, developing a plan to deliver your goals is a big step in the right direction. In recognition of this fact, many customers and stakeholders are now asking organisations about their plans to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The first step in creating an energy and GHG management strategy is understanding where you are today. This often entails a review of current policies and plans, some of which may have evolved locally. Building upon the existing provisions, we can develop and document a robust energy management strategy which is tailored to your organisation yet based on tried and tested methodologies. In particular, we would normally focus on items such as boundary definitions, data acquisition and analysis, benchmarking, management information systems, organisational responsibilities, target setting and reviews.

Consumption and emissions

Data collection and analysis is the bedrock of any energy and carbon management program. In the first instance this analysis can be undertaken using supplier invoices, but in the longer term it is better to utilise data taken from carefully positioned energy meters. Analysis undertaken at the facility level will focus on energy consumption trends over the 24 hour cycle and over the weekly cycle. Based on this initial assessment, further analysis is focused on areas that have been identified as energy saving opportunities, e.g. reducing ‘out of hours’ consumption, peak demands or addressing control issues. Some of the most significant energy savings available to organisations can be identified through this simple analysis.

Once we have completed the energy consumption analysis, it is easy to convert this into greenhouse gas emissions. Similarly, any energy savings opportunities can also be converted to tonnes of greenhouse gas.

Benchmarking of the data allows annual consumption to be compared against upper and lower industry norms; however it is important to adjust for variables such as operating hours or locality etc. Very often, benchmarking is based on an energy intensity measurement which is often consumption, cost or emissions per square metre. It is also possible to undertake benchmarking based upon business activity such as manufacturing output, headcount or revenue. Where an organisation operates from a large number of facilities, it is often best to collect and benchmark data for the entire portfolio. This is called ‘internal benchmarking’ and allows clients to compare similar facilities within their own portfolio. Sometimes this can be much more meaningful than external benchmarks with other industries, and it often creates thoughtful internal debate.

Monitoring and targeting
Provided that sufficient historical data is available, it is possible to build a very simple mathematical model to predict the daily energy consumption of a facility or piece of equipment. For the model to be effective it needs to take account of certain driving factors such as local weather, facility occupancy or manufacturing output. Based upon the model created, it is possible to set daily energy consumption targets for individual facilities or large pieces of equipment. Consumption against these targets can then be monitored on a continuous basis. This practice is known as monitoring and targeting (M&T) and once set-up it is extremely effective in managing down energy consumption. Where large property portfolios are concerned, it is possible to automate this process so that software systems can flag any excess consumption on a daily basis, thus allowing energy and facilities managers to investigate the cause at an early stage. Automation of monitoring and targeting is referred to as aM&T.

Viridista - Energy Solutions