With the built environment contributing up to 40% of the UK’s total carbon footprint(1), there has never been more of a spotlight on property owners needing to understand and optimise their energy usage.
Last month the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) advised the British government to use its economic stimulus recovery measures to speed a shift towards sustainability(2).
“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change should be integral to any recovery package,” the CCC said in its letter with the government replying…
“We recognise that working to eliminate our contribution to climate change will also be a key part of ensuring a green and resilient economic recovery from COVID-19.”
Understanding the Current Landscape…
- UK businesses waste 54% of energy which equates to £15.7Bn per annum(3)
Not only does this negatively impact the environment, it also hits a company’s bottom line so you would hope that there is an appetite for change.
- In April 2019, the UK became the first major economy to pass a net zero emissions law with UK emissions standard reporting now mandatory for registered companies.
Streamlined energy and carbon reporting (SECR) requires an estimated 11,900 companies in the UK to disclose their energy and carbon emissions(4).
- Newly constructed buildings are increasingly being designed with energy efficiency in mind.
However, 80% of buildings in 2050 have already been built(5) and not designed and equipped for smart energy consumption.
How Can Property Owners Shift Gears?
Whilst the figures around energy waste in the UK built environment are staggering, what is arguably more concerning is that often property owners don’t know how much energy they are using or understand where their buildings have energy inefficiencies. This is not necessarily due to laziness but rather not being equipped with the right tools to address this challenge.
Many buildings have a Building Management System (BMS) which fits the bill for controlling energy output but as argued by Enertiv(6), these systems cannot be relied upon to provide data and insights for optimising energy usage and don’t provide the information required to meet the new compliance legislation.
The answer is to embrace technology. Those who do this, are armed with insight to aid smarter decisions about how their buildings and occupants consume energy and therefore proactively reduce their carbon footprint.
Technology Brings Actionable Insights
Property owners get to see the whole picture! Understanding their property’s and site’s energy consumption and carbon usage and most importantly identify areas to target for improvement. Technology such as Shepherd’s collects data directly a from BMS as well as wireless 24/7 monitoring sensors.
But data is just data. The value comes from the analytical insight.
- Highlighting Wasted Energy
With AI identifying patterns in energy consumption the Shepherd brain learns about the property. Using this knowledge, modelling triggers to alert property owners when there are anomalies such as a power surge or a draw on the boiler. These anomalies highlight wasted energy but also importantly signal an issue needing attention to prevent a larger issue and further energy wastage.
- Changing How People Behave
Insights inform behavioural change. Take for example the Shepherd client, a busy hotel, whose team, prior to monitoring and understanding their energy consumption, were not mindful of the environmental impact of their actions. Routine behaviour included the chef upon arrival turning on all kitchen appliances although the breakfast service only required 20% of the appliances. The spa staff would keep all rooms toasty warm even though some remained unused. The new insights helped create change. Agreeing staff targets aligned with energy consumption savings laid the foundation for switching behaviour.
There is no doubt that technology has a central role to play in creating a greener post-pandemic world. Technology that makes buildings smarter and establishes how they behave highlights how owners can optimise their infrastructure and encourages behavioural change to support a more sustainable built environment.
1) ONS UK Business Dataset
3) Carbon Trust Energy Benchmark
4) UK Govt Department for Business
5) UK Govt Department for Business